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Saturday, May 18, 2024

£3 Million Secured Over Three Years for Film and TV Skills Development Opportunities in Scotland

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Screen Scotland announces £3 million of funding for the BFI Skills Cluster delivered by Screen Scotland, part of a network of BFI Skills Clusters across the UK to grow the country’s film and TV workforce.   

The funding, largely drawn from the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and the Scottish Government, will support three projects initially: a first-of-its-kind fellowship in Virtual Production programme, broadcast skills training under the Stornoway Studio Training Programme, and RESET which is aimed at people from all walks of life looking to transfer their skills and start a new career in the animation, VFX and games sectors. 

Virtual production combines physical and virtual filmmaking techniques – often driven by games sector technologies such as the Unreal Engine – to create advanced real-time 3D and photoreal environments for filming.

It is an emerging technology, but one where Scotland already has a reputation as a global leader.  

The BFI will contribute £1.1m of National Lottery funding over the next three years, while Screen Scotland, via Scottish Government funding, will contribute an additional £800k.

A further £1.1m of investment in Scotland’s crew skills will be leveraged by the public agencies from a range of industry partners, taking the total investment between BFI, Screen Scotland and industry partners to £3m across 3 years. 

Part of the UK wide BFI Skills Clusters initiative, this new investment by the UK and Scottish film and screen bodies is designed to support local industry, and education and training providers to work collaboratively.

The Cluster will develop clear pathways for people to secure long-term employment in film and TV production. 

Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s Executive Director said:

“The skills landscape in film and TV is constantly evolving and the line between film, TV and games is increasingly blurred.

“Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government and the BFI awarding National Lottery funding, Scotland is in a strong position to establish itself at the forefront of these new technologies.

“Sustained funding commitments such as the BFI/Screen Scotland Skills Cluster allow national bodies, local industry and individual productions to provide structured training where it’s most needed, making the most of those new opportunities.

“This additional BFI Cluster funding complements the annual investment of £2.1m Screen Scotland already makes to support skills development and training initiatives.

“We see this investment as core to our strategy to grow Scotland’s film and TV sector and sustain rewarding and creative jobs across the country.”  

Sara Whybrew, Director of Skills and Workforce Development at the BFI, said:

“The BFI is committed to supporting the growth of local crew bases in production hotspots across the UK, including in geographical areas that have been too easily overlooked for investment previously.

“Screen Scotland’s leadership, and that of its local partners, means we can develop and roll out skills and training initiatives that augment and complement existing interventions and in doing so ensure we reach new and diverse talent.” 

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: 

“I am delighted that this funding, of £3m over three years, will be able to support such a wide range of skills and talent development programmes across Scotland.

“We know that investing in skills, education, and training is the best way to ensure that those who want to build a career in our thriving screen sector are able to do so.

“And by building that workforce, we are securing a sustainable, resilient future for the Scottish screen industry, with all the wider economic, creative, and cultural benefits that brings.” 

The first Scottish projects to receive funding focus on addressing skills challenges in the animation, VFX, games and broadcast sectors:   

  • Award-winning global creative virtual production, training and innovation filmworks, Final Pixel Academy, in association with newly opened, Coatbridge based, Night Sky Studios and Glasgow’s BAFTA award winning digital entertainment leaders, Blazing Griffin are set to launch a first-of-its-kind Virtual Production Fellowship programme. A 3-year programme, the Fellowship is designed to teach the critical skills, techniques, technologies and creative applications within Virtual Production to enable participating delegates to carve new career paths in the burgeoning virtual production industry. 

Created to establish a high benchmark for Virtual Production skills in Scotland and embed Virtual Production training into the local market, the Programme is open to people currently involved in TV/film/advertising, VFX and games, applicants from live events and engineering as well as writer/directors, DOPs and camera department.

The successful 16 delegates will receive mentorship, specialist learning (creative and technical), mixed cohort learning and on-set experience.

Fellows of the programme will also receive accreditation which will demonstrate to the wider industry of their skill level and area of expertise and to further aid in their career development. 

  • On the Isle of Lewis, Gaelic language broadcaster MG ALBA has come together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar(Western Isles Council) to create The Stornoway Studio Training Programme at the island’s film and TV facility, Studio Alba.  With a specific focus on broadcast skills training, the Programme aims to bring on new talent and grow expertise for those working in the Film and TV industry across the Outer Hebrides. 
  • Trainee placements for new entrants to the Animation, VFX and Games sector are being offered by Glasgow-based, leading broadcast training provider TRC.  Following its successful 2022 pilot, which saw 90% of participants securing employment in the industry, this year’s ‘life-changing’ Reset initiative is again aimed at people from all walks of life who are keen to transfer their skills, experience and knowledge to a new industry (this could include those who are currently working in sectors such as: retail, hospitality, travel, entertainment, events etc) and establish a future career in the animation, VFX and games sectors.  During an intensive 8-month programme, up to 15 Reset trainees will work full time within their host company and receive additional training throughout their placement to further their skills, giving them a gateway into a new career path.  Trainees will learn from the best with award-winning animation, VFX and games studios across Scotland taking part.  Host companies will include Wild Child Animation in Stirling, Interference Pattern and Eyebolls in Edinburgh, and Blazing Griffin, Extra Mile Studios, ISO DesignRevenant, and Stacking Chairs in Glasgow.
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