Following cuts to regional funding, the two bodies will merge their location and inward investment departments.
UK regional screen agencies Film London and Screen South are to merge their location and inward investment departments, following the UK Film Council cuts to regional funding at the end of last year.
The merged departments will now cover all 33 London boroughs, together with nearby counties Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle Of Wight, Kent, Middlesex, Oxfordshire and Surrey.
Pinewood and Shepperton studios, which previously fell under Screen South’s remit, will now be covered by the joint operation, as will London’s Ealing and 3 Mills studios.
The merger is intended to cut out the overlap between the two agencies by acting as a one-stop shop for international and UK crews wanting to shoot in the region. Film London CEO Adrian Wootton says the move should save both agencies up to $53,000 (£35,000) in the first year.
The joint service will operate out of Film London’s central London office and Screen South’s office at Pinewood Studios.
The two agencies will remain separate in every other respect, with Screen South maintaining its head office in Kent.
Screen South’s film commissioner Jenny Cooper will take on the newly created role of filming partnership manager for London and the South East. She will be based at Film London’s office, working alongside Film London’s head of inward investment and business development Helena Mackenzie. The newly merged team will include seven members of staff from across the two agencies.
Wootton said that the merger would not result in any job losses at either agency, although he admitted that Film London had been forced to cut back 18 – 20% of its staff (10 posts) across the entire organsiation over the last five months, following the news that the UKFC was cutting its funding for Regional Screen Agencies by 20%.
Wootton said: “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t all trying to make things more efficient. In this new future where there are big limitations on public expenditure, we’ve had to make cuts. But this merger means we are cutting out duplication, saving money and offering a more efficient service to the international film industry. It’s just so much more sensible.”
Jo Nolan, Chief Executive of Screen South, added: “In 2009, 50% of the productions assisted by Film London and Screen South saw significant crossover, being serviced by both agencies. This merger solidifies an existing positive working relationship and for film-makers it simplifies the process.”