News | 28/07/20

New Liverpool Film Office funded productions come into focus

An animated adaptation of a critically acclaimed novel is one of a tranche of brand new projects to be produced in Liverpool City Region thanks to Liverpool Film Office funding.

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant, by Nizrana Farook, will be brought to life by local BAFTA and Emmy-winning writer, Helen Blakeman (Dustbin Baby, Hetty Feather) and her production company Heroic, working in partnership with Blue Bear Film and Television on the project.

It is one of 15 projects, so far, to be supported by Liverpool Film Office’s Film and TV Development Fund which was set up in response to Covid-19, using grants from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

More than £158,000 worth of funding has been allocated to a mix of local established producers such as Lime Pictures, Hurricane Films and Leopard Pictures, but also includes work from newer female and BAME-led companies such as Pencil Trick Productions and Redbag Pictures.

Other projects include:

  • Hurricane Films will use the funding to support its first foray into TV drama, working with writer Nick Saltrese (A Prayer Before Dawn, Hollyoaks) on the mystery horror series 12 Canning Square. The company is also developing The Last Date, a follow-up to its upcoming feature film release The Last Bus starring Timothy Spall, andalso scripted by Joe Ainsworth (Holby City).
  • Pencil Trick Productions is co-developing the women’s football-themed TV drama Lily with Tiger Lily Productions and Liverpool Everyman alumni, Lizzie Nunnery. It is also in early development on Gavin Scott Whitfield’s debut feature film Spent Light. The company is a recent recipient of a British Film Institute (BFI) Vision Award for emerging producers.
  • Sefton-based Redbag Pictures’ producer Barrington Paul Robinson is working with upcoming theatre writer/director Nathan Powell on the comedy-drama feature film Belly Full, set in and around a Caribbean takeaway. Robinson is also part of BFI NETWORK’s inaugural Insight programme for emerging producers working towards their debut feature.

Also benefitting from the fund are writer/directors Helen Walsh (The Violators) and Daniel Fitzsimmons (Native) – both are developing second features. Documentarian Martin Wallace and writer Roanne Bardsley (Free Rein, Hollyoaks) will also be able to move forward with their productions as a result of the support.

The 15 companies awarded funding to date and their projects are:

Pencil Trick Productions, Spent Light

Hurricane Films, 12 Canning Square

Dynamo Content, Superheroes of Science

Glasshouse Productions, Detention

Leopard Pictures, L17

Pencil Trick Productions/Tiger Lily, Lily

Heroic Books, The Girl Who Stole An Elephant

Hurricane Films, The Last Date

Crocodile Media, Untitled Documentary

Nova Inc Film & Television, Reconstructing Ron

Potboiler Productions, Untitled Feature Film

Redbag Pictures, Belly Full

Lime Pictures, Untitled TV drama

Clare Coombes Productions, Girl Boy

White Star/Hurricane Films, Brass

Writer Helen Blakeman said: “As I enter the sixth and final series of my BBC Drama, Hetty Feather, I’m really excited to dive into an entirely new field with an animated adventure. The development fund has enabled Heroic to realise a long-held ambition to grow our own slate of imaginative screen content here in the city region.”

Producer Barrington Paul Robinson said: “The development fund’s support shows how heavily committed Liverpool Film Office and the LCR Combined Authority are to supporting a diverse range of indigenous creative talent.”

Chris Moll, Fund Advisor for the LCR Film and TV Development Fund said: “The awards demonstrate the breadth and depth of talent in the Liverpool City Region’s screen sector. It also shows a determination to face down the challenges posed by Covid-19 and to bring forward a pipeline of new content that can create jobs and investment for local crew and businesses as production resumes over the coming months.

“The fund remains open until 30 September, and we continue to welcome approaches, particularly from regionally based writers looking to forge new collaborations, and from producers committed to developing creative talent from the BAME, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities.”