Releasing the potential of the North Sea Region's film industry

North Sea Screen Partners (NSSP), led by Dundee City Council in Scotland and involving partners from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK, aimed to tap into the potential of the North Sea Region's screen and media industry. 

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© North Sea Screen Partners © North Sea Screen Partners

" NSSP was a fantastic opportunity to develop business relationships with our partners across the North Sea Region. We exchanged expertise and best practice and made a significant contribution towards the development of the region’s screen production sector and global promotion to help increase the level of incoming projects. NSSP was innovative in providing a platform for trans-national collaboration and creating an affordable facility for ‘Hollywood’ style visual effects and even being part of an Academy Award winning movie, “In a Better World” directed by Susanne Bier. We all remain hugely grateful for the support of the EU without which the project would not have been possible. "

Julie Craik, FifeScreen and TayScreen, Screen Office for the Councils of Angus, Dundee City, Fife and Perth and Kinross

NSSP established a core network of over 20 organisations and a wider network of companies encompassing more than 20 000 people. The networks comprised partners and related organisations, investors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and worked to promote the region, share knowledge and support inward and local film production.

The project set up a business development platform for film, television and media companies and performed cluster mapping to increase production and attract investment. It improved post-production services by creating a visual effects research laboratory and network, and strengthened the region's skills base.

Other achievements include fostering co-production and helping independent companies to make films such as the digital innovation shorts premièred at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival. Over 150 networking events helped SMEs to improve business knowledge and funding use, and form partnerships.

A fast-growing sector

Moving image production is the fastest-growing sector in the creative industries and an important driver of innovation and growth. In the North Sea Region, the sector faces challenges such as a preponderance of micro-businesses, lack of economies of scale, pre- and post-production services, coordination and finance, fragmentation along national lines and difficulties in retaining talent in peripheral areas.

To tackle this, NSSP brought together education and training bodies, local authorities, SMEs and film agencies dealing with funding, marketing and business development. These partners worked to promote the region and its film sector through a coherent marketing strategy aimed at encouraging inward investment, to develop entrepreneurship and business clusters in order to create economies of scale and increase competitiveness, and to train and retain people with key skills.

A focus on improving post-production services was a key element in strengthening the industry's infrastructure in the North Sea Region. The project also looked to exploit the region's locations and the lower entry costs into the film industry brought about by the advent of new digital technologies with a view to harnessing untapped potential.

A higher profile for the North Sea Region

As a result, the profile of the North Sea Region as a hub for screen production, post-production and location filming has been enhanced within the global media sector, with potential knock-on effects for tourism, inward investment and economic development. NSSP has worked with tourism and economic development agencies on strategies to maximise the benefits of filming at locations in the region and has developed mobile screen tourism applications.

International staff and student exchanges, work experience and master classes were another part of NSSP, which has also compiled a study on screen and media production courses in the region to feed into course development, comparison and benchmarking, and mutual recognition of qualifications. In addition, the uScreens online learning resource on screen production for young people of all abilities developed under NSSP provides a platform for cooperative projects and learning, and is used by schools and colleges.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “North Sea Screen Partners” is EUR 5 910 474, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 767 894 through the “North Sea Region” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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