Pinewood Studios appointed to advise on a new Welsh Media Fund, four-stage studio on the way.
Pinewood Studios is teaming with the Welsh Government to create a new film and TV facility in Wales.
As part of a new collaboration between the UK studio hub and the Welsh government, the latter will acquire and fit out the former Energy Centre, Wentloog, adjacent to Cardiff Bay, converting the venue into a 180,000 sq ft facility with four stages, to be known as Pinewood Studio Wales.
Pinewood will operate the studio and contribute £800,000 ($1.34m) over five years for the purchase of equipment. It will enter into a lease for a minimum of five years.
The deal is hoped to generate an estimated £90m spend with Welsh businesses.
The collaboration is a result of an exclusive agreement between the two parties that will see Pinewood advise the Welsh government on a new £30m ($50.4m) television and film investment pool.
The money has been freed up recently by the Economy Department of the Welsh Government. The investment pool will be overseen on the Welsh Government side by Natasha Hale, Deputy Director Sectors and Business, whose team will collaborate with an advisory panel which is now being assembled.
According to Hale there will be no minimum or maximum spend per project and projects will be selected for funding on a case by case basis, with the stipulation that an element of the production must shoot in Wales.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart, who led a trade visit to Los Angeles last year to raise the Welsh profile in Hollywood, said: “The Welsh Government will invest up to £30m into projects brought forward by Pinewood and aimed at increasing film and TV production in Wales.
“Over the past 12 months Wales has supported two major high end television productions – Da Vinci’s Demons and Atlantis - and this new partnership with Pinewood will undoubtedly propel Wales further onto the international stage.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Pinewood will receive an annual fee and transaction based advisory fees for the fund. Pinewood will also be responsible for the promotion and marketing of the new investment.
Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive officer, Pinewood Shepperton plc said: “We are delighted to have agreed with the Welsh Government to advise it on its television and film funding initiative. This builds on our success with Pinewood Pictures and managing the Isle of Man Treasury Film and Television Fund.
“Our combined advisory investment funds now total £55m ($92.3m) making them one of the largest investment portals for new British television and film content.
“The new fund together with the new facility will do much to boost the Welsh film and television sector. The fund is also another step forward for creating a sustainable UK film and television production centre”.
The move provoked a response from Welsh actor Michael Sheen who said: “This appears to be great news for Wales and a logical next step building upon the huge success of the revitalized Welsh entertainment industry.
“It’s always a precarious business to attempt such a large undertaking, but it points to the confidence, the expertise and the creative spirit of the people of Wales and I hope it can help the country come closer to realising its hopes for the future.”
Wales has been home to several major productions in recent years.
A studio was created from a former car components factory on the outskirts of Swansea for Da Vinci’s Demons, a period drama series for US cable network Starz created by David S Goyer, the writer behind Blade and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Recent films that shot in Wales include Robin Hood, Harry Potter, Snow White and The Huntsman, Clash of the Titans and its sequel Wrath of the Titans.