The new regional body has officially launched today with the appointment of some board members and three senior managers; funding will be available from October 17.

Creative England is officially “open for business”, although the only money on the table is for film related activities and a number of regional screen agencies are still operating as private companies.

The new body - set up to replace the existing Regional Screen Agencies - has announced its first seven board members and three senior management appointments. The Film Culture Fund will be available from October 17 and its Talent Development Fund is “expected to be up and running by November.”

The first seven board members are: Alison Owen (Ruby Films), Andrew Chitty (Illumina Digital), Bill Lawrence (Reel Solutions), Charles Wace, (Twofour Group), Heather Rabbatts CBE, Jonnie Turpie (Maverick TV) and Richard Klein (BBC Four).

Five more board members are expected to be appointed “over the coming months”, according to Creative England chair John Newbigin, who described the new appointees as having an “extraordinary wealth of experience and wisdom, covering a wide spectrum of the creative industries and extending right across England.  

Creative England has also appointed three senior managers to head up its three “film priority areas”.

Chris Moll, who previously held the position of executive producer at South West Screen where he headed up microbudget scheme iFeatures – has been appointed as head of Talent Development.

Former head of cultural sector investment at Screen Yorkshire Jay Arnold has been appointed as head of Film Culture and Kaye Elliott, previously director of inward investment at Vision+Media, will take the role of head of Location Production Services.

They join Caroline Norbury who was appointed as chief executive of Creative England last month. She already held the post of “establishment director” and has been heavily involved in the formation of Creative England during the last 18 months, so her appointment came as little surprise.

Previously Creative England had announced that there would be three “hubs” - Creative North (Manchester), Creative Central (Birmingham) and Creative South (Bristol). The details of these are yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Creative England’s Film Culture Fund will be open for applications on Oct 17.

Funding will be aimed at cinemas, film archives, film festivals and the non-theatrical exhibition sector (mobile cinema and film societies), for project activity including audience development, film education activities and the acquisition, preservation and conservation of and access to regional screen heritage.

The Talent Development Fund, which covers support for organisations, networks and talent on a regional/national level, will open for applications from November. Enquiries are now to be made via a centralised Creative England phone number and email address.

Preparations are also underway for a digital feature film initiative, with a planned launch in late 2011/early 2012, according to Creative England.

Creative England’s remit is to provide support for film, television, games, and digital and creative Services, although as yet the only money on the table is for film, in the form of £900,000 Grant in Aid funding and £1m Lottery funding from the BFI. Funding for other activities is “currently being sought”, according to Creative England.

While the new body has been set up to create a “simpler, more efficient structure with an expanded remit to support the creative industries across England,” the precise structure of the new body is yet to be confirmed. 23 members of screen agency staff will technically transfer their employment to Creative England under the TUPE regulations.

But Screen Yorkshire, EM Media and Screen South are still operating and Northern Film & Media has already opted to sit outside the Creative England structure. Conversely, Screen West Midlands announced its closure last week. All lottery funding enquiries are to go through Creative England.

The process which has led to the formation of Creative England has been a fractious one, with tensions between the regions and suggestions that the process was not transparent enough.