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U.K. Regional Production Fund Secures $12.3 Million in EU Money

Europe Peaky Blinders - H 2013
Robert Viglasky
"Peaky Blinders," a Screen Yorkshire funded project

Screen Yorkshire, which runs Britain's largest regional production investment vehicle and has attracted high-profile BBC productions, will pump the cash into movie, TV, games and digital projects.

LONDON – Screen Yorkshire, the U.K. entertainment industry public production fund, has secured $12.3 million (£7.5 million) in financing from the European Regional Development Fund. Screen Yorkshire is known for attracting high-profile BBC productions. 

The funds from ERDF, which was established by the European Commission, will be channeled into movie, TV, games and digital production, Screen Yorkshire said. The EU contribution matches last year's funding. 

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Private investments to match the ERDF money will be secured on a project by project basis.

Screen Yorkshire boasts investments in high-end dramas, including Peaky Blinders, created by Steven Knight and starring Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill, and The Great Train Robbery from writer Chris Chibnall, starring Luke Evans and Jim Broadbent.

Also on Screen Yorkshire's investment list to date is Death Comes to Pemberley, written by Juliette Towhidi and based on P.D. James’ best-selling novel. The project was directed by Daniel Percival and stars Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell Martin.

Since the launch of its Yorkshire Content Fund -- the biggest regional investment fund for production in the U.K. -- nearly two years ago, Screen Yorkshire has invested just shy of $12 million (£7 million) in 18 projects.

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Movie investments include Berlin Film Festival entry '71 starring Jack O'Connell, and Get Santa, written and directed by Christopher Smith (Severance), starring Broadbent and Rafe Spall for Ridley Scott's Scott Free London.

Screen Yorkshire was one of the regional agencies that chose not to fold into Creative England when the pan-regional body launched in October 2011.

Screen Yorkshire chief executive Sally Joynson said the additional investment, which effectively doubles the capacity of the Yorkshire Content Fund, "is a vote of confidence in Yorkshire, in Screen Yorkshire and the effectiveness of the Yorkshire Content Fund in putting Yorkshire at the heart of production across the U.K. screen industries."

She added: "Over the past two years we have been able to work with established and emerging U.K. producers from across the U.K. as well as those based in Yorkshire to make 18 film and television productions in the region, generating work and training opportunities as well as boosting spend within the local economy. By increasing the level we’re prepared to invest in key projects, we are also now aiming to work with bigger productions which can further grow and create opportunities for Yorkshire."

Origin Pictures chief David Thompson, the former BBC Films head, said the regional fund provides "crucial equity funding in a marketplace where investment is hard to find."

Thompson added: "For producers, the organization is efficient and straightforward to deal with in terms of deal making, with little red tape. As a production base, Yorkshire has a rich pool of locations for both contemporary and period productions, and its skilled and enthusiastic crews are an asset to every production."