BFI, DCMS invest £2.1m in UK companies
December 16, 2021
The BFI has made a further 25 awards through its UK Global Screen Fund, supporting UK screen content businesses across film, TV, animation and interactive narrative video games to enhance their international activities. Financed through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the awards see a further £2,105,600 being allocated through the £7m fund’s International Business Development strand.
This financial support will provide companies from all over the UK with funding for business strategies to create, acquire and/or exploit Intellectual Property (IP) for increased international revenue, activities and profile. It is focused on helping companies achieve new international business partnerships, enhance their profile and reach in the international marketplace, and create and develop quality UK projects reaching audiences globally. The awards come in the form of non-repayable grants and range between £50,000 and £117,600 in total over a three year period.
Minister for the Creative Industries, Julia Lopez, said: “It is great that many of our innovative screen companies will turn their ambitious international growth strategies into reality, thanks to the UK Global Screen Fund. This funding will build on the success of our world-renowned screen industries by helping firms strike new global partnerships, reach wider international audiences and expand into new markets around the world.”
Denitsa Yordanova, BFI Head of the UK Global Screen Fund, said: “It is vital that we continue to build on the global impact of our renowned independent screen sector. These awards reflect a remarkable breadth of companies across video games, animation, film, TV and distribution, each demonstrating an impressive international outlook and ambition. It is fantastic to see so many companies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland striving for success in the international arena, actively targeting new global partnerships and markets as part of their growth strategies.”
Alan Clements, Managing Director, Two Rivers Media said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award which gives us the opportunity to build on our growing reputation in high-end documentaries and drama. Equally important, it is really heartening to see the UK government and the BFI backing our ambition to build an independent company of scale in Scotland serving the UK and international markets.”
Mark Backler, CEO, Sketchbook Games said: “This UK Global Screen Fund support will ensure we have the critically invaluable runway for developing our next game and pitching it to publishers. Opportunities like this are essential for helping young games companies take their businesses to the next level and ensuring they can survive long enough to become fully financially independent.”
Shantelle Rochester, CEO, Ida Rose said “For an independent company like mine which focuses on diversity in front of and behind the camera it has not always been easy to secure finance. This grant has helped to give us the capital we needed to scale up and meet the demand for our services internationally, supporting our current investment raise and our push into new business areas. The impact of this UK Global Screen Fund award, for us, is huge.”
Andrew Baker, CEO of Cantilever Media, said: “The award from the UK Global Screen Fund’s International Business Development strand is essential to enable Cantilever to grow and expand, both in the UK and internationally. With this funding and support we will be able to build our profile internationally, allowing us to take advantage of the interest we already have in UK feature animation projects such as The Amazing Maurice to grow our slate of new projects in both animation and live action family features.”
These awards follow the announcement last week of a further nine co-productions receiving a total of £1.32m from the UK Global Screen Fund’s International Co-production strand to support UK producers to become partners in international feature films, animations and documentaries and increase their ability to reach international audiences. In its pilot year, the UK Global Screen Fund has so far made 54 awards totalling over £4.4m across its three funding strands, with further International Distribution awards to follow.
The UK Global Screen Fund is also driving a new international promotional campaign for UK screen content. Launched last week, the new ScreenUK consumer brand showcases and celebrates UK screen talent and is being rolled out internationally through a digital campaign to distinguish and promote UK content to global audiences.
In November it was confirmed that the Government will commit £42 million to support the UK’s world-leading creative industries over the next three years, including a multiyear settlement for the UK Global Screen Fund.
Companies to receive UK Global Screen Fund International Business Development awards are:
Support to grow the Alphablocks and Numberblocks brands internationally, on YouTube and with broadcasters, via bespoke marketing and foreign language dubs in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean and Japanese. To date, the company has produced 5 series of both brands (a total of 211 episodes), which are aired in the UK on BBC and available globally on YouTube.
Support to expand the Welsh production company’s factual capabilities and help it generate new IP with international appeal. Recent credits include The Paras: Men of War for ITV, The Secrets of the Mary Rose for Channel 4 and Life Drawing Live!, a new factual arts brand for BBC4 and BBC 2.
The Black Camel Picture Company
Support to expand the Scottish company’s development capabilities by hiring a new full time staff position charged with sourcing, acquiring and developing IP and projects that are returnable and commercial, with a focus on original and diverse stories that resonate internationally. Recent credits include Annika, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, Falling for Figaro and Float.
Support towards the hire of key resources to develop internal capabilities for user acquisition, analytics and retention, enabling the company to retain more IP, target new international markets and sell directly to consumers internationally. Blazing Griffin Games specialises in premium interactive narrative games such as the BAFTA-award winning Distant Star: Revenant Fleet, the detective game Murder Mystery Machine developed for Apple Arcade, and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot: The First Cases for PC and Consoles.
Support to grow the company’s distribution practice internationally, with a particular focus on the North American market and stories that amplify marginalised voices, such as Clemency, A Space in Time and Rebel Dykes. Bohemia’s distribution business launched in 2020, focusing on titles by under-represented filmmakers and/or diversity focused stories. They have since acquired over 100 titles from all over the world.
Support to expand the company’s development capabilities to launch more kids and family animated projects with broad four quadrant international appeal. The growth strategy will increase the company’s profile internationally and follows the release of their first CGI animated feature film based on the Carnegie Medal winning children’s novel by Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice.
Digital Media Distribution
Support towards increasing the company’s catalogue of first run and library independent British titles, for exploitation on its pan-regional SVOD service CiND!E and across all distribution windows in Latin America. The company currently operates several business lines across all TV windows, focused exclusively on the Latin American market.
