Welsh film-making time travels into the future

Like the Tardis a surprising amount of filmmaking went on in Wales last year considering its size (population 2.9 million not including Time Lords).  Reviewing the production statistics for 2009 (as reported in the now defunct Screen Finance) the standout fact is that compared to Scottish Screen’s investment in one majority-UK feature (Peter Mullan’s Neds), one equal UK/international co-production (Outcast, produced by Eddie Dick of Makar) and one minority UK co-production (David Mackenzie’s The Last Word, a Zentrop/Sigma co-pro), the Welsh had money in five films, all of which were majority UK productions.  This may reflect the fact that Welsh filmmakers have two local pots of money to approach (the Film Agency for Wales’ £1m investment fund and the £10 million Wales Creative IP Fund) plus of course (like Scots) access to UK Film Council funding as well (although interestingly the UKFC were involved in only one of the five features). The result of this surge in locally financed production was over £25m of production compared to Scotland’s locally supported £11m.  Having built up a healthy indigenous production capacity and facilities infrastructure thanks to the ringfencing provided by S4C, the boost provided by substantial BBC investment, spearheaded by the relocation of Dr Who, and the enlightened enterprise agency approach to the creative industries, the Welsh seem to be forging ahead while Scotland’s film and TV drama production remains in the doldrums, some way from achieving critical mass.  Sadly the fudge that is the Creative Scotland Framework Agreement and the continuing myopia of Scottish Enterprise when it comes to the creative content that supplies their beloved digital markets doesn’t raise one’s hopes that we will be able to match the joined-up Welsh advance any time soon.  But I truly hope I’m wrong about that.

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