TV groups invest in Welsh film school

November 23, 2001

The International Film School Wales at the University of Wales College, Newport, has secured two years of core funding from HTV, the BBC and S4C.

Among the projects to benefit will be a short course programme offering the first comprehensive media training package in Wales.

The school boosted its profile recently when it won an award from the International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) for outstanding achievement in media training. The association is the largest body of its kind in Europe with almost 1,000 members drawn from film, video, digital media and live events.

Welsh Assembly minister for culture Jenny Randerson and minister for education Jane Davidson attended the awards ceremony in Newport.

The film school's director Clive Myer noted that Newport had produced some talented film-makers, including Kirk Jones, whose Waking Ned grossed £35 million at the box office, and Justin Kerrigan, whose Human Traffic won 11 international awards. Former student Allan Niblo produced the acclaimed South West Nine , currently on general release.

Mr Myer said: "The film school is where we can harness the creative energy in Wales. The media industry in Wales is bigger than the country's traditional industries and the ministers are taking this very seriously.

"We aim to work with the corporate visual communications industry to produce the next generation of film and television programme-makers and to help develop a skilled workforce for the cultural industries."

Welsh capital Cardiff has a number of leading corporate production companies and facilities houses that contribute to the United Kingdom's £2.8 billion corporate visual communications industry. Wayne Drew, chief executive of the ICVA, said: "Wales is a centre of creativity and excellence for film and television production and has an impressive corporate media industry. But it needs the International Film School to ensure such skills are fostered and to ensure this talent-bank plays its part in re-energising the media industries."

The school's MA course has attracted applicants from the United States, India, Korea, Poland, Germany, France and Denmark.

Mr Myer said: "Such an international body of students participating in the development of the national film culture is tremendously beneficial to Wales and opens a window on Welsh talent to the wider world."

The Welsh Development Agency will be funding a research and development officer to provide an overview of the economic and cultural benefits that the media industry brings to the Welsh population. The film school plans to establish itself as a research and conference centre for new media.

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