US Film and Television Executives Explore the Northern Powerhouse

Friday March 18 2016

The British Film Commission (BFC), supported by UKTI’s Northern Powerhouse Fund, brought six key decision-makers from the North American film and television industry to the north of England this week for an overview of the region’s key crew, talent, facilities, studios and locations. The initiative forms part of the BFC’s ongoing mission to encourage inward investment, boost employment and cement the UK’s status as the lead destination for world-class film and television production.

The week-long familiarisation ‘fam’ trip, hosted in association with regional agency Creative England with local support from Liverpool Film Office and Screen Yorkshire, saw the executives touring Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Yorkshire, visiting the sites, studios and iconic locations featured in the likes of Peaky Blinders, Houdini and Doyle and Harry Potter.

US execs discover the benefits of filming in the north of England

The delegation, which included senior executives from Broad Green Pictures, Dynamic Television, Gaumont Television, HBO Films, Media Rights Capital and Universal Cable Productions, received expert insight into the region’s skills base and its tremendous versatility, along with information on the UK’s generous Creative Sector Tax Reliefs – a combination that has led to the UK being one of the world’s top draws for global production, securing major feature films and returning high-end television series. Statistics from the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit published in January this year show that inward investment film production spend in 2015 topped £1bn for the second consecutive year – the first time it has done so since records began. The figures also show a huge 20% leap on from the previous year for high-end television.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: “The north of England is home to an exceptional concentration of some of the country’s leading creative film and television companies, superb facilities and breathtaking locations. These elements combined with the UK’s generous Creative Sector Tax Reliefs and local incentives make it fertile ground for international productions of all sizes, helping to attract the kind of productions which touch audiences around the world. With the success of the tax reliefs helping grow local infrastructure, develop crew bases and nurture creative talent, it makes complete sense for us to be championing these regional creative industries on the global stage.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “The North of England is an iconic backdrop to some great films and TV shows. “Already the Northern Powerhouse film and TV industry is a magnet for global investment, and this week’s initiative is a real opportunity to showcase our home-grown talent to companies around the world. “We are committed to backing this success story which is why we introduced highly competitive tax reliefs, which in the last year alone supported over £1 billion in direct investment into the UK.”

Andrew Critchley, Managing Director, Red Production Company, said: “As one of the UK’s leading independent drama producers, Red Production Company has been producing award winning content in the North of England since 1998. The region is blessed to have some of the best writers, talent and crew, which allows Red to keep producing innovative programming year on year in the North. The Northern Powerhouse inward mission for US TV and Film execs is a clear signal that the North is building its international appeal and Red Production Company are proud to be involved in showcasing the region and reinforcing the North’s offer of world-class locations, award winning post production companies and highly experienced crew & facilities.”

Sam Auguste, Managing Director, Onomatopoeia Post, said: “The BFC’s visit to Liverpool with the US familiarisation trip is a great opportunity to promote companies such as mine to international film and television clients and to highlight the depth of post production talent available in the north of England.”

Susan Woodward OBE, FRSA, Founder, The Sharp & Space Projects Manchester, said: “Manchester has invested nearly £50 million in facilities to attract the top producers of drama and TV production to the region recognising the economic importance of the production industry. In our first year The Space Project has played host to all the main UK TV channels as well as producers for the USA and Canadian markets. We look forward to developing further strategic relationships with overseas content producers across all platforms.”

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