Quick facts about the U.K.’s nine regional agencies in England and national bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- All provide location services.
- Most offer development aid for projects specific to their region, although outside filmmakers need to team with local talent/producers to access this.
- The three national bodies and some of the English regions have production funds to invest in inward projects (i.e., originating from foreign sources) that commit to a significant spend in their area.
Production coin: About $3.75 million per year overall, capped at $875,000 per project. No fixed cultural or economic criteria other than to show benefit to Scotland. Inward films are expected to spend in Scotland at least three times the amount of Scottish Screen’s investment. Development coin is available via slate deals with several local producers. The Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission (scotfilm.org), based in Inverness, also provides location services.
It’s a deal: “Valhalla Rising,” “Clive Barker’s Book of Blood,” “Stone of Destiny,” “Doomsday.”
Film Agency for Wales and Wales Creative IP Fund
Web: filmagencywales.com, financewales.co.uk
Production coin: FAW has $1.3 million annually to back Welsh-born/Welsh-based talent shooting anywhere in the world ($350,000 maximum per project). The Creative IP Fund is an equity investor with a rolling $12.25 million fund to attract production into Wales. Maximum is $1.3 million per project, requiring a Welsh spend ratio of 1:1. The Wales Screen Commission (walesscreencommission.co.uk) provides location services.
It’s a deal: The IP Fund backed Northern Irish pic “Hunger,” which did post at Dragon Digital, while “The Edge of Love,” about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, received $1.3 million while spending $2.4 million in Wales. FAW is backing “I Know You Know,” a co-production with Screen East, and “A Boy Called Dad,” a co-production with EM Media and Northwest Vision.
Northern Ireland Screen
Production coin: About $4.9 million a year, max $1.4 million per project. Offers the giant Paint Hall studio rent-free plus $875,000 investment to anyone guaranteeing to spend more than $3.4 million in the province.
It’s a deal: “Hunger,” “Five Minutes of Heaven” plus Walden Media’s “City of Ember,” which received $1.5 million and spent $17 million, shooting in the Paint Hall. NIS also backs a low-budget production slate from Generator Entertainment.
THE ENGLISH REGIONS
Screen West Midlands
Production coin: SWM is halfway through spending a $8.75 million European Regional Development fund, investing up to $875,000 per project. Money is equally given for local talent and inward projects.
It’s a deal: Recent pics include “Faintheart” and “The Tormented.” SWM also is backing Polish-made doc “Mind the Gap” about local Sikhs. “Souled Out” is set in Wigan, outside the SWM area, but shooting in Stoke because of SWM backing. Meanwhile, Indian pic “Land Gold Women” shot in Birmingham, and “Atonement” spent 14 weeks on location at Stokesay Court, though neither had SWM investment.
South West Screen
Production coin: None. Used as a location by pics including “Hot Fuzz,” “The Golden Age” and “The Boat That Rocked.” Bristol is home to Aardman Animations. “Apocalypto” used Charlestown harbor in Cornwall for a 16th-
century port location. Locally based outfit Square Sail is one of two companies in the world providing square-rigged ships for films.
Production coin: Raised and spent $10.3 million from European Regional Development Fund (topped at about $430,000 per film) and plans to raise more in 2009. Actively exploring international co-production and co-development opportunities, particularly with other Euro regions and India. Backs digital studio Warp X.
It’s a deal: “Control,” “Bronson,” “A Boy Called Dad,” “Pelican Blood” and “Crying With Laughter.” Key locations include Burghley House (“The Golden Age”), Flintham House (“Easy Virtue”), Chatsworth House (“The Wolf Man”) and the Peak District (“Pride & Prejudice”).
Northern Film and Media
HQ: Newcastle upon Tyne
Production coin: None, but it offers small development coin and access to key locations. “Atonement” shot the Dunkirk beach scene at Redcar. Alnwick Castle is Hogwarts in “Harry Potter.” Two Bollywood pics shot in the region this summer: “Kaun bola” and “Apni boli, apna des.”
Northwest Vision and Media
Production coin: $700,000
It’s a deal: Northwest Vision is TV-focused, but its Merseyside Film & TV Fund backs projects based in Liverpool, including the Terence Davies doc “Of Time and the City.” Gave location support to “Miss Potter” in the Lake District, with big returns in tourist revenues.
HQ: Folkstone, Kent
Production coin: None
It’s a deal: Has an active film commission at Pinewood Studios that helps arrange location shoots in the region for many of the big movies based there, such as “Casino Royale” (which used Pinewood’s neighboring Black Park for Uganda), “The Boat That Rocked” and “The Other Boleyn Girl.” Chatham Docks in Kent is a busy period location for pics including “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Golden Compass.”
HQ: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Production coin: About $2.2 million per year, max $437,500 per project — plus loans against U.K. tax credit up to approximately
$1 million for a 10% fee.
It’s a deal: “Brideshead Revisited,” “The Damned United,” “Hush” and the “Red Riding” trilogy. Backs digital studio Warp X. In addition, Indian horror movie “1920” and “Wild Child” were shot in the region.
HQ: Norwich, Norfolk
Production coin: Its $4.2 million Content Investment Fund has just received its final round of applications, and is now closed until coin flows back or more funds are raised.
It’s a deal: The fund backed 12 movies, including New Zealand co-production “Dean Spanley,” Hawaiian co-production “Barbarian Princess” and Welsh co-production “I Know You Know.” The region hosts “Batman” pics (Gotham City was constructed at Cardington Hangar in Bedfordshire for both “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins”) and “Harry Potter” pics, which is permanently based at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire.
Production coin: None. Co-funds the Microwave microbudget scheme. Primarily works as a location service to help many filmmakers, foreign and British, navigate through the maze of shooting movies of all shapes and sizes in the U.K. capital.