£2m fund aims to attract more blockbuster movie-makers to Merseyside

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has launched the LCR Production Fund which it is hoped will result in more filming taking place across the city region. Tony McDonough reports

Foyle's War
An episode of TV drama Foyle’s War being shot in Liverpool city centre. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Liverpool is already one of the most popular locations in the UK for television and film crews and now a new £2m fund is looking to attract even more.

In a first for a UK city region the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has launched the LCR Production Fund which it is hoped will result in more filming taking place across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens.

It will invite applications from local, national and international production companies to bid for a maximum investment of £500,000 per proposal. The fund is aimed at small and large projects ranging from feature films and TV dramas, right through to scripted comedies and animations.

Experienced producers

There is an emphasis on working with experienced producers with a substantial production budget. The Fund has been provided by the Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund, which aims to promote economic growth in the region.

In order to meet the criteria for the funding, the projects must use the city region as a location (for all or part of the project), there must be a focus on employing local people and they are encouraged to use local businesses, such as hotels where the cast and crew will stay during their time in the region.

Liverpool Film Office, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary, will prioritise projects which have strong creative and commercial attachments, and can shine a spotlight on the profile of Liverpool and the city region.

Top location

Hundreds of films, TV shows, advertisements and other productions use Merseyside as a location every year. Hollywood films made here include Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, In the Name of the Father, Chariots of Fire and Captain America: The First Avenger, and TV dramas include Foyle’s War, Broken and hit BBC show, Peaky Blinders, which was filmed in Liverpool city centre, Crosby Beach and Port Sunlight in Wirral.

Over the past few years Liverpool has been the double for some of the world’s biggest cities including London, New York, Moscow, Chicago, Paris, Rome and Belfast.

Liverpool Film Office is aiming to buck the UK trend which has seen a decline in UK regional production funding due to a lack of EU investment. To help manage the fund, the office has brought in industry expert, Chris Moll.

A well-respected producer and senior executive, Mr Moll has worked in the sector for more than 30 years. His many producer credits include the recent BAFTA-nominated The Girl with All The GiftsLady Macbeth and the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit adventure The Wrong Trousers.  

He also has first-hand experience of filming in the Liverpool having been an executive producer on the critically acclaimed films Nowhere Boy and Of Time and The City. Chris will oversee the fund’s investments and work closely with Liverpool Film Office team to provide a fully-integrated offer to supported productions.

Chris Moll
Film producer Chris Moll will help manage the LCR Production Fund

 

Key criteria

The applicants which meet the key criteria will be then be reviewed by an Investment Advisory Panel which will consist of local and national figures from the TV and film industry and representatives from Liverpool Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership. 

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “This innovative project sees Liverpool once again pushing boundaries and working in a collaborative way which will see a real impact in terms of jobs being created and skills being developed.”

And city region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, added: “By attracting even more productions to film here in our city region we can help to develop the kind of creative ecosystem that delivers highly-skilled jobs for local people, and opportunities for local businesses to grow.”

The fund is open now and further information can be found by clicking here.

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