EM Media sees fall in inward investment

U.K. regional screen agency feeling the pinch

LONDON -- The aftershock of the writers' strike and the global recession continues to be felt in the film sector here with figures from screen agency EM Media posting a slump in inward investment.

The agency said Thursday the fall in the East Midlands area of the U.K. is in line with U.K.-wide figures published by the U.K. Film Council earlier this year showing a 23% fall from the record high of 2007/08.

Despite the slump, EM Media said film and digital content production brought £16 million ($25.5 million) inward investment into the region's local economy.

EM Media is one of the U.K.'s regional media funding bodies and is very active in movie support. The region accounts for 18% of local British shoots, a substantial portion outside of the capital, London, for a region that has no permanent physical studio facility.

Publishing its annual review for 2008/09, EM Media said it has invested £1.4 million ($2.2 million) across a myriad of projects, including an undisclosed amount for actress Samantha Morton's directorial debut "The Unloved" which saw the actress return to her home town of Nottingham.

Other projects shooting in the region and benefiting from EM Media support include the debut from writer/director Nick Whitfield entitled "Skeletons."

EM Media previously also co-financed the first six films from Warp X, the low-budget digital studio jointly backed by the U.K. Film Council and Film4, the broadcaster Channel 4's filmmaking arm.