Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly screen industry on the rise
Following a new lottery-funded report by Screen Cornwall and BFI, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly shows an increasing potential in the screen sector. On it’s way to becoming a “screen cluster of national significance”, the region’s impending success is credited to the recent successes in domestic independent filmmaking rooted in Cornish heritage and a skilled and growing regional crewbase. Recent projects to film in Cornwall include HBO's House of the Dragon and Hallmark's The Presence of Love.
“The ambition for sustainable growth for the screen sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly builds on our popularity with production companies and audiences alike, as well as a growing bank of crew and exciting creative talent,” commented Laura Giles, Managing Director of Screen Cornwall. “We have a rich cultural heritage with a minority language that is rising in profile on screen - Enys Men is particularly significant; a fully indigenous critically-acclaimed feature film developed and produced by a Cornish company.”
The report titled Catalysing the Cornish Screen Sector was produced for Screen Cornwall by Olsberg•SPI and funded by the BFI National Clusterr Growth Fund. This report comes at a time when indigenous Cornish filmmaking and the use of Kernewek in film, narratives is attracting a substantial audience. Edward Rowe’s 2022 writing and directorial debut Mab Hudel is just one example of this, going on to be selected for last year’s BFI London Film Festival. In addition the BBC’s recent launch of their first content in the language on the iPlayer with a collection of four shorts from Cornwall Council and Screen Cornwall’s FylmK talent development scheme is yet another step in the direction for better exposure.
Stephanie Marshall, BBC Head of Content Production for the West and South West said: “Cornwall’s screen sector is distinctive both within our region and nationally due to its strong Celtic heritage and cultural links, minority language and perspective on the world as an outward looking peninsula with a worldwide diaspora. The BBC is delighted to be bringing these high quality short films to a broader audience and supporting indigenous production and talent development at the same time.”
Many factors have contributed to this recent revelation of Cornwall’s screen industry performance, including around 290 highly experienced professionals who have been able to hone their craft working on projects like ITV’s Doc Martin and Sky’s Delicious. It was also reported that more than 270 companies were found to be active across sectors such as film, television, video production, equipment hire and digital games, with 65 falling under film and tv and 35 under video games companies ranging from startups to larger companies like AntiMatter Games, True Players and Dull Dude.
Harriet Finney, the BFI’s Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Corporate and Industry Affairs, added: “Allowing our sectors to remain confined to one part of the UK limits their potential for growth and denies those across the country from the opportunity to benefit from – and contribute to – a truly diverse and flourishing screen industry. We’re delighted to see Cornwall as a rural region leading the way.”
Recommended for improvement in the report was the level of accessibility in the sector for those who are situated in more socio-economically deprived areas within the rurally-dispersed region. To combat this, there are a number of studio and workspace plans laid out in the report, including ASONE Perform business park in St Merryn near Padstow, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2024, as well as The Hive screen and digital hub in Truro set for opening in 2025.
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