The U.K. government has set up a pilot Global Screen Fund of £7 million ($9.3 million) to partially replace funds disbursed from Creative Europe’s MEDIA program, which will cease once Brexit comes into effect at the end of the year.
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the fund on Wednesday as part of a government spending review.
Since its launch in 2014 up until 2018, Creative Europe has awarded €89.5 million ($106.5 million) to 376 U.K.-based cultural and creative organizations and audiovisual companies, and helped distribute 190 U.K. films in other European countries.
However, as Creative Europe says, the benefits far exceed the monetary grant funding and the org’s report on its impact in the U.K. illustrates the program’s effect on building international networks, growing audiences and generating jobs and skills.
In June, via written evidence presented to the U.K. parliament, the British Film Institute (BFI) said that without the Creative Europe contribution, the independent sector would shrink by 10% in the long term without a replacement fund, costing up to 1,200 jobs. These estimates were made even before the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the entertainment industry.
“Going forward without Creative Europe, the U.K. will be exposed to market failures, a new competitive block in the form of the EU (who have Creative Europe’s continued support which incentivizes them to buy each other’s content) and the impact of COVID on all parts of the film ecosystem,” the BFI stated at the time.
The BFI’s solution was a £17 million ($22.6 million) Global Screen Fund designed to support all parts of the independent film value chain and accelerate export growth in key territories, while deepening cultural and commercial ties to the U.K. through soft power.
The Chancellor’s pilot fund amount is considerably less than what the BFI had put forward, but nonetheless, chief executive Ben Roberts called the fund “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 U.K. 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,” said Roberts.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s focus on levelling up and innovation in today’s spending review, along with the recognition that investment is needed to grow and evolve particularly hard hit sectors like the creative industries,” said Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation. “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 programs.”
Meanwhile, participation in Creative Europe is not restricted to EU member states. There are currently 13 non-EU countries that have either partial or full participation. These countries must still comply with certain EU regulations and policies and pay a financial contribution in order to participate.