Creative Europe programme launches in the UK

The BFI and the British Council join forces to deliver Creative Europe Desk UK, with €1.46bn boost for audio-visual, cultural and creative industries.

Creative Europe, the European Commission’s seven-year funding programme for the cultural and creative sectors, launches in the UK today with 9% more funding now available to creative businesses across Europe.  

Creative Europe, which came into force on 1 January 2014, has a €1.46 billion budget over seven years. It combines the European Commission’s existing Culture and MEDIA Programmes and is expected to benefit over 300,000 cultural professionals and reach 100 million European citizens. It will support the distribution of over 1,000 European films in 2,500 cinemas and will translate 5,500 books.

The new Creative Europe programme features a new bank guarantee, the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Fund, which is set to be introduced in 2016. The fund is worth €121m and will see Creative Europe underwrite bank loans to creative businesses, helping to unlock private finance to support the continued growth of the creative industries and to educate the financial sector about the benefits of backing creativity.

Creative Europe will be delivered in the UK through a wide-ranging new partnership between the BFI and the British Council. Creative Europe Desk UK is a new information and advice service to promote Creative Europe in the UK, replacing the former MEDIA Desk UK and Antennae and the UK Cultural Contact Point. Creative Europe Desk UK, under the joint leadership of the BFI and British Council, brings together partners from across the UK including Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government, and will see the establishment of a dedicated information office in each of the UK’s nations, and in one of the English regions outside of London.  

The UK audio-visual industries benefitted from funding worth just over €100m through the MEDIA programme which ran until 2013. Around €50m supported UK companies directly, including production companies (Ruby Films, Sixteen Films, Recorded Picture Company and many others), distributors, cinemas, training courses, markets and festivals. The other €50m supported the cinema releases of British films across Europe, with examples including €1.5m for The Iron Lady, €1.3m for Slumdog Millionaire and €1m for The King’s Speech. 

For the Culture Programme 273 UK organisations were involved in 344 projects receiving almost €128m in total. Recipients include the Take Five Europe scheme to develop the international careers of emerging jazz musicians – led by Serious Events in the UK, with partners in France, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. The number of UK organisations participating in projects has increased by 50% since the programme started in 2007.

Michel Magnier, Director for Culture and Creativity at the European Commission and Brian Holmes, Interim Director for the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EAEAC), will formally launch Creative Europe at a special event this afternoon to an audience of industry professionals from the UK’s audio-visual, cultural and creative sectors. 
Michel Magnier, Director for Culture and Creativity at the European Commission, comments:

UK filmmakers, artists and cultural professionals deservedly enjoy recognition from audiences and peers worldwide, and UK cultural organisations are sought-after partners in creative European collaborations — bringing expertise and inspiration, while challenging assumptions and the status quo. The UK’s audio-visual industry brings to Europe a wealth of talent and professionalism, with filmmakers who are cherished across the continent and indeed the world, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Clio Barnard to mention just a few. I am excited to see how Creative Europe can play its role in supporting these vibrant sectors and help to inspire fruitful partnerships and collaboration with professionals across the rest of Europe, and beyond.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, comments:

Supporting and promoting British talent and companies internationally and bringing a diverse range of World and European cinema to British audiences are key priorities for the BFI, and Creative Europe will play an important role in helping us to achieve these aims. The UK is a leader in creativity, and our creative industries are recognised as key engines for economic growth. We’re excited to enter into this new partnership with the British Council to help ensure that entrepreneurial professionals across the UK can access and benefit from support through Creative Europe, to help UK film, culture and creativity continue to thrive.

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, said:

We are delighted to be partnering with the BFI to lead the delivery of Creative Europe desks for the UK. We share the European Commission’s view that international exchange and collaboration in the arts and the creative industries supports the prosperity of the sector, while promoting understanding between cultures. As well as providing advice and support to organisations in the UK, we will be able to use our global network of offices to help broker effective European and international partnerships.

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