Memorandum submitted by Sgrîn Film
Sgrîn is the national organisation responsible
for the development of a cultural and industrial strategy for
film, television and new media in Wales. It started its work in
April 1997. Its brief includes the promotion of Welsh film in
general and it is also responsible for the marketing of its own
products, primarily co-production shorts.
Current activities are financed by a mixture
of core funding and project funding raised for that particular
Budgets for Sgrîn shorts schemes include
an element for marketing, including the production of publicity
material, launch events etc.
Marketing activities are restricted by the size
of the budget. The budget does not include sub-titling. Lack of
subtitles is often a stumbling block when promoting films overseas.
Projects promoting Welsh film generally are
funded by raising sponsorship. This year's Wales in Cannes, for
instance, was financed by the WDA, S4C, TAC (the Welsh independent
producers' association) and the three Welsh film commissions.
1. Sgrîn produce
Sgrîn is currently responsible for the
theatrical distribution of 12 short films and one feature. By
the end of the year, the number of shorts will have grown to 25.
Sgrîn is also responsible for overseas sales for 20 of the
shorts. Four of the shorts and the feature were inherited from
the previous body responsible for film and are not now actively
promoted by Sgrîn although we receive the occasional request
to screen them.
Each Sgrîn co-production scheme includes
a distribution policy paper tailor-made to suit its needs. Briefly
our policy is to co-operate fully with British Council Film Department
activities in entering films for overseas film festivals. This
means that the Sgrîn films that have been accepted for the
Council's catalogue are invited to submit applications to festivals
on the Council's list. Sgrîn will also submit any films
not in the catalogue to those festivals.
Where possible, films are premiered at the International
Film Festival of Wales, and are also submitted to other UK festivals.
In addition, a film-maker may request that we submit a film to
a particular overseas festival not on the British Council list,
and we are happy to do this if the budget allows, and to send
to additional festivals that may invite a particular film.
Sgrîn co-productions are also included
in a special Wales Tour of shorts that follows on from the annual
Sgrîn event held in January, Wales Cinema Day.
Overseas sales of Sgrîn co-productions
could add a significant sum to income as well as presenting our
produce to a wider audience. We are very much aware that we must
target key markets specialising in sales of short films and continually
monitor markets and festivals to have an overview of development
in the field.
There is no provision at present for including
expertise in overseas sales within Sgrîn and we have, therefore,
engaged with the private sector to handle overseas sales of our
2. Films from Wales
Sgrîn undertakes to promote Welsh film
at overseas festivals and showcases. We have given ourselves a
wide brief in this field as we regard the promotion of Welsh talent
in all its forms as beneficial to the Welsh economy and cultural
We do not consider that a rigorous definition
of "Welsh Film" would be possible, or indeed advantageous
in our promotional work. We are, for example, happy to promote
the activities of actors, directors and producers in films financed
and produced elsewhere as encouragement to those starting out
in their careers or considering a career in the industry. We should
note, however, that Sgrîn has adopted a definition of "Welsh
Film" for the purposes of funding productions.
Welsh-language films are generallyalmost
exclusivelyindividually distributed and promoted by S4C,
which is also responsible for their overseas sales. Sgrîn,
however, works with S4C to include films in general overseas promotion.
We are also anxious to promote Wales as a location.
We are aware that Hollywood films shot on location in Wales, that
may have no cultural significance for Wales, can boost the Welsh
economy directly and provide employment and experience for our
own film-making talent, an also encourage new interest in the
Other films may generally be perceived to be
"Welsh" although they may have originated elsewhere.
Including these in our promotion work adds to the general profile
of Welsh film.
The promotion of Welsh film is regarded as economically
beneficial to Wales by the Welsh Development Agency, with whom
Sgrîn works closely on many promotional projects.
Film from Wales is promoted in two current projects
and on an ad hoc basis:
Wales in Cannesthis is an
opportunity to promote Welsh-interest projects directly and to
raise the profile of Welsh film generally. It is also an opportunity
to help our young entrepreneurial film-makers to pitch their projects.
We are happy that our activities in Cannes over the last three
years are having an accumulative effect in enhancing our profile
and bringing our work to the attention of individuals and companies
with a specific interest in closer co-operation with us. For Cannes
2000 we produced a 12-page brochure detailing recent Welsh film
Hollywood and Walesthis is
a new project for 2000, aimed mainly at furthering co-production
projects, but with an undoubted promotional role in raising the
profile of Wales as a film-making country. A Sgrin-organised event
was held on 1 March in Los Angeles to coincide with the AFM, with
the emphasis on encouraging WalesUS co-production and co-operation;
Showcasesfrom time to time,
Sgrîn is approached by a particular festival or by a country's
cultural organisation to advise on or to actually organise a programme
of Welsh films. This year, British Council Wales came to us for
help in organising the film element for a National Assembly of
Wales initiative in Lyons. We are invited to supply or suggest
speakers or panel members for the events, which provide additional
opportunities for film promotion. At the moment, Sgrîn is
involved in providing information and advice on Welsh films to
the new Breton TV Channel, TV Breizh. Sgrîn is happy to
respond to these requests where the budget or staff schedules
1. Sgrîn shorts
Sgrîn is anxious to maximise the exposure
of its short films in the market. Sgrîn is considering the
possibility of undertaking this work in-house, and perhaps expanding
activity to include taking on other independent shorts from Wales.
