Current Animation Forum WM funders, Screen WM has now closed following nine years of support for the screen media industries in the West Midlands, with its responsibilities being passed onto new industry body Creative England.
"The closure of Screen WM follows the coalition government's decision to replace the UK Film Council's support for film-making, which core-funded the regional screen agencies, with funding through the British Film Institute," says Screen WM. "In November 2010 the Minister for the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey [Con], announced that Creative England would be formed to build on the work of the regional screen agencies, becoming operational on 1st October 2011."
Since its formation in 2002, Screen WM has been responsible for supporting, promoting and developing the screen media industries in the West Midlands.
Over the past nine years, it has co-financed 17 feature films, attracting co-investment worth nearly £40 million.
In 2008, the agency launched the first regional hub for Channel 4's 4iP fund, securing a £10 million investment in the West Midlands' digital media sector.
Chair of Screen WM, Dr. Samir Shah said
"Screen WM has been responsible for transforming the filmmaking landscape in the West Midlands, putting the region on the map for feature films such as Atonement as well as attracting major returning drama series including the BBC's primetime drama Hustle, and Jed Mercurio's forthcoming police drama Line of Duty, both of which are currently filming in Birmingham.
"By securing the opportunity to become the first regional hub for Channel 4's 4iP fund, Screen WM helped to position the West Midlands at the forefront of digital media innovation, and has supported many of the leading lights in this sector to develop their own businesses as a result.
"In addition, the agency has supported the development of a vibrant film culture which continues to build new audiences for all types of moving image content both for enjoyment and as tools for learning.
"Since the Creative England announcement, Screen WM's board and senior management team have worked closely with Creative England to ensure a smooth transition, preserving key activity and building on Screen WM's achievements.
"I would like to thank all of the staff at Screen WM for their hard work and dedication in supporting the individuals, companies and organisations that make up the region's screen media industry, and we look forward to seeing the sector go from strength to strength."
Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive of Creative England, said: "Creative England will be officially up and running from next week, and I am looking forward to taking the successes that Screen WM has achieved for the West Midlands industry and building upon them in this new era. I would like to thank Screen WM for helping to make the transfer of film provision as seamless as possible, and we look forward to a new chapter in creative industries support in all the English regions outside London moving forward."
Animation Forum WM is currently into applying for investment from Creative England in order to continue its activities.