Liverpool Film Office allocates funding in response to Covid-19 crisis

The city is a major international production hub that frequently doubles for other locales 

By Nia Daniels 28 Jul 2020

Liverpool Film Office allocates funding in response to Covid-19 crisis

Liverpool Film Office has revealed the first tranche of projects to have successfully secured backing from its Film & TV Development Fund. 

The resource was launched as a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis, using funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

More than £158,000 of funding has been allocated to a mix of established local producers such as Lime Pictures, Hurricane Films and Leopard Pictures, as well as work from newer female and BAME-led companies such as Pencil Trick Productions and Redbag Pictures.

Local prodco Hurricane Films, best-known for feature films, will branch into television with Liverpool-set horror series 12 Canning Square, written by Nick Saltrese. Also on the slate is The Last Date, a follow-up to The Last Bus, by Joe Ainsworth.  

Liverpool-based company Heroic is working with Blue Bear Film & Television to adapt Nizrana Farook’s acclaimed debut novel The Girl Who Stole an Elephant into an animated TV series with backing from Liverpool Film Office. Helen Blakeman will adapt. 

Blakeman commented: “As I enter the sixth and final series of my BBC Drama, Hetty Feather, I’m really excited to dive into an entirely new field with an animated adventure. The Development Fund has enabled Heroic to realise a long-held ambition to grow our own slate of imaginative screen content here in the City Region.”

YA female football-themed drama Lily is another drama that has won funding. It comes from Pencil Trick Productions and Lizzie Nunnery. 

And Sefton-based Redbag Pictures’ producer Barrington Paul Robinson is assembling a slate of BAME-led projects including upcoming theatre writer/director Nathan Powell’s comedy-drama feature film Belly Full, set in and around a Caribbean takeaway. 

Robinson said: “The Development Fund’s support shows how heavily committed Liverpool Film Office and the LCR Combined Authority are to supporting a diverse range of indigenous creative talent.”

Other Liverpool-based talent under commission through the fund include writer/directors Helen Walsh (The Violators) and Daniel Fitzsimmons (Native), both of whom are developing second feature films; documentarian Martin Wallace and TV writer Roanne Bardsley (Hollyoaks, Free Rein).   

Chris Moll, fund advisor for the LCR Film & TV Development Fund, added: “The awards announced today demonstrate the breadth and depth of talent in the Liverpool City Region’s screen sector. 

“It also shows a determination to face down the challenges posed by Covid-19 and to bring forward a pipeline of new content that can create jobs and investment for local crew and businesses as production resumes over the coming months. 

The Fund remains open until 30 September and we continue to welcome approaches, particularly from regionally based writers looking to forge new collaborations, and from producers committed to developing creative talent from the BAME, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities.” 

Liverpool is a major international production hub, with grand civic architecture that easily doubles for other locales. In 2019, the Liverpool Film Office recorded 1,750 filming days, generating £17.2 million for the local economy.

High-profile projects such as Peaky Blinders, The Crown, Tin Star and Das Boot have all utilised the city’s film-friendly offering in recent years. 

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