Funding partnership set to boost investment in Welsh creative talent

The Welsh Government  and Channel 4 today (Thursday September 27) announced investment in a 12 month funding partnership to bolster Channel 4’s Alpha Fund, specifically supporting the development of creative output from Welsh based producers and suppliers.

Both the Welsh Government and Channel 4 have each pledged a £100,000 investment to the broadcaster’s Alpha Fund. It supports the best creative ideas from new starts-ups, new creative talent, new companies and grass roots innovation, enhancing creativity and innovation within the creative industries across the UK – and in this case specifically in Wales.

Welcoming the strategic partnership with Channel 4, Welsh Government Business Minister Edwina Hart said: “The commercial media environment is extremely competitive which is why I welcome this partnership with Channel 4 which will provide a great opportunity to support the creative industry sector in Wales and encourage and promote Welsh creative talent.

“The funding agreement will bolster the amount of support available to Welsh creative companies applying to the Alpha Fund with the overarching aim of directly increasing the number of Channel 4 commissions secured by Welsh independent production companies and digital agencies.”

Media Project Manager Ian Mackenzie heads up talent spotting and development in Wales and leads on commissioning content and ideas through the Alpha Fund.  In 2012 to date, Ian has commissioned 10 creative projects via the Alpha Fund in Wales, three of which have gone to full commission with Channel 4.

Ian said: “It’s great to be able to increase our commitment to exciting new creative companies and ideas here in Wales, in partnership with Welsh Government and I look forward to working towards many more exciting commissions in the months ahead.”

Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity at Channel 4, heads up a team of Media Project Managers who are hard-wired into creative communities across the UK, often in advance of commissioning editors.

Stuart said: “Channel 4 is always looking for imaginative partnerships that can bring talent to the network. This initiative reflects our belief that new and existing talent is emerging in Wales that we wish to work with on a regular basis.”

Channel 4 also announced today its latest commission to come via The Alpha Fund, Tattooed Britain from Welsh producer, Rondo Media. This one hour film explores the world of tattoos – the artists, the reasons why people have them and what happens when they regret them. From a drunken dare to tattoo addictions, this film seeks to discover what people’s tattoos say about their lives.

Other recent Welsh projects commissioned through the Alpha Fund include Plant Detectives , a new six x 30min produced by Cwmni Da based in North Wales while Welsh indie Boom Pictures contributed hugely to one of Channel 4’s biggest on screen successes in recent years with their production of 40 episodes of That Paralympic Show broadcast in the build-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games Gareth Rees, MD Boomerang said: “Boomerang is proud to have played such a big part in Channel 4’s build-up to the Paralympic games and welcomes the continued focus and investment by Channel 4 in the Welsh creative industry.”