West Midlands’ creative industries set for major boost following Mayor’s announcement of upcoming £2.1m Production Fund and new Screen Bureau

  • The Creative England fund has supported hugely successful film and television productions including Line of Duty, The Girl With All The Gifts, and Spooks: The Greater Good
  • Creative Industries Council launches national Toolkit to stimulate creative economies across the UK’s regions
  • Andy Street announces new West Midlands Screen Bureau is to catalyse growth in region’s moving image industry

The Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street, has announced that making £2.1m available for the sector will be an integral part of his vision for creative and technology industries across the region, at an official launch event today (Friday 8th September).

Vice President of Facebook EMEA and Creative Industries Council Chair, Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, also unveiled the national Creative Industries Toolkit – a tool designed to showcase and stimulate regional creative economies – at today’s event, hosted by the West Midlands Combined Authority and Creative Industries Council.

Delegates heard Street announce the formation of the West Midlands Screen Bureau; a new initiative that seeks to galvanise the region’s film, TV and digital production sectors by increasing partnership working between industry leaders and production agencies across the West Midlands Combined Authority area.

During the event, which took place at Birmingham City University, Street presented delegates with an exclusive short film, produced to showcase the West Midlands’ strong track record in creative storytelling. Peaky Blinders, Notes on Blindness, Girl With All The Gifts, The Call Up and Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger were among some of the productions set in the West Midlands that featured in the film.

The West Midlands Production Fund (WMPF) is to be finalised and re-opened later this year. Creative England is in final contract negotiations with Government to recycle the £2.1m legacy for reinvestment in digital media productions in the West Midlands.

Speaking at the event, Vice President of Facebook EMEA and Creative Industries Council Chair, Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, discussed with the audience the West Midlands’ range of creative institutions and businesses, Birmingham’s place as home to the largest tech and digital cluster outside London, and encouraged other cities and other regions to think about how they can grow their creative sectors too.

Also speaking at the event, Mayor for the West Midlands Andy Street, said:

“The potential for the creative and digital industries in the West Midlands is vast. These high growth and future-facing sectors not only offer huge job potential but also drive innovation and support other important industries.

“We are working to attract inward investors at one end of the scale, while encouraging the creation and growth of new businesses at the other.

“The West Midlands Production Fund and Screen Bureau will play a key part in both of these efforts. By bringing together regional partners and industry leaders in the film, TV and digital production sectors, the West Midlands will have a much more powerful voice and a clearer direction.”

During the event, John Newbigin OBE, Creative England Chairman, discussed the impact of the WMPF and the themes of the Creative Industries Toolkit with a panel of industry experts including Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Birmingham and BBC Academy; Debbie Isitt, Writer and Film Producer; Anita Bhalla, Chair of Performances Birmingham; Steve Root, Vice President of Development Creative Services at Codemasters and Rosy Greenlees, CEO of Crafts Council.

The Toolkit showcases the successes of the cultural and creative industries and illustrates the huge untapped local resource they present.  Every corner of the UK has a creative sector with its own distinctive structure and personality and the Creative Industries Council urges Mayors of Combined Authorities to inspire their own authorities to move from a narrow view of culture to a broad, cross-cutting ‘place-based’ approach – ‘hardwiring’ cultural and creative industries into every aspect of local and regional policy making.

The WMPF has financially supported a number of hugely successful productions, including the The Girl With All The Gifts, starring Glenn Close and Paddy Considine; Jawbone, the first screenwriting project from star of This Is England ’86 Johnny Harris, and Spooks: The Greater Good, starring Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harrington. Other productions include The Marker, due to be released this month, which received its premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, winning a Michael Powell award.

The Creative Industries Toolkit is a resource for cities and regions that will be rolled out across the country over the coming year. The full toolkit is available on the CIC website.