Scottish agency’s £4m ($6.8m) “not enough” for national film production, claims CEO.

Janet Archer

Creative Scotland has outlined its post-referendum plans at a film industry summit in Edinburgh.

Chief executive Janet Archer told delegates that Creative Scotland will “continue to work with the Government of the day, regardless of its political make-up” but cautioned that despite film being on a positive trajectory in Scotland tight budgets mean that “funding will continue to be an issue”.

“We do not expect any significant change to our funding or operational arrangements as a result of the Referendum, whatever the outcome,” explained Archer.

“That has been made clear in Chapter 9 of the Scottish Government’s White Paper.

“What I can say is that, in my experience as someone who has worked in arts and culture all my life, across the UK and internationally - the Scottish Government’s commitment to arts and culture in Scotland is strong and enduring, both in terms of funding and in terms of policy.”

Funding issue

However, Archer acknowledged that in light of wider government budget cuts  - the Scottish budget is being cut by close to 11% between 2011 and 2016 - Creative Scotland would “need to find innovative ways of sourcing and using public funding in all aspects of public life, including the arts, screen and creative industries”.

“Funding will continue to be an issue and I won’t pretend that it won’t. We have a limited pot,” she added.

Archer recognised that the organisation’s £4m ($6.8m) set aside for production is not enough to boost the local film sector.

“Is £4m enough to support film production in Scotland? No, it’s not,” she said. “We, like everyone else in the film industry in Scotland would like to see more funding available.”

Euro funding

One way to augment Creative Scotland’s film budget could be through European collaboration, said Archer: “One of the routes could be through European funding.

“Creative Scotland is working closely with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise on identifying potential funding models…We hope to have a better idea of timelines in the next few months.”

The film sector will also benefit from the recent, long-awaited appointment of a dedicated director for film and media at Creative Scotland, explained the executive.

“Natalie Usher’s first task is to take the Film Sector Review and the feedback and ideas that we have gathered from our dialogue with people working in film and turn this into a cohesive, action-led strategy for film in Scotland.”

That strategy is due to be published on the Creative Scotland website by the end of the month for open consultation.

Scottish studio

Archer added that submissions are currently being considered for a long-awaited new studio facility in Scotland: “We anticipate that decisions on the way forward will be be reached soon.”

Scottish arts body Creative Scotland has an annual budget of around £90m ($152.5m), with around £8m ($13.6m) earmarked for film.

The organisation recently raised its cap for investment in film production from £300,000 to £500,000 ($500k to $850k) and reduced the minimum co-funding required for Flexible Multi Project Development from 25% to 10%.

The two-day film summit, titled The Future of the Scottish Film Sector, Post Referendum, began today [June 18], the opening day of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.