We are also considering the possibility of having
a presence at the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival in February
2001, following the advice of the British Council Film Department.
The visit would enable us to assess the potential for our films.
This would be a new activity, for which there is no budget planning
Sgrîn's new web-site is launched on 5
June. The site includes details of our shorts including contact
details for sales. We would, however, like to maximise the potential
for making use of the web by expanding our shorts section to include
a more detailed catalogue and to include shorts by other Welsh
independents. We are in discussion with the British Council Film
Department about becoming involved also in their planned shorts
Plans for the future include a possible dedicated
site for Films from Wales, in collaboration with the Wales Film
and TV Archive. Any new web-site activities require additional
2. Films from Wales
Responding to developments
There are a number of Welsh-interest feature
projects in the market, in development or in production. In Cannes,
we counted a minimum of 18 such projects. A number of the features
will be released shortly and may provide an ideal opportunity
to hold a promotional event.
We are aware, for instance, that one, two, three
or more Welsh-interest features may be screened at the Toronto
Film Festival in September. We are considering the possibility
of holding a promotional event at the Festival to draw attention
to film-making in Wales.
Two films from Wales have been nominated for
an Oscar in recent years, Sgrîn would like to be in a position
to support any future campaign when the next Oscar nomination
comes to Wales.
We have no overview at present of the geographical
distribution of "take up" for Welsh films. Sgrîn
would like to explore this field in the future. We know that Japan
has welcomed features such as Twin Town and Un Nos Ola
Leuad and requested a programme of Welsh animationrecognised
to be of high quality throughout the world. We would like to consider
targeting Australia and the Far East in particular.
Building on its strategic plan, Sgrîn
will be taking advantage of further opportunities that may arise
in the future, and will be monitoring the progress of Welsh-interest
films. Our approach to the question of general film promotion
must be flexible; funding constraints can limit long-term planning.
The ideal solution would be to be able to access a film promotion
fund so that we can respond as and when the need arises.
Sgrîn plans to attend Cannes and the American
Film Market again in 2001. We would like to see an expansion of
the British Pavilion in Canneswhich has proved to be a
good base for our presence to dateto provide more "brandable"
space for participants. Plans for the American Film Market are
under discussion but will include a Hollywood-Wales event as in
Future plans include a website catalogue of
recent and current Welsh films. (See section above.)
Sgrîn will be working in close co-operation
with the National Assembly for Wales, the British Council Film
department, British Council Wales and Wales Arts International
to consider the opportunities for showcasing Welsh films. Discussions
will include taking advantage of any planned cultural exchanges
and considering the question of targeting particular countries.
A new request has been received to organise a showcase in Milan
in November 2000.
Sgrîn has played a key part in raising
the profile of Welsh Film. Its work has been applauded by the
National Assembly. It is difficult to quantify the economic and
cultural benefit of its promotional work in the first three years
of its existence, but it's clear that momentum achieved so far
must be maintained and that there is a great potential for the
expansion of activities.
1. Sgrîn would welcome the chance
to access funding to take advantage of opportunities to promote
Welsh film in overseas festivals as they arise and to organise
showcases at overseas markets. More particularly, we propose to
target the Toronto Film Festival this year.
2. Sgrîn would welcome an initiative
to monitor the effectiveness and development of overseas film
3. Sgrîn would welcome the opportunity
to act on behalf of other independent film-makers in Wales in
the promotion of their films. An increase in our workload is inevitable
as the catalogue of Sgrîn-produced films grows, and Sgrîn
would welcome the opportunity to expand its marketing department
to include a staff member with responsibility for the distribution
and sales of short films. Sgrîn would welcome training initiatives
in the field.
4. Sgrîn wishes to expand its activities
in targeting the Cannes Film Festival and the American Film Market.
Sgrîn would wish to see an expansion of the British pavilion
in Cannes to include a more easily branded area for our activities.
This would give us the opportunity to promote all relevant aspects
of the work of Sgrîn and its sponsors and the film commissions
5. We propose to organise a presence a the
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in February.
We would welcome the chance to co-operate with the British Council
film Department to have a representative present at the Festival
to get an overview of the potential for our short films, in addition
to the work of a sales agent acting on our behalf.
6. Sgrîn proposes to publish a comprehensive
catalogue of its films both on the web and in folder format as
a marketing tool to target overseas buyers at markets abroad and
in the UK. Sgrîn will also collaborate fully with the British
Council Film department in its plans to establish a dedicated
website for marketing films.
7. We would like to research the significance,
if any, of an analysis of the geographical variation of uptake
of films from Wales. Initially we would explore the advantages
of extending our targeting to Australia and the Far East.
8. Sgrîn would welcome the opportunity
to provide sub-titles for overseas showcases and other screenings
as the need arises.
13 February 2001