UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled the parameters of the government’s Spending Review, including the creation of a new Global Screen Fund that is designed to partially plug the gap left by the absence of Creative Europe’s MEDIA funding post-Brexit.
The funding amount of £7M ($9.4M) for the program’s pilot year may come as a disappointment, however, as initial proposals from the British Film Institute (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.
The Spending Review sets out plans for the economy as the UK nears the completion of the Brexit process (37 days and counting) and looks to a 2021 when the country will be planning its recovery from this pandemic.
The Global Screen Fund was first proposed in the summer. At the time, it was noted that the UK’s indie film sector had benefited for more than a decade from MEDIA funding, particularly in the exhibition and distribution spaces, as well as the export of British content to European shores.
The proposal, put forward by the BFI, estimated that the sector would shrink 10% without a replacement fund and cost up to 1,200 jobs.
Even though Creative Europe’s MEDIA program is not limited to EU nations, the UK government has previously confirmed it will not seek participation in its 2021 edition.
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive said, welcomed the announcement while acknowledging the economic challenges of the current climate.
“Today’s £7m for a pilot Global Screen Fund announced as part of the Government’s Spending Review is a positive result for the independent screen sector in what we appreciate is a challenging fiscal climate. Given the significant contribution of film, TV and video games to the UK economy and our position in the global market, we welcome this new funding which will enable the industry to further grow international partnerships, build on export opportunities and increase our return on investment,” he said.
Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “Confirmation of a Global Screen Fund to replace Creative Europe MEDIA is welcome news, but urgent clarity is needed on what will replace Creative Europe Culture and other EU-funded programmes.”
“EU funding has been crucial in enabling creative entrepreneurs and organisations to deliver social and economic value, whilst cementing the UK’s position as world-leading. We look forward to seeing the long-awaited details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and urge that government consults with industry as it pilots these new approaches.”
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