Media Hopefuls Invited to Pitch For SEIS Funding

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA
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The word’s out that unknown writers can pitch for finance to develop film and TV projects funded under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).

Start-up Cascade Media, www.cascade-pictures.com,  is looking for new talent with completed scripts to try out the writer’s couch.

If the pitch succeeds, the writer’s project could win funds from Cascade’s SEIS.

Projects will be selected on the quality of the writing, the project’s likely commercial or critical success, and how the project fits with the Cascade’s plans for genre projects that can work in international and home markets.

Cascade hopes to quickly expand from a SEIS in to a full-blown Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), raising up to £5 million for projects that offer 30% tax relief to investors.

Mentoring writing talent

Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, Cascade’s acquisitions and development executive and development executive Sam Cheetham will take the pitches.

“Undoubtedly, we will only be able to fund and work with the filmmakers of a limited number of projects but we are committed to doing as much as we can to support writers who we may not get involved on a specific project but who feel we may be able to support in the future,” said Pavoncelli.

“The writers’ couch will also complement Cascade’s plans to develop and invest in projects from established filmmakers.”

Cascade is willing to review scripts of any genre, with priority on English-language projects even though foreign language writing is welcomed.

Cascade COO Cora Palfrey said: “We have our SEIS fund £150,000, part of which we will use for the initiative. We plan to help new talent by partnering them up with more experienced writers, who can further develop their skills. The plan is to invest time as well as money with the individuals.”

Vital first rung

The Cascade plan has won support across the media industry.

Gareth Unwin, who was co-producer of the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech said: “Nurturing creative talent early in their potential careers is vital for our industry. Finding those fresh new voices that will keep what we produce for audiences relevant and interesting is notoriously difficult and Cascade should be applauded for their willingness to actively engage with talent in this way.”

Unwin, explained he is sent around 30 unsolicited scripts each week and warns Cascade should not “underestimate their challenge.”

Chris Jones, creative director at The London Screenwriters’ Festival, said such funds can “provide the “vital first rung on the ladder” for emerging writers.

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