News for regional film makers

Marcella Forster

Following the demise of the UK Film Council, Marcella Forster writes:

You’ve probably heard that the UK Film Council is being replaced by something called Creative England. It looks like EM Media will be absorbed into one of the three new regions – will we be central or north, though?
Em Media has yet to comment, but Screen West Midlands has issued a statement in response to the changes. See below.

“Statement from Screen England in response to Ed Vaizey’s announcement of proposals to form Creative England

John Newbigin, Chair of the regional screen agency network Screen England and newly named Chair of Creative England, said; “Over the past months, Screen England has worked closely with the coalition Government to map out the best course of action to secure a strong future for film and the wider creative industries outside of London. We are pleased to say that in the Creative England structure, we believe we have arrived at a framework that will deliver effective and streamlined support to the regions via a new hub and spoke network.

“Digital convergence is accelerating, and our creative industries need to adapt at a time when it is more important than ever that public investment is made to work harder and reach further. Creative England will increase delivery and reduce costs, whilst retaining local resonance across the country. The regional screen agencies will now work together to recalibrate into Creative England’s three hubs; Creative North, Creative Central and Creative South. The business plan for Creative England will be open to full industry consultation in the New Year.”

Statement from Screen WM in response to Ed Vaizey’s announcement of proposals to form Creative England

Suzie Norton, Chief Executive of Screen WM said; “Screen WM is pleased that the new Creative England structure has been decided, and we look forward to working with the other screen agencies to form the three hubs of Creative North, Central and South. We are confident that this new framework will support our local film and screen-related sectors, whilst also delivering for the wider creative industries which we have been engaged with for some time.

“We have already shown in the past eight years that we can generate key economic growth in our local creative sectors by providing the right businesses with targeted support. We look forward to being able to continue this work under the Creative England banner, and will share further details with the industry as they are confirmed in due course.”

Quotes on key topics

On reducing costs and keeping local delivery

“The Government has recognised that there needs to be local support for film and the wider creative industries outside of London, but it is also responding to the need to find savings across the board in the current challenging climate. Creative England will provide a responsive local infrastructure of business support and talent development whilst making efficiency savings and streamlining costs incurred under the current regional screen agency structure.”

What will happen next?

“The screen agencies will now work together with Government to recalibrate into the three hubs of Creative North, Creative Central and Creative South. A full Creative England proposal document will be published, and following this there will be a public consultation where we will invite views from the industry across the UK. Feedback will then be taken forward to shape the final Creative England business plan. 2011 will be a year of transition for the screen agencies as they develop into this new structure, but we will keep the industry informed of key developments as they happen.”

What will this mean for locations/inward investment?

“While Film London will be given the responsibility for promoting inward investment into the UK as a whole, providing locations support and encouraging such investment into the regions remains extremely important to both the national and regional film economy, and these will continue to be key areas of activity going forward. The regional screen agencies will work together to decide the best way to continue this support under Creative England, and we will confirm further details in due course.”

About Creative England

The Screen England network of regional screen agencies was established by the UK Film Council in 2002 to deliver film culture and nurture talent across the country. Since then, the independent screen agencies have grown and diversified to work across the full range of creative media industries, in many cases attracting significant funding from other sources for a range of projects. Their activity has supported both the ‘screen-related’ sector of film and television, as well as the wider creative industries such as games, digital, new media, design and fashion.

Following the announcement of the abolition of the UK Film Council in July 2010, the Government confirmed continued support for the film and media industry outside of London. The agencies have since been working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to decide on the best structure of this support, in order to secure a strong future for the UK’s creative industries.

It has been recognised that a condition of this ongoing support is the re-structuring of the screen agency network to reduce expenditure and overheads, resulting in a more streamlined channel of public funds into the creative sector.

Today, the Government has announced the establishment of Creative England, a new nationwide network based on three key hubs; Creative North, Creative Central and Creative South; which will work with local business networks and sector organisations, to deliver cultural and business-development objectives.

The DCMS has confirmed that Exchequer and Lottery funding will be available to continue out of London film services, including providing a nationwide talent development network, delivering locations services, and supporting exhibition, film festivals and audience development.

The screen agencies will now work together to restructure into the three hubs. There will then be an industry consultation, where responses to the proposed Creative England model will be invited from industry members across the UK.”