BBC Films to co-produce 3 pix

Thompson: Our concern is to get involved with the best films

BBC Films has struck deals to co-produce Stephen Hopkins’ “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” Danny Boyle’s “Millions” and Norman Jewison’s “The Statement.”

Although the pubcaster’s movie arm typically develops its own pics and sets them up with co-financiers, these projects also demonstrate its willingness to come on board projects from other companies.

“Our strategy is very much to make our own films from the ground up, but my concern is also to get involved with the best films wherever we can find them,” says BBC Films topper David Thompson. “Any model is open to us, but we always have editorial input.”

“Millions” is being produced by Mission Pictures for Pathe and Inside Track, with BBC Films taking U.K. TV rights and an equity stake. The pubcaster has taken a similar position in “The Statement,” a Canada/France/U.K. co-production.

With HBO’s “Peters Sellers,” BBC Films is taking all U.K. rights plus equity.

All three pics are in production, along with Marc Evans’ “Trauma,” another outside project boarded by BBC Films in the final stages of its financing.

While two BBC-backed pics are premiering here — Roger Michell’s “The Mother” and Emily Young’s “Kiss of Life” — Thompson is pushing ahead with his own slate of project in advanced development, including pics by Francesca Joseph, Pawel Pawlikowski and Sarah Gavron.

Joseph, who made her feature debut in last year’s Un Certain Regard sidebar with the BBC’s “Tomorrow La Scala,” is prepping “Four Last Songs,” a love story set on a Mediterranean island under the spell of a recently deceased composer.

Pawlikowski, like Joseph a former doc director who graduated onto features with “Last Resort” for BBC Films, is developing “My Summer of Love,” about two girls who get entangled with a dangerous man.

After making her debut with “Entering the Blue Zone,” Gavron is prepping “The Chosen Ones,” about the children of asylum seekers who are abandoned in Britain.

BBC Films and the U.K. Film Council are co-developing Saul Dibb’s “Bullet Boy,” about the gun culture among black British kids.

Scribe Troy Kennedy Martin is adapted Gillian Slovo’s book “Red Dust” about South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

“By developing our own projects, and increasingly taking all U.K. rights, we try to have a strong editorial voice out of proportion to our financial weight,” Thompson says.

BBC Films has an annual budget of around $15 million to $20 million.

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