Liverpool Film Office reveals first recipients of Covid-19 fund

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Liverpool-based company Heroic is to adapt Nizrana Farook’s acclaimed debut novel The Girl Who Stole an Elephant into an animated TV series with backing from Liverpool Film Office.

A co-production between Heroic and Blue Bear Film & Television, the children’s adventure will be adapted by local BAFTA and Emmy-winning writer Helen Blakeman (Dustbin Baby, Hetty Feather).

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant is one of 15 projects so far to be supported by the Film Office’s Film & TV Development Fund that was set up in response to COVID-19, using funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

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

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 high concept, Liverpool-set 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, and also scripted by Joe Ainsworth (Holby City).

Pencil Trick Productions is co-developing YA female football-themed TV drama Lily with Tigerlily Productions and Liverpool Everyman alumni, Lizzie Nunnery. It is also in early development on Gavin Scott Whitfield’s debut feature film Spent Light.

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 added: “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.”

The fund remains open for approaches until September 30th.