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07/03/2006

Sgrîn closes doors after nine years

Sgrîn Cymru Wales, the Media Agency for Wales, which was set up in 1997 will be closing its doors on March 31 2006.
The closure follows a decision by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) to replace the agency with a new body, Ffilm Wales.
The change follows a review undertaken by the ACW. The film agency will aim to "ensure that Wales can be more effective in developing talent and in making feature films." It is expected to be operational by April 1, 2006. Ffilm Wales is expected to distribute the Lottery funds for filmmaking in Wales, currently distributed by the ACW.
Launched on April 1 1997 Sgrîn supported, developed and promoted the moving image sector in Wales for over nine years.
Sgrîn's Chief Executive is proud of what the Agency has achieved.
"Sgrîn leaves behind an impressive legacy," said Berwyn Rowlands. "Sgrîn was able to lead on a number of important projects working with partners from both the pubic and private sector. Projects of particular importance include the establishment of The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, which now protects, and makes available, this country's moving image heritage for future generations. Another is the Wales Screen Commission, formed in partnership with every local authority in Wales, which will continue to attract high profile features and television programmes to film here in Wales."
Sgrîn has overseen the distribution of lottery funding for the development and production of films such as Sara Sugarman's ‘Very Annie Mary’, multi award-winning A Way of Life and Peter Greenaway's internationally acclaimed ‘Tulse Luper’ trilogy.
Since 1997 the European Media Antenna at Sgrîn has assisted 44 companies in gaining just over 3 million euros in media funding.
Screen Gems, Digital Visions, Animated it!, Animated Gems, Animated Shorts, Rarebits, Big Little Pictures, Lottery Shorts - these schemes have created 139 short films offering writers, directors, producers and crew a chance to hone their skills.
Sgrîn, in conjunction with the WDA and the Welsh local authorities, set up the all-Wales Screen Commission, creating a co-ordinated service supporting all areas of Wales. Since 2002 the WSC has dealt with 1446 enquiries, 307 actual productions bringing £36,443,912 into Wales.
The Agency offered daily business advice on company and project development as well as arranging seminars and the annual Focus on Conference for media practitioners.
The Made in Wales guide, the only comprehensive guide to the moving image production sector in Wales has been produced since 1999, and was made available online in 2002.
Sgrîn was responsible for setting up the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, bringing together the Archive of Wales and the sound collection of the National Library of Wales. The Archive now safeguards and promotes over 5.5 million feet of film, over 250,000 hours of video, over 200,000 hours of sound recordings and thousands of tapes, records and compact discs.
Sgrîn took over the running of the Cardiff Screen Festival in 2003 and in the last 3 years audience figures have grown by 35% and, thanks to appearances by the likes of Rhys Ifans and Alistair McGowan, the profile of the event has grown both in Wales and internationally.
Sgrîn has been responsible for organising promotional events to highlight the wealth of talent both here in the UK and abroad. Sgrîn organised the most popular Celtic Film and TV Festival in Cardiff in 2005 and has arranged events in Los Angeles, Cannes, Clermont Ferrand, Australia, Japan.
Sgrîn was also the theatrical distributor of the short films catalogue, which have been sent to 33 countries worldwide and sold to 19 companies, as well as around Wales on the popular Welsh Short Film Tour, which held 1,231 screenings annually.
(S. Preston)
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