Rishi Sunak c wiki commons

Source: Chris McAndrew/Wiki Commons

Rishi Sunak

The UK government has unveiled the first details of the Global Screen Fund, an alternative to the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, which the UK film and TV sector will exit at the end of 2020 due to Brexit. 

The scheme was announced as part of UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review today (November 25). It will be worth £7m for its pilot year (2021-22).

”The Global Screen Fund, worth £7m in 21/22, will support independent British screen content, in particular film, to compete across international markets,” said the Treasury in a statement. “This pilot fund will support the development of independent UK content, to help maintain a vibrant and sustainable UK independent screen sector. In this difficult fiscal climate, this funding demonstrates the Government’s strong and continued commitment to growing the independent screen sector.” 

The total is well below the £17m mooted by the BFI as needed back in June during a DCMS select committee inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the creative sector.

BFI chief executive Ben Roberts said: “Today’s £7m for a pilot Global Screen Fund announced as part of the government’s Spending Review is a positive result for the independent screen sector in what we appreciate is a challenging fiscal climate.

”Given the significant contribution of film, TV and video games to the UK economy and our position in the global market, we welcome this new funding which will enable the industry to further grow international partnerships, build on export opportunities and increase our return on investment.”

It is not yet known who will administer the fund. 

It was revealed in February the UK would not renew MEDIA membership for the next period, which runs 2021-2027, even though non-EU countries can participate in the scheme. It ends close to 30 years of support for UK sales agents, distributors, exhibitors, and production companies.

The BFI estimated that in the long term the independent sector would shrink by 10% without a replacement fund, costing up to 1,200 jobs. These estimates were made before the sector was further weakened by the Covid-19 outbreak.