The British Film Institute (BFI) has awarded 11 projects with development funding through its Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) to support original UK-made kids content.
For preschoolers it has backed, Mackinnon and Saunders’ Mix Mups, which is focused on representing disabilities in children’s toys and TV; as well as Illuminated Films adventure series Rocket about a young girl who explores her West Indian heritage while she explores a bustling city.
For kids six to 12, the BFI funded Scattered Pictures’ fantasy-adventure series Ella and Sir Whoopsalot about a young girl and her best friend, who happens to be a six-hundred-year-old knight; Sci-fi action drama Alien8ed from Bandit Cornwall, which tracks kids who team up to confront an evil threat; as well as Mustard and Ketchup (pictured), an animated sketch comedy show from Animation Garden, that presents positive representations of the LGBT community.
The YACF also awarded development funding for seven projects for the 13-to-18 set. This includes: Elysian Film Group’s teen drama Future Hot, about a group of young climate change activists who take action and battle corporations; Duck Soup Films’ teen drama Dance School, about a diverse group of students attending a world-renowned school; Singer Films’ documentary series Redefining Refugees, which follows Olympian Yusra Mardini who encourages Muslim women in the UK to compete in pro sports, and confront stereotypes around refugees; LGBT-documentary series They produced by Empress Films, which revolves around four teens who share their experiences growing up; Shudder Film’s scripted comedy Synch Estate that puts a satirical spin on social issues; and finally, Hillbilly Films’ dramedy Troupes, about the happenings in a small coastal town.
The funding for in-production projects, as well as the amount that each in-development production is receiving will be released in the near future, according to a BFI spokesperson.
The YACF awarded around US$2.1 million (£1.7 million) to 63 in-development projects in its first year, according to the org. Other in-development projects, to receive funds such as Pop Paper City by LoveLoveFilms and Eagle Vs. Bat’s stop-motion show The Sound Collector received between US$24,000 and $50,000.
Launched in October 2018, the YACF is a three-year program that will provide up to US$70 million (£57 million) in development and production funding to support original public service content in the UK via two separate funds. Beyond kids TV, a portion of the funding goes to the Audio Content Fund, which bolsters public service audio content for all ages on commercial radio. The YACF received 181 applications for development funding in its first year, according to the BFI.
Longtime BBC kids exec Jackie Edwards joined BFI in January 2019 to helm the program. The BFI then tapped several new execs to lead the operation, including John Knowles as its executive of production, and Harriet Williams to serve as its executive of development.