The Children's Film & Television Foundation, then the Children's Film Foundation, 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 levied on the sale of cinema tickets. In 1950 the Foundation received 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.
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.
However, with audiences falling and the Eady Levy gone, the Foundation found itself without its major source of income and decided that it had to cease production and utilise its'funds for script development. It was felt at this time that television was more important and viable than film and it was then that the name of the company was changed to 'The Children's Film and Television Foundation'.
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' and 'The Queen's Nose'. More recent series have been 'The Magician's House' (1999), 'Gypsy Girl' (2001) and 'An Angel for May' (2002). This project was developed by the CFTF and transmitted in four episodes on ITV and has also, in its film version, won 11 international awards and was nominated for an International Emmy in 2003.
Although the Foundation believed it was doing valuable work in television, it felt that there was a lack of concentration on culturally relevant films made for British children and their parents and therefore in 1996, when the lottery film franchises were advertised, the Foundation decided to bid for a niche children's franchise. This bid although well and warmly received, was not successful. However, there was a clear feeling that something needed to be done to support the development and production of British children's films.
Five projects have been developed through this fund:-
They are now at various stages in their development process.
The fund is now closed and currently the Foundation is unable to take on any new projects.