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£1.3 million European funding boost to support region's film and TV companies

Issue has been a bone of contention for business and community leaders in the city, with broadcasting investment far below rival regions, and the likes of BBC show Peaky Blinders being based in Birmingham but largely filmed in Liverpool and Yorkshire

Line of Duty was filmed in Birmingham

The region has received more funding to support independent film and television production to build on productions like hit BBC series Line of Duty.

The West Midlands Production Fund has been bolstered with £1.3 million of extra European cash to encourage more film-making and television production in the region.

This issue has been a bone of contention for business and community leaders in the city, with broadcasting investment far below rival regions, and the likes of BBC show Peaky Blinders being based in Birmingham but largely filmed in Liverpool and Yorkshire.

The West Midlands Production Fund makes investments from £100 to £500,000 in television and film projects, which must be matched with private backing.

The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The scheme, first set up in 2004, aims to support the production of major feature films and TV dramas in the region.

Communities Minister Baroness Stowell said it had brought production work to the local area, creating jobs and opportunities for local people and raising the area’s profile.

Successes have included the 2012 Christmas crowd-pleaser film Nativity 2, starring David Tennant, which was produced by Coventry-based company Mirrorball Films. In the same year the BBC series Line of Duty, which was shot in and around Birmingham, achieved high audience figures and critical acclaim.

Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders
 

Baroness Stowell said: “The Government is actively supporting innovative local film-making, which I hope will support local jobs and attract further inward investment and tourism.

Projects like Dancing on the Edge, a BBC Two drama series, and Channel 4 documentary One Mile Away have both been supported through the West Midlands Production Fund.

“The award-winning feature One Mile Away, co-funded by Channel 4 and Creative England, documented an attempt to bring an end to a 20-year war between two Birmingham gangs. The One Mile Away social enterprise was founded by former gang members to discourage young people from gang life, as a result of the documentary.

“The media and production talent and skills that exist need to be used to their full potential and it’s through funds such as this that we can ensure this happens. I am really pleased that we have been able to provide funding to ensure this valuable fund continues.”

Birmingham and the wider Midlands has fallen behind the likes of Salford, Cardiff and Bristol in recent years in terms of BBC broadcasting investment, with the loss of Pebble Mill and the factual unit.

The BBC did, however, signal plans to create dozens of new jobs as part of a digital focus in the city late last year.

Chris Moll, Creative England’s Head of Film, said the new funding was a boost to production in the region.

He said: “Creative England is delighted to be supporting the local area through delivery of the West Midlands Production Fund, which not only supports local filmmakers but generates jobs and brings money into the region. We’re looking forward to seeing new and exciting projects being developed.”              

 
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