Media Release: New fund to grow film and TV drama production in Scotland, now open for applications


Announcement marks latest in series of measures to grow Scottish Screen Sector over the last 12 months:

  • £4.75m of new funds for film and TV production and skills development
  • Progress towards establishment of screen studio facility
  • Increased support for writers, directors and script development

THE new £1.75 million Production Growth Fund (PGF) which gives film and television drama producers a new incentive to base their productions in Scotland, opens for applications today, Thursday 29 October, 2015.

Today’s announcement marks the latest in a series of measures, including new funding for screen production and skills of almost £5 million, delivered by Creative Scotland in collaboration with Scottish Government and other partners, to grow Scotland’s Screen Sector since the publication of its Film Strategy 2014-17: Scotland on Screen in October 2014.

Announced in September 2015, the PGF is designed to stimulate growth in film and TV drama production by providing an additional incentive for major international productions to come to Scotland, as well as increasing funding available for projects from Scottish-based producers.

The increased production activity will create employment opportunities for Scotland-based crew, encourage the use of Scottish-based production facilities companies and deliver a direct and significant economic benefit to Scotland.

Published just over a year ago, the Film Strategy set out a series of key priorities – including increasing incentives for film and television production; making progress towards the establishment of a sustainable screen studio facility; developing talent and skills; and increasing support for writers, directors and script development.

Creative Scotland will continue to work in collaborative ways with Scottish Government, partner agencies and the sector to achieve the aims set out in the Film Strategy.

The measures undertaken in the past 12 months to achieve these aims are as follows:

Increasing incentives for film and television production

In early October 2015, the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland increased incentives for Film and Television drama production with the announcement of the new £1.75 million Production Growth Fund, which opens for applications today.

This followed the April 2015 announcement of the new £2 million Tax Credit Advance Facility offering loans against the proceeds of the UK Film, High-End TV and Animation Tax Credits.

Further channels are being investigated to increase content production funding; Creative Scotland has recently commissioned a scoping study designed to analyse the potential for using European Structural Funds managed by the European Union.

Towards the establishment of a sustainable screen studio facility

A proposal from a private sector developer is now at an advanced stage of consideration by Scottish Enterprise, on behalf of the Film Studio Delivery Group (comprising Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise).

The need for commercial confidentiality means we are currently unable to provide any more detail. We remain committed to developing suitable studio facilities in Scotland that fall within EC State Aid rules.

Meanwhile, Creative Scotland continues to work energetically pursuing potential operators to provide alternative large-scale production build spaces throughout Scotland, such as Wardpark Studios, the home to the second series of Outlander, and the OKI building in Cumbernauld, which comprises 80,000 sq ft of space, with a further 40,000 sq ft each of workshop space and wraparound offices.

Scotland offers production and build space for all budgets and provides professional facilities as far north as Stornoway and Skye, as well as a portfolio of successful and established companies in Glasgow, Edinburgh and across the central belt.

Developing talent and skills

In spring 2015, the Screen Skills Fund was announced to address skills gaps across the entire screen sector including film education, talent and skills, film production, distribution, exhibition and audience development, through specific targeted training and development programmes.

A total of £1 million has been awarded to organisations including the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI)/We Are Tonic and VFX, the Centre for the Moving Image and Cinema For All to support the development of skills for those already working in or considering a career in screen.

SDI and We Are The Tonic have received £80,000 towards a training initiative for producers to work with marketing/business graduates to jointly develop marketing and distribution strategies for their films.

Deborah Rowland, at We Are The Tonic, said: “Tonic is really excited to be working with SDI on this pilot that focuses on such an important area of the industry.

“Together, we have developed a truly innovative programme that uses live projects, combined with tutorials, forward thinking panels and workshops, and tailored mentoring – to give participants the skills, knowledge and experience to release their films to audiences in the best way possible.”

Meanwhile, additional support of £99,279 has been awarded to increase specialised training for the digital visual effects industry in Scotland.

Colin Kennedy, of Fix Visual Effects Ltd, commented: “We are delighted to have received such strong support from Creative Scotland and our other partners in bringing this new facility to Scotland. We look forward to strengthening the foundations for film and television production with new jobs and skills in a market that is vastly underserved in Scotland to date.”

