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Channel 4 boosts Film4's budget by 20 per cent

Funding to return to pre-downturn level.

Channel 4 is to increase its movie production arm Film4's annual budget by 20 per cent to £10m, the Guardian reports.

The Digital Economy Act - which passed into law last month - included a commitment to UK film-making for the broadcaster for the first time.

David Abraham, the new Channel 4 chief executive who started his job yesterday, said at a pre-Cannes reception for Film4 last night: "Film4 embodies all that's great about Channel 4's place in our creative culture. For 28 years it has played a distinctive role in the British film industry and we are delighted that this has now been formally acknowledged in the update to Channel 4's remit contained in the Digital Economy Act. Under my watch, investment in British film will continue to sit at the heart of Channel 4's public service mission."

Tessa Ross, Channel 4's head of drama and controller of Film4, added: "Film has always been in the DNA of Channel 4, but this added protection, through the extended remit, comes at a time when this significant part of our British culture is in particular need of protection. To be able to commit an extra £2m each year to film-makers and to work that we care about gives us all great hope for the future."

Two of Film4's new movies - Mike Leigh's Another Year and Hideo Nakata's Chatroom - and a short film, Scott Graham's Native Son, have been selected for this year's Cannes film festival, which begins next week, while Chris Morris's Four Lions, another Film4-backed production, is released in the UK this week.