Brighton is to take a leading role in the UK’s film industry.
The British Film Institute (BFI) is to open a “talent centre” in the city as part of a £5million plan to boost the industry across the country, The Argus has learnt.
The “unique and innovative” talent hub, to open in the autumn, is being launched by the BFI and national film development agency Creative England (CE).
Brighton and Hove City Council is hunting for office space for the film talent hub and CE bosses are due to visit Brighton in two weeks for viewings.
The council has already joined forces with CE to promote the city as a film location and launched an initiative called Film City with the University of Brighton to bring together its “significant film cluster”
of people and places. It plans to show BFI space at the university’s film archive department and at Lighthouse, Brighton’s agency for film and digital culture.
This week, the BFI and Creative England placed ads in The Guardian to recruit two senior film executives, offering salaries of between £40,000 and £50,000, to “spearhead the establishment and delivery”
of the talent centres as part of the BFI’s upcoming UK-wide Talent Network.
Last year, the BFI launched a multi-million- pound five-year plan to help the British film industry compete more successfully on the global stage.
Talent development is identified as a top priority and there are also plans to establish a film academy for young people.
Donna Close, the council’s cultural project manager, said the move will make Brighton a major player in the British film industry. She said: “It is significant because it will have a wide reach over the whole of the south, making Brighton’s film industry more visible and giving it greater momentum.
“It is about nurturing people whatever stage of their film career they’re at, and about routing them into that career. It will make Brighton the place to be for film.”
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s culture committee, said: “There is a pool of film talent already here in Brighton, and the project Film City has been all about making Brighton a film centre.”
The BFI and Creative England refused to reveal how much money is being pumped into the project or howmany jobs it could generate, but a spokesman for Creative England described the move as “significant”.
He added: “It’s good news for Brighton and a really exciting time for us.”
A spokeswoman for the BFI , which is chaired by former BBC director general Greg Dyke, said the talent centre would focus on developing “emerging talent”
and added that it will be for people in the film industry or who want to go into the industry.
Honor Harger, the artistic director of Lighthouse, in Kensington Street, Brighton, said: “As Brighton’s agency for film and digital culture, Lighthouse applaud the BFI and Creative England’s decision to develop a talent centre in Brighton.”