Posts Tagged 'Sigma Films'

Scotland reverses decline in EU MEDIA programme awards but no medal (yet)

After seven years of steady decline Scotland finally saw an improvement in the level of investment secured from the EU MEDIA programme as the programme itself nears its end.  As we’ve noted in previous posts (see October 2010 and May 2011)  Scottish production companies’ share of MEDIA’s Single  Project and Slate development funds hit a high water mark in 2004 then dropped to a low point in 2010.  Last year Sigma Film’s £170k Slate award helped stop the rot but the overall share of the €14m MEDIA funding in the UK coming to Scotland remains less than 2%.

To be fair we would not expect Scotland to be sharing in the around €8m support to distributors, sales agents and individual films given the absence of first run distributors based in Scotland and only one film (Sigma’s Perfect Sense) in the eligible list.  And in the skills department we’re not faring too badly (thanks to Screen Academy Scotland’s ENGAGE project) with €150K of the €971k invested in training programmes.

On the other hand no Scottish company secured Single Project development funding (19 English and 2 Welsh companies shared €740k between them), Interactive Project funding (€150k awards went to two English and one Welsh company) or a share of the €1.2m in support for TV Distribution shared by five English companies.

All in all a small improvement but not exactly gold medal territory.  In any case with the EU MEDIA and CULTURE programmes being replaced in 2014 by ‘Creative Europe’ (if you want to know more those kind people at the European Commission have posted some short FAQ video answers here.) we will all have to get used to new structures, priorities and application processes.

With €1.8bn to spend between 2014 and 2020 (assuming the European Council and Parliament approve the Bill and budget, which have yet to receive their ‘first reading‘) there’s a lot at stake, and not just for media companies.  Whether or not Scotland gains independence during that period, we would get a lot of benefit from securing a larger slice of the pie than we have managed recently.

After the Oscars can a Scot hit pay-dirt in Texas?

Assuming  that The Illusionist doesn’t (sadly) upset the apple-cart with an Oscar win on Sunday (as Producer Bob Last reportedly isn’t), Scotland’s next best hope for a spot of US glory rests on the ever-productive David MacKenzie.  Having done somewhat disappointing business in the US (though much better in France, Russia and Spain and even Mexico and Brazil) with his 2009 studio comedy Spread, MacKenzie and long time producing partner Gillian Berrie and Sigma Films are back this year with two films, the Ewan MacGregor-starring Perfect Sense which premiered at Sundance last month and You Instead, which had its world premiere on home turf in Glasgow last week.  The self-proclaimed ‘punters festival’ being a place to see movies rather than do deals, it was at the film’s Berlin European Film Market screening where,  according to Variety, buyers’ eyes found the latter film pleasing.  Sold to distributors across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, You Instead has its US premiere next month at SXSW, the increasingly high profile film end of the world’s hippest music festival and industry jamboree (though it is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year!).  Having picked up good crits in the trade press if You Instead appeals to the US distributors gathered in sunny Austin as much as it did in freezing  Berlin, MacKenzie and Berrie may just hit pay-dirt in Texas.


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