Filming is Only a Small Part of the Puzzle

There was recently a bit of a storm in a tea cup over a new tv drama, fronted by Suranne Jones, that is due to be set here, but not actually filmed on the island.

It is understood the three-part series is destined for ITV, but the production team has switched its attention to other locations after learning it would not receive a tax credit of nearly £1 million from the Isle of Man.

While many people, including Jones’ number one fan Paul Speller, were outraged that our gov would let such an opportunity slip by, Enterprise Minister Dr Alex Allinson told the House of Keys: ‘We do not have the facility to use taxpayers’ money to fund one-off productions on the Isle of Man.’ He also hoped that some of the production could be made here but we’ll have to say.

Flix

However, while this disappointed many, including Paul, after all the island has a mad array of talent, from amateur theatre to Netflix’s Jo Locke, maybe filming isn’t the only answer. We’ve spoken to a company, with a base here on the island which is involved in many tv series from Dog Loves Books (which did get Manx gov support) to Songs of Praise, as well as some brilliant kids shows.

Paul Hardman, Flix’s Finance Director, told Gef: ‘You will always get the opportunity of people wanting filming on the island, because the island is a beautiful place, the island is used to having TV and film crews here and the island, in the past, has been structured around that part of the media sector.

‘My biggest issue is this, film does not equal media and media does not equal film. In the same way that, to use an example, blogging does not equal newspapers and online content, there’s a place for everything, but there’s also a perception and this a perception that’s an on-island perception, that film can be wasteful, can be high risk, can be short-term and all of things are actually valid statements, to do with film.

‘There are aspect of the media which are long-term, sustainable and create long-term jobs. But those aspects are usually at the front and the back end of a film production, but they can be all the way through other short and long form types of TV.

‘You will always get a Surrane Jones, the number of ideas we get pitched about the Isle of Man, always consist of ‘it was a prison camp during the war’, ‘we want the next Bergerac in the Irish Sea, there is a whole lot more about the island and there is a whole lot of the traditions and the Manxness of the island that deserves investigation and publication and deserves credit.

‘It’s not for me to say whether the media fund was right or wrong, it’s not for me to say whether feature films is right or wrong, there can potentially be a place for everything. My and our business model is round bringing jobs, long-term sustainability, you’re on an island which is actually sat between two massive production hubs of animation in the UK and Ireland.’

Paul also said that while a tax credit can be a way to attract business here, he said there are business models which can access them from the UK and Ireland which working here but that from Flix’s prospective they came to the island in 2018, have created 15 jobs which will continue and hopefully even expand. This, coupled with the potential for an American based platform looking to work with Flix on the island could see even more jobs created for people on the Isle of Man and abroad.

See both parts of our interview with Paul, which looks at the island’s film industry, the potential for growth and the amount of talent available to content producers should they wish to work here below: