Written by Shona Smith on Oct 16, 2019. Posted in General Interest

West Midlands launch new body to turbo charge regions screen industry

The new body Create Central – Home of Original Story Telling, brings together creative individuals from the region to accelerate investment, growth and thousands of new jobs by 2030.

The region’s creatives, including Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight, Nativity film franchise founder Debbie Isitt, Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray and will be chaired by international industry heavyweight Ed Shedd.

Developed with national bodies including the BFI, ScreenSkills, UKie, Creative England, the Creative Industries Federation and PACT Create Central to build on the region’s existing creative and cultural talent and take it to the next level and dovetail with the region’s wider cultural and tourism sector.

Upon the launch of the body, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said “There has never been a better time to invest and support our creative sector in the West Midlands. As the home of original story telling, our region has the tradition and talent to capitalise on this in a big way”. The mayor highlighted the creative heritage of the region saying “The tales of Shakespeare and Tolkien still generate enormous value and interest to this day, and our modern-day storytellers are continuing this success with hits like Peaky Blinders, the Nativity franchise, and Citizen Khan (pictured)”.

Ed Shedd commented “We are perfectly positioned to respond to and benefit from the fundamental transformation the screen industries are undergoing, driven by the advent of near ubiquitous, high speed connectivity. I look forward to working with the industry, the WMCA and partners to help attract and stimulate our next generation of storytelling, be they telling that story on TV, film, social media, or games formats.

With a bold target of 29,000 new, high skilled jobs in the digital and creative industries by 2030 set by the WMCA, there is a focus on encouraging talent and skills in the West Midlands. The WMCA will provide up to GBP500,000 will be available to lunch a series of pilot Create Central Bootcamps in collaboration with ScreenSkills, UKie and local colleges and providers to train more people in the film, TV and games sectors. The pilot is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “This new body is a key part of our industrial strategy which maps out how we will grow our economy in a way that benefits all our communities. By putting the industry in the driving seat we can create an agile and responsive body that can make the most of the region’s existing opportunities and generate new ones. But Create Central cannot do this alone, it’s only going to be possible in real partnership with the many fantastic public initiatives in this region and nationally.”

The launch of the new body follows the 18-month long West Midlands Screen Bureau Project which was funded by the BFI. Recommendations were published in the Clusters Development Plan, which included included setting up a screen industry such as Create Central, establishing a strategic approach to new infrastructure such as studios, hubs and flexible spaces, Screen skills training and development as well as networks to help the industry work together on joint projects and other initiatives.

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