Increasing support for writers, directors and script development

The Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN) represents the single biggest resource for new and emerging filmmaking talent in Scotland in the past seven years. The programme annually receives £450,000 (£250k from CS and £200k from BFI), and in the past year, has commissioned seven New Talent Shorts Films, three Emerging Talent shorts and the development of 21 first features.

In addition, 25 filmmakers have received support to attend talent labs at national and international film festivals, training programmes and workshops.

In addition to SFTN and existing single project and slate development funding for script development, which can be accessed by producers, Creative Scotland has, for the first time, opened up funding to filmmakers to apply directly for support at the early stages of their projects without a producer attached.  Writer/director Zam Salim (Laid Off, Up There) and Ewan Morrison, novelist and screenwriter (Swung) have both been funded to create new work through this route.

A dedicated screenwriters’ residency programme is also being developed to work with emerging and established screenwriters and provide opportunities for writers working in other forms, to develop work for the screen.

Support for the distribution and exhibition sector

Support for the distribution and exhibition of Scottish films is now available through a dedicated route as part of the £4m lottery Film Fund, increasing the availability, and supporting the promotion of Scottish films for audiences in Scotland and internationally.

Through Regular Funding Programme, we support Regional Screen Scotland, which operates the Screen Machine, bringing cinema to remote and rural communities with limited access to cinema, and Film Hub Scotland, extend film choice, increase and broaden film audiences, and enhance opportunities for audiences to engage with and learn about film.

Greater emphasis on film and moving image education

We provide support for the 5-19 Film Education Programme in Scotland, in partnership with Scottish Film, the British Film Institute, Into Film and Education Scotland. The programme aims to achieve a significant step change in the level of provision, delivering a wide range of activities to encourage watching, making and critical understanding of film for 5-19 year-olds.

We also support practical filmmaking workshops in Scotland through the BFI Film Academy initiative, which offers a real chance for talented 16-19-year-olds to be part of our future film industry.

Natalie Usher, director of Screen at Creative Scotland, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the Production Growth Fund goes live today. Its introduction marks the next in a series of steps taken by Creative Scotland over the last 12 months in collaboration with Scottish Government and agency partners, directed towards achieving our collective ambition to generate the conditions necessary to position the screen sector at the heart of Scotland’s economic and cultural life.

“Whilst much has already been achieved, work is continuing to create a vibrant, culturally diverse and commercially-competitive screen sector in Scotland.”

Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Scottish Government and its agencies are firmly committed to supporting screen sector growth.

“We are working very hard to make this happen – as underlined by the significant increase in public funding allocated to support the screen industry over the last seven years.

“Despite tough budgets, public funding for screen increased to £24.1 million in 2014, a rise of almost £8 million compared with 2007.

“Building on this, we have further strengthened our support for the sector in 2015 with the introduction of a new £1 million Screen Skills Fund, a £2 million Tax Credit Advance Facility and the £1.75 million Production Growth Fund, for which applications open today. We are also working incredibly hard to develop enhanced studio facilities for Scotland.

“We know Scotland’s screen sector has the talent and skills to deliver world-class films and attract major productions. But we recognise we need to do more to support the sector if we are to deliver on our high ambitions. Working with our partners we are committed to doing exactly that.”

John Archer, independent producer and chair of IPS, commented: “IPS are pleased at the progress that has been made with Creative Scotland in the screen sector over the past twelve months: the ground has been prepared for substantial and sustained growth in this vitally important part of Scottish culture.

“There’s much more to be done on the business side of production but the increased investment in the economic potential of screen production in Scotland is very welcome.”

The developments listed above are accompanied by record Production Spend figures of £45.8 million (2014) and June 2015, Scotland was voted the world’s Best Cinematic Destination ahead of Petra in Jordan and New Zealand.

Notes to editors:

Production Growth Fund guidance and application forms are now available here.

Media contact

Wendy Grannon
Media Relations and PR Manager, Creative Scotland
D +44 131 523 0016 +44 7916 137 632

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