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10/11/2010

£2.25 Million Investment Boost for Welsh Film Industry

The Film Agency for Wales has released figures showing a £2.25 million investment in the Welsh film sector.
Established in July 2006 and funded by the Arts Council for Wales, UK Film Council and Welsh Assembly Government via Creative Business Wales, the Film Agency for Wales is the sole strategic Agency for film in Wales and the only dedicated research and development resource for filmmakers in Wales.
The figures for 2009/10 detail development funding totalling £193,789 for 12 new feature films in addition to a further five awards for projects that had previously received development funding.
Production awards totalling £1.7 million were made across 15 feature films, three of which had previously received Film Agency funding. This represented a four-fold increase on a business target of investing in three-four feature productions, due to the efficient recycling of revenues received, lapsed awards and careful consideration of the level of funding needed to realise the potential of projects.
Supported features range from Marc Evans' Welsh and Spanish language, Patagonia, subsequently selected for the London Film Festival; Gabriel Range's dramatic documentary Little Matador and his harrowing feature, I Am Slave, which was subsequently selected for the Toronto Film Festival attracted 1.4 million viewers on Channel 4 and is currently gaining buyer attention from a number of US distributors. The adaptation of Joe Dunthorne's Submarine, propelled Welsh newcomer Craig Roberts into his debut feature role and one of 10 acclaimed places in Screen International's Star of Tomorrow, which highlights talent to note on the international stage.
Submarine was similarly selected for the esteemed Toronto International Film Festival, where it was picked up for North American distribution by The Weinstein Company, in addition to closing a slew of sales to international buyers. Additionally, the Film Agency co-financed the UK Film Council's Digital Shorts programme, managed by It's My Shout, providing opportunities for emerging talent. The scheme resulted in five short films, providing training for those involved and profiling some promising new directors.
The Film Agency for Wales also raised additional funds of £77,000 in 2009-10 through Welsh Assembly Government's Department of Economy and Transport and the Skillset accredited Academy + programme to deliver expert business planning support; continued professional development training for film education providers; market and digital technology training for cinema exhibitors and a bespoke company strategy training programme.
An additional £10,000 of Welsh Assembly Government funding was secured to develop the network approach of film exhibitors, with a particular focus on the opportunities presented by Digital Cinema, including the development of an on-line portal for businesses to share data, best practice, programming and marketing resource, in addition to a consumer-facing interface.
With a focus on the consumer and providing access to specialist and independent films, the range and number of cinemas that supported increased from seven to 13, increasing the focus on geographically remote, Community First and/or undeserved areas across Wales. The Film Agency awarded £208,000 to 13 film festivals and six special exhibition events. Combined festival and venue support enabled some 1050 specialist films to be shown across 3508 screenings, to 138,473 cinema attendees.
Support for 18 film education projects totalled £66,000, benefitting 3168 young people. A number of film festivals were amongst those gaining film education awards including Soundtrack for its innovative use of the D-Cinema network to simultaneously deliver film education in three disparate areas via satellite and Skype, FFilmic, AWEN Festival of Poetry and Film and Zoom, Wales' International Young People's Film Festival.
(KMcA)
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