The U.K’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the British Film Institute (BFI) have formally launched an export booster fund to replace the European tap that ran dry with Brexit.
Grants disbursed from Creative Europe’s MEDIA program were worth an average of €18.5 million ($22.2 million) a year to the cultural and audiovisual sectors in the U.K. and ceased once Brexit came into effect.
The new U.K. Global Screen Fund, announced by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak last year, is worth £7 million ($9.7 million).
Financed by DCMS and administered by the BFI, the one-year pilot fund will will target support across the independent screen sector including film, TV, animation, documentary and interactive narrative games content.
It will allocate funding to three open access strands. These include international distribution funding providing support for sales and distribution of one or more U.K. feature films in international territories; international business development with financial support for business strategies that drive international growth and IP development for companies working in film, TV and interactive narrative gaming; and co-production investment, supporting U.K. companies to be partners in international productions, sharing IP and revenue on projects with audience potential.
The fund will also launch an international promotional campaign extolling the virtues of U.K. content.
U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “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 U.K. The U.K. Global Screen Fund will export the extraordinary talent and creativity of the U.K. to audiences across the globe, supporting our talented filmmakers and screen businesses to compete and grow.”
Ben Roberts, CEO of the BFI, said: “Today’s announcement of the £7 million pilot U.K. 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 U.K. nominees, it’s clear our screen industries continue to punch above their weight internationally, and contribute significantly to the U.K. 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 U.K. is so renowned.”
David Parfitt, Oscar-nominated producer of “The Father” and founder of Trademark Films, said: “We are delighted with the success of ‘The Father,’ which has now sold in multiple territories around the world. However, this new fund brings a business development element alongside distribution support which is particularly attractive to a company like ours. It would allow us to engage and compete on more equal terms with other global independent production companies, allowing us to take further risks and giving a welcome boost for international success.”
The fund is led by Neil Peplow, director of international affairs at the BFI. Eligible U.K.-based companies will be able to apply to the fund with the international distribution strand opening April 28, business development funding from May, and co-production funding from June.