A brand new funding agreement is set to boost film and TV skills across Liverpool City Region and champion equality, inclusivity and diversity in the sector.
A report going to Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 17 October seeks approval to accept an £833,030 grant which will part fund the creation of ‘Screen Alliance North’ – bringing together the northern powerhouses that are Liverpool Film Office, Screen Manchester, Screen Yorkshire Limited and North East Screen.
The fund from the British Film Institute and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, aims to deliver a collaborative and ambitious skills cluster programme which will tackle the skills shortages in the film industry and improve access to high quality training for those aged 18 years and above.
In a bid to create a more inclusive, fairer and diverse screen workforce, the four regional hubs will set out an initial three-year programme which will support people in accessing the industry through training and work experience, with the ambition of ensuring a brand new cohort of professionals who can thrive in the industry beyond 2026.
An activity plan is currently being developed which will develop strategies for:
• Entry level training courses
• Paid industry placements to work on film and TV production
• Industry led workshops, panels and masterclasses
• Industry supported apprenticeships
• Industry focussed careers and networking events
• Film and TV studio and set visits
• Industry and further and higher education partnerships
There are currently around 22,000 industry professionals in or around the four northern regions, and with production levels already returned to pre-pandemic levels there is the need to grow the numbers of people working in this sector.
In 2022/23, Liverpool Film Office attracted and supported 239 productions, generating 1,481 days of filming and bringing an economic boost of £28.8m. It also supported 990 full time equivalent jobs across the city region and created 44 new entrant roles with paid work on a feature film and high-end TV drama.
High-profile TV series filming in 2022-23 include Paramount’s Sexy Beast, BBC’s The Responder, Time, Sky’s Funny Woman, Channel 4’s The Gathering, ITV’s Maternal, and upcoming Amazon series Dead Hot; plus Amazon feature film Heads of State, and the video for Taylor Swift’s hit I Can See You. This built on an already impressive recent portfolio such as The Batman, War of the Worlds, Tin Star, Help, The Ipcress Files and Peaky Blinders.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“The demand for productions to be filmed across the Liverpool City Region is reaching an all-time high, and shows no sign of slowing down. We need to ensure that we do everything we can to continue to support and develop this region’s incredibly talented workforce, giving everyone – regardless of their background – the opportunity to access training and get their foot in the door of the film and TV world.
“By nurturing this future talent, we can ensure we continue to meet the needs of productions, which will ultimately have a positive impact on our regional economy and employment levels.
“Already, Liverpool Film Office and the Combined Authority have worked closely on projects with local trainees to ensure they don’t have to relocate in order to hone their skills and get on the career ladder. This new funding is a welcome boost to existing programmes and will create further, exciting opportunities for growth in our city which continues to be one of the UK’s most filmed destinations outside of London.”
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said:
“Across the North, areas like ours are proving that long gone are the days when production companies could only look to London to base their studios – because we have all the capabilities, facilities and skills they need right here.
“This investment is about raising young people’s ambitions and making them realise that they don’t need to move down South to build a career in the film industry. Instead, we want to give the next generation access to opportunities to train and develop their skills and ensure we’re retaining the very best talent here in the North.
“I’ve been bold in my ambition to stake our region’s claim as the ‘Hollywood of the North’ and attracting the thousands of well-paid jobs and training opportunities that it will bring. I’m looking forward to seeing how Screen Alliance North can help us achieve that vision.”