Support towards a newly created business development position to underpin production, sales and marketing activity. With its latest growth strategy, the children’s media company based in Northern Ireland, will raise its profile in the international animation arena. Recent credits include Puffin Rock and Saturday Club.
Dorothy Street Pictures
Contribution towards building out the company’s documentary development capacity charged with sourcing, acquiring and developing IP and stories that resonate internationally. The company will focus on coupling the talent of its UK team with British sensibilities and creative values, together with strong commercial and commissioning relationships with US streamers. Recent credits include Be Water, Persona, The Last Mountain and ‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas alongside forthcoming Burn It Down! and Super Eagles 96’.
Contribution towards development and talent resources to build out the company’s international film and TV slate, on the back of successful co-productions such as Triangle of Sadness and Quo Vadis, Aida?, positioning it as the partner of choice for audacious arthouse voices from across the world. The company was recently announced as part The Creatives – an alliance of 8 international producers.
Contribution towards development resources to build out the company’s slate with international sales potential and help source new international stories and partnerships, particularly in Africa (specifically South Africa and Nigeria), USA, Canada and the Caribbean. The company’s vision is to make international content with an edge that touches hearts and creates a sustainable black female led company, which is dedicated to shaping the future of diverse content globally.
ie ie Productions
Contribution towards staffing and IP development to further expand the company’s drama slate with international sales potential, with an eye to true stories and lived experiences from the female perspective. Following their debut feature Separado! and multi-platform production American Interior, the Cardiff-based company was supported by Ffilm Cymru Wales and the BFI Vison Award to diversify into factual TV and film and television drama.
The Ink Factory
Support to build a slate of projects leveraging the work of author John le Carré to be adapted in major Asian markets, including India, Korea and China. The strategy follows the company’s successful adaptation of The Night Manager, which was released in 2016 and sold in over 180 countries. The slate is being built by The Ink Factory’s Executive Producer Tessa Inkelaar (Bombay Rose, Cold War).
Little Door Productions
Support to expand capabilities to continue to develop authentic and diverse IP with international appeal, following the success of BBC and Lionsgate returning series The Pact. The Cardiff-based company is female-led, developing and producing quality drama and films for the local and international market, seeking out authentic voices and creating stories with universal appeal.
Number 9 Films
Support towards development staff to expand into high end scripted TV with international sales potential. The company already has a number of TV projects in development with a combination of streamers and broadcasters, and builds on the back of a successful track record with films such as Youth, Their Finest, Carol, Colette, Mothering Sunday and forthcoming film Living.
Contribution towards the company’s development of its own comic-book inspired IP and innovative new 3D/2D hybrid detective game Alter Ego. Recent credits include Wailing Heights and Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries.
Rebel Television & Media
Contribution towards development and marketing resources, enabling new international partnerships and the successful development of Rebel IP with international sales potential. The company’s first commission was with Disney, to create a three-part scripted comedy The Misadventures of Melvin and recently produced 20-part series Silly Animals, a comedy clip show featuring Alan Carr as a talking dog.
Contribution towards developing and marketing new projects and remastering existing projects with a focus on key international territories, such as the US and Asia. In 2020 the York-based company released Beyond A Steel Sky, written in partnership with graphic novel artist Dave Gibbons, which was commissioned by Apple as a lead title for Apple Arcade.
Support towards the international distribution and release of an unannounced project, localising and adapting the release for international markets, including but not limited to, Japan and China. Credits include Haunt the House Terrortown, Detective Grimoire and Snipperclips,
Contribution towards prototype development for the studio’s second game – an emotive narrative adventure, which touches on topic of mental health, utilising the capacity of games to do good while creating a unique, moving experience for players. The company has recently released its debut game, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, a multi-award winning atmospheric adventure about a young girl aspiring to be a writer, whilst dealing with the loss of a grandparent.
Slim Film & Television
Support to expand the company’s capabilities to develop more high end TV projects by working with international partners both at the production and commissioning level. This follows the release of the company’s latest project, Around the World in 80 Days, a Jules Verne adaptation commissioned by the European Alliance of FTV, ZDF and Rai.
Support to expand international development and co-production capabilities, to enable the company to produce more international hits, often with a Scottish flavour, such as the BAFTA and RTS award-winning The Cry (a BBC/ ABC, British/Australian production). Headquartered in Glasgow, Synchronicity’s current development slate includes notable best-selling IP including The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Mayflies and His Bloody Project and co-pros such as Song of The Sun God with Australian partner Dragnet, and One Word Kill – a co-pro with Erik Bamack’s US based Wild Sheep. Production credits include The Cry, Only You, The Party’s Just Beginning, Weekend and Not Another Happy Ending.
Two Rivers Media
Support to expand the company’s factual capabilities and help it generate new IP with international appeal, following the successful release of Killing Escobar. The Scottish production company, which has delivered the documentary series Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotland and The Trial of Alex Salmond to BBC2, will attend both factual and drama markets to raise its profile in the international arena. It co-produced its first drama, Susan Hill’s Ghost Story – The Small Hand, for Channel 5 and produced a number of series for the new BBC Scotland channel, including the four-part series The Years that Changed Modern Scotland.
Support towards a key development hire to further accelerate the growth of the Sheffield-based company’s TV business across broadcasters and SVOD platforms, targeting big IP and talent with international appeal. Recent credits include Little Birds, The Virtues and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Water & Power Productions
Contribution towards staffing and IP development to further build out the company’s drama slate with international sales potential. The growth strategy follows success with Code 404, Sky’s fastest binged original comedy box set ever, and first feature Phantom of the Open, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival and sold globally.