The BBC has announced the 50 UK companies supported through this year’s Small Indie Fund.
Launched in 2020, the £1m Fund supports the growth of small independent production companies with turnovers below £10m across Drama, Entertainment, Comedy, Factual and Daytime.
The initiative was designed to help boost the strength of UK production in the context of global competition with a strong focus on companies with diverse leadership and producers based outside London.
Three quarters of this year’s small indies are based in the Nations and English Regions, and half of them have diverse leadership. The successful companies receive a range of support packages including strategic investment, a BBC commissioning editor mentor and development deal to help them grow.
Helen Blenkinsop, Head of Commissioning Supply, says : “The small indie fund enables us to back companies who have brilliant British stories to tell across all four Nations and help create the next generation of on and off screen talent. Companies like these are the lifeblood of the UK’s creative industry. Last year’s fund led to dozens of ambitious commissions – and we have high hopes of this year’s companies.”
Commissions from the 20/21 Small Indie Fund cohort include Made Up In Belfast (10 x 30) from Northern Ireland based Afro-mic. Afro-mic were supported by the Factual Commissioning team last year, and have grown their slate winning support from the Entertainment Commissioning team this year.
Emma-Rosa Dias, Managing Director at Afro-Mic, says: “It’s been an absolute delight working with our Commissioning mentors Clare Mottershead and Beejal Patel, and we have been blown away with the generous amount of support and insight they’ve shared with us. Our newly commissioned series has been a dream to develop together – it’s full of life, colour and chaos, and is proudly Northern Irish.
Milk and Honey used support from the Fund to hire an experienced development exec who helped win significant series commissions, Black Art Matters for BBC Two, and a five part series for BBC One. These two commissions are allowing them to support the next generation of filmmaking talent, with Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic directors making their first primetime BBC Two hours.
Lucy Pilkington, Managing Director, Milk and Honey, says: “We are thrilled to be a Small Indie Fund company again in 2022. The Small Indie Fund has been central to our growth, both financially with much needed development support, as well as fantastic commissioner and business affairs input from the BBC. We look forward to collaborating on more ground-breaking television”
Derry-based indie Alleycats have gone on to receive a number of commissions including The Fast and the Farmer(ish) for BBC Three. Welsh indie Cardiff Productions were commissioned for Beauty and the Bleach on BBC Two; and Black Voices also for BBC Two and Scottish indie Firecrest have made Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming for BBC Two along with other titles.
Leeds based, female run indie Duck Soup were supported by Drama in 20/21 and have recently had a peak time Drama series commissioned. Bekki Wray Rogers, Founder, Duck Soup says : “We cannot begin to describe how helpful the Small Indie Fund has been to us. The barriers to growing a production company in the North of England are immense and the BBC’s SIF has helped make this possible both with much needed financial help and dedicated time to develop meaningful relationships with commissioners. Ultimately for us this has started to pay off in commissions. We have so much love for the BBC for supporting us and in particular supporting us through Covid. Without them we could not have survived.”
Comedy supported Fully Focused and their new series PRU is currently in production.
Leah Henry, producer, Fully Focussed says:”Fully Focused Productions are really proud to have been supported by BBC Comedy and the Small Indie Fund. The fund has allowed us to focus on growth and development as an emerging Indie, we’re super grateful for the opportunity and excited for what the future holds!”
Walk on Air
Oxford Films (Scotland base)
Two Rivers Media
Bohemia Film – SW
Button Down – Yorkshire
Clockwork Films – Leeds
Comedy Hothouse – North East
Cornered Tiger- Midlands
Daddy’s SuperYacht – North East/London
Factual Fiction – Yorkshire
Indefinite Films – Bristol
King of Sunshine – Manchester
Middle Child – North East base
Ossian/Enchanted Isle – Scotland/NE
Peggy Pictures – Manchester
Portopia – Midlands
Rockerdale Studios – North
Saffron Cherry – Manchester
Spark Media – Suffolk
Super Best Quality Video – Bristol
The Connected Set – Brighton
TwentySix03- North East base
Milk and Honey
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