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News Report Page 3 of 10
Publication Date:-
News reports located on this page = 3.

₤17 million funding boost for Littlewoods Studios

IN its heyday Littlewoods employed thousands of people, with the local area feeling the impact when its largest employer closed. The new studios is set to recapture this success, helping to regenerate the local area, create jobs and drive investment. According to economic experts Ekosgen, Littlewoods Studios will support up to 3,650 jobs and result in an annual boost of ₤199m (GVA) to the local economy.

Now, Liverpool's Littlewoods Studios has taken a major step forward with a ₤17 million funding commitment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's Strategic Investment Fund, on Friday, 31 July 2020. With the project identified as a key component of the Liverpool City Region's ₤8.8 billion 'Building Back Better' economic recovery plan, published last week, the funding comes via the Government's Getting Building Fund, allocated by the Combined Authority. This initial tranche of ₤11 million forms part of a package potentially worth an overall ₤17 million. The funding also comes just days after the Government announced a ₤500 million insurance fund to kick-start the UK's TV and film industry, which has been stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said:- "Littlewoods Studios is a hugely exciting regeneration project and this funding will ensure we can deliver the studios for the people of Liverpool. With streaming services like Netflix booming during lockdown, there's going to be more demand than ever for studio space. While Liverpool has a blossoming digital and film industry we want to capitalise on filming opportunities and the economic benefits they bring. Littlewoods Studios is going to change all that, providing Hollywood-standard facilities that will complete our world class offer. Now, more than ever, we need to be looking to the future and focusing on major regeneration projects that will deliver highly skilled jobs and investment for the long term."

Jeremy Rainbird at Twickenham said:- "The opportunity to operate Littlewoods Studios and deliver a production hub for Liverpool is an enormous privilege for us. We are delighted to be working alongside Liverpool City Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and CAPITAL&CENTRIC in the delivery of this landmark scheme. Indeed, this is a key strategic opportunity for our parent company Time+Space Studios in its evolution to curate the largest independent family of studios and creative communities in the country. Demand has never been greater for content in the UK and shows no sign of letting up. The future is creative."

The ambitious ₤54 million regeneration project will transform the iconic Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane into the new home for the big and small screen. Having lain derelict for years the building is set to become a world class film and television complex with the UK's oldest film studios, Twickenham, already signed up as the anchor tenant. Working in partnership to deliver the project, Liverpool City Council own the freehold of the building with CAPITAL&CENTRIC owning the long lease.

Adam Higgins, co-founder of Developer, CAPITAL&CENTRIC added that:- "This funding just goes to show what a huge opportunity Littlewoods Studios is. Not only is it a key project within the Liverpool City Region's economic recovery plan, it will deliver long lasting regeneration impacts for generations to come. A project of this scale was always going to be a challenge, but despite the impact of the fire we've had the full support of the City Council and Combined Authority. We know people have been frustrated that things haven't moved more quickly, but we've all been working really hard behind the scenes and with this funding in place we're going to do everything we can to get on site before the end of the year."

Part of the funding will be used by Liverpool City Council to deliver temporary 'pop up' studios to be built on land neighbouring Littlewoods. Scheduled to be operational by the end of the year, these 'pop up' studios will capitalise on current demand for studio space and will enable the City Region to begin to reap the economic benefits of purpose built studio space, in advance of the main development by CAPITAL&CENTRIC.

Liverpool is the most filmed City outside of London, with 1,750 film days recorded in 2019 involving 324 productions including:- Sky Atlantic's Tin Star and Netflix UK's The Irregulars. Liverpool Film Office, the oldest in the UK, is currently administering a ₤2m production fund to attract more filming in the City Region and this week has welcomed back the start of a number of productions.

Lynn Saunders, Head of Liverpool Film Office and LCR Production Fund Manager, commented:- "Liverpool needs permanent sound studios to fully maximise the potential of our Region's film and TV sector. The Littlewoods project is key and when delivered will be an important part of the Region's economic recovery. This money is hugely welcome and the focus of the film office is to ensure the pop up's are fully used. We know the demand is there and once operational they will support the ongoing development of Littlewoods, providing new job opportunities in a hugely exciting and growing industry."

Anchor tenant Twickenham Studios recently reaffirmed its commitment to the project, following news that they are expanding with a ₤50m investment supporting projects across the UK, including their new 85,000 sq.ft campus at Littlewoods. The world renowned Twickenham Studios is famous for its work on movies such as the Oscar winning:- 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Blade Runner,' 'The Italian Job,' 'Gandhi' and more recently:- 'The Martian' and 'Baby Driver.'

