Regional screen chiefs to oversee transition

LONDON — In yet another sign that Creative England, the umbrella organization that will take over the duties of the U.K.’s regional screen agencies, is having trouble getting its ducks in a row, it has appointed a new Establishment Board to help oversee the transition.

Creative England chairman John Newbigin announced on Thursday that the chairs of existing regional screen agencies, which promote filmmaking and development within their areas, will form the Establishment Board to ensure that a fully functioning organization is ready to replace the existing network of regional screen agencies on Oct. 1.

Caroline Norbury, chief exec of South West Screen, will be seconded to the interim role of Establishment Director, which will be effective immediately.

Norbury, whose term at the role will run for a maximum of six months, will focus on guiding the new board toward transitioning the existing seven regional screen agencies into Creative England, which will have hubs in the North, Midlands and South.

She will be tasked with setting up the overall biz plan and staffing structure of Creative England’s film activity and will report immediately to the Creative England Establishment Board.

Mehjabeen Price, South West Screen’s director of finance and operations, will become acting chief exec whilst Norbury is seconded to the new role.

“Creative England is a new organization with an imaginative new remit set out by the government,” said Newbigin. “But our first responsibility is to ensure that we have the people and resources to replace the regional screen agencies in supporting filmmaking and film culture across England.

“Until now, we have relied on the goodwill and voluntary hard work of the existing screen agency CEOs and their staffs in setting up Creative England, but now we need a full-time, fully committed executive if we are to get to the starting line by the agreed date of October 1.”

When culture minister Ed Vaizey announced his blueprint for film policy last November, he reassigned regional screen agencies into one national body, Creative England, with hubs in the North, Midlands and South.

The original idea was to have the org up and running on April 1, the same day the British Film Institute was skedded to take over the defunct U.K. Film Council’s duties.

But conflicts amongst various members of the screen agencies on location of the three hubs (which will be located in Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol – all in the West of Blighty) coupled with cuts in funding have prolonged the process.

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