The Children's Film Foundation (CFF) was set up with the support of Lord Rank in 1951. Its remit was to make films specifically for children to be screened at Saturday morning matinees and used in schools.
The Foundation was supported by the British Film Industry and an annual grant from the Eady Levy, which was a tax on the sale of cinema tickets. In 1950 the Foundationreceived 5% of the total fund and continued to be well funded from this source. This enabled the Foundation to make five or six low budget films a year.
DVD's of collections of CFF films curated by the British Film Institute can be purchased at the BFI Filmstore.
These films were very successful and inspired a whole generation of new cinema-goers. They also gave an opportunity for a number of child actors and actresses, who later became stars, to begin their careers. These included Francesca Annis, Michael Crawford and Dennis Waterman.
Soap Box Derby with Michael Crawford (1958)
When the Eady Levy ceased to exist, the Foundation re-organised itself into a development funder for both film and television projects, under a new name, The Children's Film and Television Foundation (CFTF).
For the next few years the Foundation funded development of some films including Danny the Champion of the World, but concentrated more on television series, enabling the commission of series such as The Borrowers, The Queen's Nose, The Magician's House (1999), Gypsy Girl (2001) and An Angel for May'(2002).
Subsequently, the CFTF together with the UK Film Council and the BBC set up a script development fund for 'family friendly' features.
Five projects were developed through this fund:
- Curry in a Hurry - Matador Pictures
- Eager - Heyday Films
- The Big Bazhooley - Tiger Aspect Productions
- Everything on a Waffle - Sarah Radclyffe Productions
- Journey to the River Sea - Kudos Productions
The CFTF script development fund is now closed. The CMF does not currently offer financial support for content development.