The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the BFI have announced the launch of the UK Global Screen Fund, the one year pilot fund designed to help plug the sizeable gap left by the absence of Creative Europe’s MEDIA funding post-Brexit.
The £7M ($9.7M) Global Screen Fund for the UK’s independent screen sector (including film, TV, animation, documentary and interactive narrative games) is aimed at “developing and producing projects with international appeal, expanding the worldwide distribution of UK content and encouraging collaboration with international partners.”
The pilot fund is led by Neil Peplow, Director of International Affairs BFI, and will allocate funding to three open access strands:
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International distribution funding: support for sales and distribution of one or more UK feature films (drama, documentary, animation) in international territories.
International business development: financial support for business strategies that drive international growth and IP development for companies working in film, TV (animation, drama and documentary) and interactive narrative gaming.
Co-Production investment: support for UK companies to be partners in international productions, sharing IP and revenue on film and TV animation and documentary projects with audience potential.
However, the size of the fund has raised eyebrows. Initial proposals from the BFI, which will administer the fund for DCMS, called for a £17M ($22.8M) pot. The UK received €12.2M (£10.9M / $14.5M) in MEDIA funding in 2018 and a total of €74m ($87m) from the wider Creative Europe program over the five year period 2014-2018.
According to the DCMS, the fund will drive and finance a new international promotional campaign that will showcase independent UK screen content through multi-territory promotion of talent, content, and companies.
The Government also says that further investment will support research into a new data hub. This will explore the possibility of providing international data that can allow financiers, screen content creators, sales agents and distributors to make better-informed decisions.
UK-based companies eligible for the UK Global Screen Fund will be able to apply from next week, with the International Distribution strand opening on 28 April. Guidelines for this fund will be made available here. Companies will be able to apply for Business Development funding from May, followed by Co-Production funding from June.
The Global Screen Fund is open to independent screen sector companies registered and centrally managed in the UK, which meet the eligibility criteria in the published guidelines. The Government says the fund will support companies from across the whole UK, “addressing geographic imbalance within the industry”.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden commented: “The United Kingdom has an independent screen industry to be proud of. World renowned, our film, TV, video game and animation industries create jobs and growth the length and breadth of the UK.
“The UK Global Screen Fund will export the extraordinary talent and creativity of the UK to audiences across the globe, supporting our talented filmmakers and screen businesses to compete and grow.”
Ben Roberts, BFI CEO, added: “Today’s announcement of the £7m pilot UK Global Screen Fund will deliver a vital boost to the UK’s exceptional independent screen sector by stimulating international partnerships and generating new export opportunities. As we look to this weekend’s Oscars, and the incredible line up of UK nominees, it’s clear our screen industries continue to punch above their weight internationally, and contribute significantly to the UK economy. It’s vital we continue to build on the global impact of our diverse and brilliant independent screen content, enabling the creativity and success for which the UK is so renowned.”