Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland, has announced its portfolio of Regularly Funded Organisations for 2015 – 2018. The Centre for the Moving Image in Edinburgh, which runs Edinburgh International Film Festival, home of the McLaren Award for British Animation, gets a substantial uplift, as does Glasgow Film Theatre, home of Glasgow’s Film, Youth and Shorts festivals.
Creative Scotland has also published On Screen, its film strategy for 2014-2017. And refreshingly, animation is right in there. In contrast to England, where Arts Council England and the BFI have shelved plans to develop a policy position for animation, Creative Scotland acknowledges the need “to develop and produce more films (documentaries, features, animation and artists’ films)” and prioritises “support for and commitment to Scotland’s production community, in particular documentary-making and animation, through sourcing increased funding for production.”
The BFI and Arts Council England are commissioning research on video games to assess the case for “public intervention”.
The study will consider “not only the economic case for additional support for video games, but also the case for video games to receive funding as an art form or significant cultural form in themselves.”
This may certainly be a good thing in itself. But it casts doubt on the claim by outgoing Chief Executive of ACE, Alan Davey, that they are “committed to supporting animation” if they are now considering putting money into games when they’ve shelved their commitment to develop a policy for animation (…a significant cultural form…in itself…!).
The BFI Aardman Animation Development Lab, launched on 3 October, will offer support and professional, hands-on experience to emerging talent with a passion for creating animated family films. With £1,000,000 of Lottery funding, it will provide funding for up to two years, to three filmmakers or filmmaker teams (writers, directors, producers) to develop their projects with dedicated development support through the Lab.
The programme was flagged in the BFI’s Film Forever five year plan, announced in 2012, although Aardman’s involvement didn’t seem explicit at the time. As we said back then, three teams over two years doesn’t seem a lot, but more of a concern for AAUK members might be that the model seems to simply replicate the live action development model and also suggests that Aardman is the only show in town (or the UK..) for animated features. As AAUK knows…our members include innovative and capable studios who are already nurturing UK animation writing and directing talent, but are effectively excluded from this programme.
[A small group of AAUK members met with the BFI Film Fund back in 2012, and AAUK was contacted as part of a consultation on animated feature development – but that was after the Film Forever announcement, and we’re not aware of any other consultation with our part of the animation sector by either BFI or Arts Council England. If they’ve been in touch with any members, we’d love to hear about the discussions..]