Kernewek film development scheme

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Screen Cornwall has launched the first-ever funding scheme dedicated to the development of feature film in the Cornish/Kernewek language, as part of the latest boost to its Cornish Content Commissioning programme. Other new Cornish language content being commissioned includes short films, an online scripted comedy series and a documentary short.

The new opportunities are made possible by £150k funding from the Devolution Deal for Cornwall, an agreement signed in 2023 between the Government and Cornwall Council, which included £500k to support Cornish language and culture projects.

Screen Cornwall’s new Feature Film Development scheme will fund four detailed treatments, two of which will go on to receive further funding to reach script stage with writer and producer fees covered. Applications are invited from Cornwall-based production companies working with an attached writer or writer/director to develop scripted feature-length ideas in any genre that can be developed in the Cornish language and will connect with contemporary audiences.

FylmK, the screen agency’s contemporary Cornish language short film scheme that began in 2019, has also been expanded, building on the success of its initial titles being added to BBC iPlayer last year. Other commissioning opportunities being rolled out to Cornish filmmaking talent include a short digital comedy series to connect with mainstream audiences and a factual short documentary on Cornwall’s Mining World Heritage status.

Screen Cornwall has appointed Denzil Monk, CEO of award-winning Cornish independent production company Bosena and long-term collaborator of BAFTA-winning Cornish director Mark Jenkin, as consulting executive producer for the schemes. A passionate advocate for the preservation of Cornish language and culture, Monk co-wrote the Case for a Cornish Public Service Media report (2020) which highlighted Cornwall as the only national minority and indigenous language in the UK without its own media service, and called for the formation of a Cornish Media Service to create an original and authentic voice, driving growth, developing skills and improving cultural participation in the region’s creative economy.

Screen Cornwall MD, Laura Giles, said: “We are delighted to be taking further steps towards a stronger and more authentic media representation for Cornwall with our latest commissioning opportunities. Our new feature film development strand is a particularly significant step forward. As a talented local producer and someone who has long been at the heart of the drive to increase opportunities for Cornish talent, we couldn’t be happier to have Denzil Monk on board to guide the schemes.

“It’s important to add that although some knowledge of Kernewek is desirable, it’s not essential to apply. Working with the Cornish Language Office since 2019 on our FylmK programme, we’ve developed a really effective methodology to assist filmmakers creating work in Kernewek for the first time. We look forward to bringing forward more diverse new voices from our region.”

Monk added: “Yntanys ov vy a vos owth oberi gans Skrin Kernow; I’m thrilled to be working with Screen Cornwall, helping to develop our growing pool of Cornish screen talent and providing further opportunities to bring to life Cornish language and cultural short form, features and factual content for global audiences.

“These commissions are a crucial step towards providing a more pluralist and representative public service media that recognises and celebrates Cornish distinctiveness and will have a transformative impact on our burgeoning indigenous screen sector. Splann yw!”

Monk produced Mark Jenkin’s BIFA-winning, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title Enys Men (2022) and was associate producer on his BAFTA-winning debut feature Bait (2019). Other recent credits include Christopher Morris’s acclaimed Sheffield DocFest competition title A Year in a Field (2023) and he is currently in post-production with Jim Hosking’s third feature.

Applications for Screen Cornwall’s content commissioning schemes are open until next Monday (Feb 26). Click here for full information.