West Midlands creative sector trade mission to Malta Film Studios
Image Source: Creative Scale Up
West Midlands creative businesses visit Malta Film Studios during the trade mission
Chris Leggett

Member Article

West Midlands creative companies forge new partnerships during Malta trade visit

Leading film, gaming and immersive tech businesses from the West Midlands were able to build links with leading organisations in Malta during a trade mission to the Mediterranean island.

Seventeen delegates representing companies delivering products and services from within the creative sector and based across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, had the chance to visit prominent organisations to discuss potential collaboration.

The five-day trip, organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority, gave 11 businesses from the authority’s Creative Scale Up (CSUP) support course and Creative Business Response & Recovery Programme an overview of the opportunities of engaging with Malta and its businesses.

The visitors had the chance to meet representatives of economic development agency Malta Enterprise, the Malta Film Commission and Gaming Malta, the country’s independent non-profit foundation set up to promote the island as a centre of excellence in the remote gaming sector.

The West Midlands party were able to visit Base Camp, an incubator space for interactive businesses looking to grow in Malta, as well as receiving a briefing from the Malta Council for Science and Technology and its funding activity.

The Malta Film Commission gave the group the chance to visit a filming location for international fantasy hit TV series Game of Thrones. The visitors were also shown heritage sites and the nearby island of Gozo.

Fiona Latter, CSUP, CBRRP and Made Smarter Programme Manager, said the visit had been a success for both sides. Fiona said: “The purpose of this trade mission was to introduce companies on the CSUP and CBRRP Programmes to the benefits of working in collaboration with organisations such as Malta Enterprise and Gaming Malta to enable these businesses to grow and scale with help and support from a country that is both a Commonwealth and EU member.

“Part of the remit of the WMCA is to work with partners nationally and internationally to drive the region’s economic growth. We see the creative sector’s work in screen and gaming as a strength of the West Midlands so bridging new partnerships with colleagues in Malta will unlock opportunities to be developed in the future.”

Among those taking part was Louise Osbourne of Emmeline Productions, the film company behind the recent inaugural Birmingham Film Market. Over the course of the visit Louise was able to build a partnership with the Malta Film Commission to promote the island as a location to the Birmingham Film Market audience.

Louise said: “The trade mission to Malta was an amazing, well-structured event which gave us the opportunity to meet organisations and people we would not normally expect to engage with. Malta has amazing film locations which have been used in Hollywood films including Gladiator, so it was beneficial to be able to speak directly to the Film Commission about partner working.

“They recognise the opportunities from linking up with creative businesses from the West Midlands. In return, it opened us up to the chance to work with international partners from Malta.”

Paul Bramwell, non-executive chairman of Birmingham marketing agency One Black Bear, said: “As a Board Member of industry body Create Central we are working hard to attract productions and investment in skills into the West Midlands whilst it is clearly the aim of our hosts, Malta Enterprise, to do the same job for Malta. Our two objectives are mutually compatible and our respective offerings complement each other perfectly.

“We are at different points on our journey but there is real potential for us to learn from each other and work collaboratively together in the future.”

Salman Shurie, founder of Gesinimo Games from Birmingham, said: “I was impressed by the set-up for the gaming industry in Malta. The trade mission has broadened my horizons for working internationally and generated opportunities for my business in the Midlands.”

The other West Midlands businesses represented included animation company Bigtooth Studios and training provider Learn Play Foundation, both from Wolverhampton, Sponge Hammer Games from Leamington Spa, software company Niyo Enterprise and virtual reality business Taran 3D, both based in Digbeth, Checklist Films from Edgbaston, coworking space Impact Hub from Birmingham, and Meriden-based gaming company Immersive Hollywood.

The trip received funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, along with Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP). It was also supported by the West Midlands Growth Company and Create Central. The businesses taking part paid their own travel costs.

Next year the West Midlands delegation will welcome a Maltese delegation for a return visit. Among those invited are representatives from the Malta Film Commission and Heritage Malta, who will be invited to meet with regional organisations here including the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers.

The Maltese delegation will also have the chance to meet companies in the screen and gaming sectors.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Chris Leggett .

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