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U.K. film fund backs ‘Valiant’

Vanguard pic to get $4 mil. in British coin

LONDON — The U.K. Film Council’s Premiere Fund has announced an investment of £2.58 million ($4 million) into “Valiant,” the CGI feature about a plucky WW2 pigeon that “Shrek” producer John Williams is set to shoot at London’s Ealing Studios.

Williams’ Vanguard Films has set up Vanguard Animation U.K. at Ealing to make the movie, to be directed by Brit helmer Gary Chapman. Pic is being co-financed by Baker Street Media and sold internationally by Odyssey Entertainment.

Disney in North America is releasing pic under its overall deal with Williams, and by Entertainment Film Distributors in the U.K.

“This project demonstrates that U.K. companies are now more confident than ever about competing with big projects in the international marketplace,” said Robert Jones, head of the Premiere Fund.

“Now, with the creation of a major new animation facility, this brings not only medium- but ultimately long-term benefits to the U.K. film industry.”

Separately, the Premiere Fund has committed $390,000 to co-finance Peter Chelsom’s “The Freddie Randall Story,” with Gary Oldman and Cate Blanchett attached to star. Pic, produced by Simon Fields, is the true story of an amateur inventor during WW2.

The fund has also added another $1.21 million to the $780,000 it has already invested into Mike Leigh’s next movie, “Untitled ’03,” which is currently in pre-production.

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