Written by: Dustin Chodorowicz, Partner
On November 8, 2023, I was invited to join a panel at the University of the West England's Bristol and Bath Screen Summit to discuss how Nordicity and Saffery LLP are helping design a new film and TV production fund for the West of England. Nona Hunter (West of England Combined Authority) also joined the panel, which was moderated by Sabet Choudhury (ITV News).
The second annual Bristol and Bath Screen Summit brought together, filmmakers, producers, writers commissioners and other stakeholders from across Bristol and Bath’s vibrant film and TV ecosystem to network, celebrate the rise of the region’s screen industry, and discuss how to further support the cluster’s growth.
At the inaugural summit in November 2022, the West of England Combined Authority announced that it would be appointing a consultancy in 2023 to help develop a new production fund for the region. My panel, ‘Regional Production Fund Update: In Conversation’, gave summit attendees exactly that: an update on the feasibility and design of a fund.
I outlined our consultation process with both regional and international stakeholders, and how we had looked closely at examples of regional production funds elsewhere in the UK and internationally that fit with the West of England’s own market context and policy goals. This led to a fund design roundtable and workshop at The Bottle Yard Studios in October 2023 attended by approximately 15 regional stakeholders – both in-person and online.
Following this summit, we delivered our shortlist of fund design options and recommendations to the West of England Combined Authority to review.
We think the Bristol and Bath area already has a very strong film and TV production cluster, with a recently expanded Bottle Yard Studios, skilled crews and a world class pedigree in natural history (BBC) and animation (Aardman Animation). Compared to other production clusters outside London – such as Wales, Northern Ireland, Liverpool, Yorkshire and now the North East – it is lacking a financial incentive. And so, a new regional production fund would help level the playing field for the West of England and enhance its global competitiveness as a destination for film and TV production.
Nordicity and Saffery LLP look forward to working with the West of England Combined Authority and all of the region’s film and TV sector stakeholders in the coming months to finalise the design of a regional production fund that can be launched as a pilot programme in the near future.