Creative Scotland still searching for film chief

TROUBLED arts agency Creative Scotland has had to go back to the drawing board to find someone to spearhead a revival of the nation’s film industry.
Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer. Picture: TSPLCreative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer. Picture: TSPL
Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer. Picture: TSPL

Its new director of film and media was expected to play a key role in arguing for a better financial deal for the sector in the forthcoming financial year.

But the new £55,000 post, created by chief executive Janet Archer after lobbying by the film industry, is having to be re-advertised after none of the candidates interviewed last month came up to scratch.

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It is understood that neither the salary nor the job description will be significantly different when it is advertised again early next month.

Potential applicants were told they had to demonstrate a “deep understanding” of the film and media sector.

The Scotsman revealed in October that film and television were set to win a higher profile and a better share of the funding cake in future under a major restructuring of the quango. This has seen the creation of new posts overseeing film, the arts and overall strategy.

Leading film figures want the industry to be put on the same footing as such other art forms as opera, theatre and classical music, but the Scottish Government has insisted that Creative Scotland must continue to be responsible for the sector.

Ministers have set aside a £2 million loan fund to get new film and television facilities off the ground, while Creative Scotland has ring-fenced £1m from its own budget to back a similar project.

It was hoped that the new film director would be in place in time for the publication of two major studies in the new year – a feasibility study of studio options and a report into the state of the film sector in Scotland.

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A spokesman for Creative Scotland said: “It is essential that we only appoint candidates that we feel are absolutely right for the job.

“Following an open recruitment process, and despite a strong response, we did not find the right candidate and, as such, we will re-advertise the post early in the new year.

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“We are as keen as anyone to see this post filled and ideally we would have liked to have made an appointment by now, but it is absolutely vital we get the right person for the job.”

Feature film producers based or shooting in Scotland are only able to secure a maximum of £300,000 from Creative Scotland under its current funding regime.

Key tasks for the new film director will be increasing the average number of feature films shot in Scotland above the current figure of 15-20 and increasing the value of location shooting to more than the £25 million it is worth at present.

Meanwhile Leonie Bell, one of the key figures involved in the Cultural Olympiad events staged in Scotland, has been appointed to the key post of director of arts and engagement. She joined the quango as an interim director of creative development in May of this year.

Philip Deverell is taking on a 12-month temporary post as director of strategy.