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "Our Region has a longstanding role as the country's Cultural Capital and the development of Littlewoods Studios is central to ensuring that we remain that way in the future. Given the economic impact that Corona virus has had on our Region, establishing ourselves as an international hub for film and TV with world class facilities will be a really important string to our bow. We have seen our Region's streets become a key location for filming in recent years, but now we will be able to capitalise on our preeminent position as a worldwide destination offering the whole creative package, driving thousands more jobs and generating millions of pounds for the local economy."

Letter to Editor:- "Bluebells online Fayre supporting The Plaza Community Cinema"

"ON 8 August 2020 we are holding an Online fair for local businesses which was planned to be a fundraiser for  the Plaza Cinema, in Crosby, Waterloo, which is a fantastic community cinema run solely by volunteers. They're just getting ready to re-open and unfortunately last night their premises were vandalised. We are looking to run a raffle to boost funds so if anyone would be willing to donate anything it would be greatly appreciated? If you are not in a position to donate just a share of our event would be fantastic and we would love to see you (virtually at our events) Thanks in advance. For more information please visit our Facebook Page." Kind regards, Susie Bluebell - Founder, Organiser and Director of Bluebell Stalls , Crosby and Formby.

Brand new productions given green light by Liverpool Film Office fund

AN animated adaptation of a critically acclaimed novel is 1 of a tranche of brand new projects to be produced in Liverpool City Region thanks to Liverpool Film Office funding.

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant, by Nizrana Farook, will be brought to life by local BAFTA and Emmy winning writer, Helen Blakeman (Dustbin Baby, Hetty Feather) and her production company Heroic, working in partnership with Blue Bear Film and Television on the project.

It is 1 of 15 projects, so far, to be supported by Liverpool Film Office's Film and TV Development Fund which was set up in response to Covid19, using grants from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's Strategic Investment Fund.

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

Other projects include:-

► Hurricane Films will use the funding to support its 1st foray into TV drama, working with writer Nick Saltrese (A Prayer Before Dawn, Hollyoaks) on the mystery horror series 12 Canning Square. The company is also developing The Last Date, a follow-up to its upcoming feature film release The Last Bus starring Timothy Spall, and also scripted by Joe Ainsworth (Holby City).

► Pencil Trick Productions is co-developing the women's football themed TV drama Lily with Tiger Lily Productions and Liverpool Everyman alumni, Lizzie Nunnery. It is also in early development on Gavin Scott Whitfield's debut feature film Spent Light. The company is a recent recipient of a British Film Institute (BFI) Vision Award for emerging producers.

► Sefton-based Redbag Pictures' producer Barrington Paul Robinson is working with upcoming theatre writer/director Nathan Powell on the comedy-drama feature film Belly Full, set in and around a Caribbean takeaway. Robinson is also part of BFI NETWORK's inaugural Insight programme for emerging producers working towards their debut feature.

Also benefitting from the fund are writer/directors Helen Walsh (The Violators) and Daniel Fitzsimmons (Native) - both are developing second features. Documentarian Martin Wallace and writer Roanne Bardsley (Free Rein, Hollyoaks) will also be able to move forward with their productions as a result of the support.

The 15 companies awarded funding to date and their projects are:-

► Pencil Trick Productions, Spent Light.   ► Crocodile Media, Untitled Documentary.
► Hurricane Films, 12 Canning Square.   ► Nova Inc Film & Television, Reconstructing Ron.
► Dynamo Content, Superheroes of Science.   ► Potboiler Productions, Untitled Feature Film.
► Glasshouse Productions, Detention.   ► Redbag Pictures, Belly Full.
► Leopard Pictures, L17.   ► Lime Pictures, Untitled TV drama.
► Pencil Trick Productions/Tiger Lily, Lily.   ► Clare Coombes Productions, Girl Boy.
► Heroic Books, The Girl Who Stole An Elephant.   ► White Star/Hurricane Films, Brass.
► Hurricane Films, The Last Date.  

Writer Helen Blakeman said:- "As I enter the 6th 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."

Producer Barrington Paul 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."

Chris Moll, Fund Advisor for the LCR Film and TV Development Fund said:- "The awards 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."

For more details about the fund, which will be open until 30 September 2020, visit:- LiverpoolFilmOffice.TV/Development-Fund.

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