Creative Scotland fails film industry funding

ARTS agency Creative Scotland has failed to deliver a major funding boost for the country’s film industry - despite pledging to address claims it is lagging way behind major European rivals when it comes to financial support.

Janet Archer is hopeful of raising more money for film. Picture: Neil Hanna
Janet Archer is hopeful of raising more money for film. Picture: Neil Hanna

Just £4 million out of the quango’s £92 million spending plans for the next year has been set aside for film and television productions, only marginally more than last year, despite a prolonged campaign from dozens of producers. Last year £3.8 million was allocated in the budget.

The news has emerged in Creative Scotland’s annual plan just days before the first ever industry summit in Scotland is to be held - on the opening day of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

A damning report into the state of film-making in Scotland, published earlier this year, found the country was being let down by a lack of funding for films and

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    Creative Scotland’s chief executive, Janet Archer, who took over the role almost a year ago, said she had not wanted to divert funding from other art forms into the film industry.

    However she said her organisation was hopeful of raising several million pounds more for the sector by bidding to the European Regional Development Fund for assistance.

    Film festival organisers will also be able to take advantage of a major overhaul of Creative Scotland’s funding programmes, which will see traditional hierarchies shelved from next spring.

    And Creative Scotland’s first dedicated film director, Natalie Usher, was also appointed in the spring. She has been charged with finalising a blueprint for how to revive the film industry in Scotland, which Ms Archer ordered last year.

    The chief executive told The Scotsman: “We agree that we need to build more resources into film, but the way we’re not doing it is by taking money from one art form and put it into another.

    “We want to build a robust case for film and are currently in active conversations with other potential funding partners over how we might do that. One of the things we’re working on is building in European money. I can’t say how exactly much we are bidding for, but we are talking millions.

    “What we want to do is build a case around film based on its value, on both a cultural and economic level, in terms of what it could achieve.”

    Meanwhile Ms Archer revealed that she has put financial backing for any new major building projects on hold for a year.

    The move will not affect significant capital projects which have already won pledges of financial backing and further bids are likely to be accepted again from next year.

    She said: “We want to ensure balance between the level of forward commitment that these projects require and maximising revenue support through our regular, open and targeted funding routes.”

    Creative Scotland’s plan for the next year also reveals that the organisation will be embarking on major reviews of the literature and visual arts sectors. The organisation will also drawing up its first “Scots language policy.”