A new report has found that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have the potential to become a “screen cluster of national significance”.
Titled ‘Catalysing the Cornish Screen Sector,’ the report is produced for Screen Cornwall by Olsberg•SPI and funded by the BFI National Cluster Growth Fund.
It points to the region’s recent successes in domestic independent filmmaking rooted in Cornish heritage – notably Mark Jenkin’s BAFTA-winning 2019 debut Bait and 2022 follow up Enys Men, released this month - coupled with its long-standing popularity for location filming that attracts incoming productions like ITV’s 18-year returning drama Doc Martin and international titles like HBO’s House of the Dragon (2022).
The study also highlighted a skilled and increasing regional pool of crew, an indigenous community of ambitious microbusinesses and physical infrastructure developments set for completion in 2024/5.
The report comes at a time when indigenous Cornish filmmaking, and use of Kernewek (Cornish language), is rising in profile. Edward Rowe’s 2022 writing and directing debut Mab Hudel (pictured) was the first Cornish-language short to be selected for last year’s BFI London Film Festival, and the BBC have just launched 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.
Laura Giles, managing director of Screen Cornwall (pictured above) said: “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. 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.”
Stephanie Marshall, BBC head of content production for the West and South West says: “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.”
Screen Cornwall chair and producer Phillippa Giles added: “At a time of rapid growth in the UK screen economy, this report pinpoints our strengths and the barriers we need to overcome to take the screen sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to the next level. With a diverse range of freelancers and micro-businesses spread across a large geographical area, the role of new virtual and physical hubs in the region will be crucial, as will our links to regional partners across the South West such as Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios.”
You can find the full report at Screen Cornwall here.
Mab Hudel via Palores Productions
Laura Giles via Michael Eddy
House of the Dragon via Ollie Upton/HBO