Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Creative Industries in Wales

The Gospel of Us -- one of the great success stories.  But why is "the story of us" still not treated as a priority?

This statement was put out in November, probably in response to the negative press comments about the Pinewood Studios fiasco.    That, and the revelations about Bad Wolf, have suggested that taxpayers monies were not being very well spent in this sector, and that "due diligence" testing left something to be desired.

So this is to some extent a reassurance exercise, designed to flag up the £100 million apparently spent in Wales during the creation of 10 films over the past 5 years.  I wonder where that figure came from?  And where was the money spent?  Who were the main beneficiaries?  Maybe we will see the figures one day........

It;s interesting that the Ministers flag up, yet again, the strategy "to promote Wales internationally as a destination for high end TV and film production."  But once again they have missed the opportunity of stating, on the record, that it is also a priority to work with the film and TV sector to promote Wales and to tell its story to the nation and to the rest of the world, thereby enhancing our sense of identity and pride.  Why should that be such a problem?

Written Statement - Update on Creative Industries in Wales

Last updated 15 November 2017

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport

We are writing to update Assembly Members on the opportunities to build on existing advantages to increase productivity and growth in the Creative Industries Sector in Wales. Over the last 5 years, film and TV productions shot in Wales and funded by Welsh Government have spent in excess of £100m in Wales. This is investment into local economies, providing hundreds of Welsh businesses and individuals with high quality work. The introduction of commercial funding via the Media Investment Budget in 2014 provided an additional boost to the industry and has funded ten productions and one games project to date.

These included Their Finest, which saw excellent box office takings and received a warm reception from critics, and Journey’s End, based on the famous World War One play by R C Sherriff, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film
Festival and had its gala screening at the London Film Festival last month.

For a number of years, our strategy and delivery of support for the Creative Industries Sector has focused on the provision of funding through grants, loans and commercial investments, to deliver strategic priorities including:

• a collaboration agreement with Pinewood, including the Media Investment Budget;
• bringing high value film and TV to Wales through Welsh Government financial incentives; and
• funding of high value digital media projects.

These priorities have been accompanied by logistical support for productions through the Wales Screen service, and a push to develop a range of studio facilities along the M4 corridor between Chepstow and Swansea. In particular, the new Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff is now home to the first Bad Wolf production and they have a future pipeline of productions that will spend at least £108m in the Welsh economy.

Industry growth continues to change the creative landscape and we are now working towards delivery of our manifesto pledge to provide a more holistic approach to the sector. Our new model of flexible and bespoke support will ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place for commercial business growth in a fast paced creative industries environment.

We will help prioritise and accelerate sector growth through:

• skills and supply chain development;
• improving networks and access to specialist industry-led advice;
• better exploitation of social media and digital platforms for service provision; and
• improving creative businesses’ ability to create, retain and exploit their intellectual property in the Welsh economy.

One of the changes to the landscape has been a commercial-based decision by Pinewood to withdraw from third party fund management, and therefore from its Media Investment Budget role. This has presented us with the opportunity to renegotiate the terms of our collaboration with Pinewood to better serve the industry in Wales.

Whilst the full terms of our new agreement are in confidence, it means that Pinewood remains fully committed to operating the studio in Wentloog and is continuing to promote Wales internationally as a destination for high end TV and film production.

We are proud of Welsh Government’s partnership with Pinewood. Having such an iconic brand in Wales has been invaluable for the Welsh film and television sector, helping us to elevate Wales as a premier production location and giving Wales a global advantage over other regions.

We will continue to build on this success, to deliver an even stronger Creative Industries Sector for the future.

No comments: