Cornwall’s burgeoning screen industry has been given a boost with funding for Screen Cornwall to grow Cornwall’s film sector and raise the profile of Cornish media, including Cornish language content.
Screen Cornwall will also extend its outreach and talent development programme, which offers people from a diverse range of backgrounds the chance to take their first steps into the industry.
The successful funding bid, worth more than £395k, follows research conducted by Screen Cornwall and funded by the BFI (British Film Institute) which found that the screen industry in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has the potential to become a “cluster of national significance”, building on growing momentum for Cornish independent films and location filming.
Recent figures calculated using Creative England’s Local Economic Impact Toolkit, suggests that film and TV currently contribute just over £5 million in GVA to the Cornish economy.
The success of domestic independent filmmaking rooted in Cornish heritage – such as Mark Jenkin’s BAFTA-winning 2019 debut Bait, and 2022 follow up Enys Men – coupled with Cornwall’s long-standing popularity for inbound location filming with international titles like HBO’s House of the Dragon and most recently a second series of the BBC’s Death in Paradise spin-off Beyond Paradise, provides a foundation for sustainable growth for businesses, specialist freelancers and creative talent.
Screen Cornwall’s MD, Laura Giles, said: “A diverse and robust talent pipeline is vital to developing a healthy screen ecosystem, so people are at the heart of our vision for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to become the UK’s most vibrant rurally dispersed content production region.”
This builds on a successful pilot of filmmaking workshops, funded by Cornwall Council in 2022, connecting activity with community support organisations, through to strategic industry partnerships such as BFI NETWORK and ScreenSkills as well as production companies. Screen Cornwall will also continue to build links with local education providers so that new entrants can build essential credits on their CV, which is vital in retaining talent in the region.
The other main focus of the activity will be around Cornish language, culture, and heritage media representation on screen, implementing early recommendations from the 2019 A Case for a Cornish Public Service Media report.
This will include expanding the annual Cornish language FylmK commission for a short film in Kernewek, funding companies to develop longer form content in partnership with industry and greater engagement with the wider Celtic screen industry through the Celtic Media Festival. Finally, there will a drive to make authentic Cornish content more accessible to both local, visitor and Kernowphile audiences.
Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said: “We know from Screen Cornwall’s research that there are more than 270 companies active across film, television, video production, equipment hire and digital games in Cornwall, and we want to foster the growth of those businesses and the screen sector as a whole.
“At the same time, we want to celebrate our unique cultural heritage by encouraging more indigenous Cornish language filmmaking and this project will help achieve all those aims.”
The project has received £395,650 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The money was allocated from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Cultural Events and Talent Programme, which has been earmarked for £4.4 million of investment from Cornwall and Scilly’s three-year £132 million Shared Prosperity Fund allocation. Cornwall Council has been chosen by Government as the lead authority for the fund.