Media release: Business development initiative launched for Scotland’s screen sector


FOCUS is a two-year pilot project that will provide expert sector-specific business support to screen production companies working in Scotland to encourage them to grow and expand.

The project has been developed to address current market conditions in the screen industry in Scotland.

Begins a spokesperson: “Many screen production businesses operating in Scotland are not of the scale where certain business development and support functions can be afforded in-house. This has had an impact on the ability on those businesses to grow, increase output, and remain sustainable.”

FOCUS addresses this by providing subsidised access to specialist business development services.

In the initial pilot phase, 20 participating screen companies will each work with a business development consultant to create a bespoke business development strategy for their company, before moving on to access the sector-specific expertise identified in the strategy.

Participating companies will contribute one-third of the costs of the consultancy themselves, with the remaining costs covered by FOCUS, which is co-funded by Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

For screen companies, this will mean a rare opportunity to gain access to sought-after expertise in areas such as digital distribution, aggregation, financing, international co-production, and audience development.

Consultants will be matched to companies on a case-by-case basis, according to the needs identified.

FOCUS is delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute.

The project is managed by business development manager, Rebecca Thompson, who previously created film audience development and crowdfunding consultancy, Hot Tap Media, and the film crowdfunding and distribution platform, Social Screen.

Business development executive, Susie Wright, previously worked as Nations and Regions executive at Channel 4, and development producer at STV Productions and IWC Media.

Tiernan Kelly, director, Film City Glasgow Ltd, said: “FOCUS is a direct and considered response to the needs of indigenous screen production companies.

“The project will address the issues of scale and access to expertise that many of these companies face, and create a generation of ambitious, international facing screen businesses producing content from Scotland.

“The project presents clear evidence of industry collaboration with our enterprise and cultural agencies on a shared vision for the sector.”

Noe Mendelle, director, Scottish Documentary Institute, added: “I am delighted that documentary producers will have an unique opportunity to enhance and develop their business skills at a time when the success of new platforms is challenging the traditional funding route and requiring new strategies from producers.”

John Archer, director, Hopscotch Films, and board member of Film City Futures, said: “This innovative project brings together the skills and funding of both Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise with independent producers. With the new BBC Scottish channel 15 months or so away the timing of this great opportunity is brilliant.”

FOCUS is co-funded by Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

Each organisation  has allocated funding of £250,000 towards delivery of the project, with participating companies expected to contribute a further £250,000, creating a potential £750,000 of total project funding.

Natalie Usher, director, Screen at Creative Scotland, says: “We are proud to be supporting FOCUS, alongside our partner, Scottish Enterprise.

“Providing such specialist business development support and advice to Scotland’s screen production companies will contribute significantly towards growth in the sector.

“FOCUS marks the next in a series of steps taken with the sector and agency partners, towards generating the conditions necessary to create a vibrant, culturally diverse and commercially-competitive screen sector in Scotland.”

Continued David Smith, sector director of Digital and Engineering at Scottish Enterprise: “We are very pleased that we have been able to develop this pilot project in partnership with Creative Scotland, Scotland’s lead screen agency, and screen industry members.

“This has resulted in an innovative approach which will connect screen production companies to sources of expert advice and support to help drive up levels of international trade and innovation to help companies achieve their full potential.”

FOCUS now seeks ambitious screen production companies in Scotland who wish to invest in their future success.

Applications are now open on the Film City Futures website, where companies can find out more about the project, register to attend an information session in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and apply to be one of the first to benefit.

Applications close on 14th August 2017, with the first participants selected by the end of August.


Notes to editors:

Film City Glasgow / Film City Futures

Film City Glasgow has firmly established itself as the heart and soul of Scotland’s film and television industry. The facility comprises of over 12,000 sq. ft. of production office space, a 5,000 sq. ft. studio/build space, workshop areas, rehearsal/meeting rooms, café, and 10,000 sq. ft. of creative business offices, now home to over 25 permanent tenants from the screen and wider creative industries.

Film City Futures is a charitable subsidiary of Film City Glasgow. Its mission is to connect people, space and opportunity, enabling access and entry to the screen industries for all – acting as a catalyst for participation, learning, and innovation. A year-round programme of activities allows Film City Futures to offer a range of opportunities whilst identifying uniquely talented individuals.

Scottish Documentary Institute

Based at the Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, SDI has produced over a hundred films, screening in sixty countries worldwide, garnering international recognition as being at the cutting edge of the documentary sector. Bridging art and industry, SDI is committed to supporting authored films driven by content and emotional experience.

SDI comprises two entities, SDI Outreach and SDI Productions. SDI Outreach is a non-profit organisation, delivering a ladder of development opportunities to benefit all Scottish filmmakers and producers, in addition to running Scottish delegations, in collaboration with Creative Scotland.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.

They enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.

Creative Scotland distributes funding for the arts, screen and creative industries from two primary sources, the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy.

Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors.

We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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Film City Futures contact details…

Contact: Rebecca Thompson