The first ever Bristol and Bath Screen Summit, showcasing the city region as a leading global production community, took place in Bristol on 2 and 3 November.
The UWE Bristol event, hosted by broadcaster Carol Vorderman and The Outlaws’ Gamba Cole, celebrated the significant cultural and economic contribution of the screen industry to the area, as well as exploring the action needed to further boost its development and expansion.
The creation of the Screen Summit was a key recommendation from research by UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC); which found that while the screen industry in the city-region is booming, more could be done to overcome the political and economic challenges its facing.
Held over two days at Arnolfini, the Summit featured a series of compelling panel discussions with programme makers behind some of the world’s biggest brands. Speakers reflected on current issues but also on the city region’s future as a screen centre: how the industry can become more sustainable, reduce its carbon footprint, improve its inclusive talent pipeline and secure more funding.
Opening the event, Lynn Barlow, UWE Bristol’s Assistance Vice-Chancellor Creative and Cultural Industries Engagement, said: “We’re delighted to launch this inaugural Screen Summit and I’d like to thank the highly-respected industry experts who have come together to consider the future of the sector.
“While the industry is bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels and there are exciting developments underway, including the opening of the Bottle Yard’s three new sound stages, the Summit offers an opportunity for us to collaborate and find solutions to create an even brighter and sustainable future for the screen sector and wider creative industries in the city region.”
Speakers included Grant Mansfield, founder and CEO of Plimsoll Productions, in conversation with Julian Bellamy, managing director, ITV Studios. Exploring ‘Are we still world beaters?’ was Wendy Darke, founder of production company True to Nature, alongside Jo Shinner, executive producer at BBC Studios Natural History Unit, plus Vanessa Berlowitz, co-founder and chief creative officer of Wildstar Films, Huw Cordey, executive producer at Silverback Films, and James Honeyborne, creative director at Freeborne Media.
Other sessions included ‘The Future for Creative Technologies’ with experts from the UK’s leading animation and VFX studios and ‘A view of scripted and non-scripted productions’ with speakers from regional and national television production companies.
Day two of the Summit on 3 November was a closed event that brought together academics from UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre, the University of Bristol, and regional and national policy makers and industry leaders to explore potential interventions needed to sustain clean inclusive growth in the city region’s production community. Attendees included representatives from the West of England Combined Authority, Bristol City Council, the BFI, and Screen Skills.