Isabel Davis appointed Executive Director for Screen Scotland

Creative Scotland is delighted to announce the appointment of Isabel Davis as Executive Director, to lead the delivery of Scotland’s new Screen Unit. Isabel will take up her post in September.

Currently Head of International at the BFI, Isabel brings extensive international production, editorial and policy experience and expertise in growing the screen industries on an international scale. Well-known in the UK and international film industry, Isabel joins Creative Scotland with a strong reputation and established relationships with international talent, producers, financiers and funders.

Isabel Davis said: “The new Screen Unit represents a step change in opportunity for Scotland’s screen industries. With a doubling of resources to £20m each year and a shared strategic vision, it’s time for Scotland’s talented film and TV sectors to fulfil their potential, and to create a highly attractive environment for incoming creative companies and productions.  

“It’s an enormous privilege to be joining Creative Scotland and to be given the responsibility of leading the Screen Unit and promoting and supporting Scotland’s phenomenal range of screen talent, facilities, crews, locations and the broader industry. 

“I’m so grateful to my amazing colleagues and collaborators who’ve made my time at the BFI such a wonderful adventure, and I’m looking forward to working with many of them as I now focus on helping Scotland’s screen industries achieve the level of success they so richly deserve. I can’t wait to get started in September.”

Iain Munro, Deputy Chief Executive of Creative Scotland and chair of the recruitment panel said: “The Screen Industries in Scotland are currently experiencing significant growth in terms of production spend, with huge ambition and potential for so much more.  At a time when budgets for supporting Screen through Creative Scotland are doubling to help deliver that, I am delighted to announce Isabel’s appointment as the Executive Director who will lead this bright future for Screen in Scotland.

“Isabel brings with her a huge amount of knowledge and practical experience about Film and TV production, financing and distribution and, importantly, significant experience of international development and relationship building to help grow our industries.

“She is extremely well-known and connected globally and we are thrilled that she will now be bringing all of that to the benefit of Scotland’s industries at this time of huge potential and positivity.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “I welcome the news that Creative Scotland has appointed an Executive Director to lead the development of the new Screen Unit

“There are enormous opportunities for Screen and the broader creative economy in Scotland. Isabel will bring a range of valuable practical experience with her, from her previous posts both within film and TV, to this important new leadership role within Creative Scotland.”

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund said: “Congratulations to Isabel, and also to Creative Scotland - this is a great appointment, and Isabel will be an incredible asset to Scotland at the new Screen Unit

“Her UK and international networks, her knowledge, and the regard in which she is held across the industry are peerless. We will all miss her, but look forward to working with her in her new role. Nice one Isabel.”

Isabel Davis 

Isabel has been the BFI’s Head of International since 2011

In a role combining editorial, production and policy expertise, Isabel has delivered the BFI’s international strategy. Drawing together industry, public and government stakeholders to identify the UK screen industries’ key sectors and territories, she has led the design and delivery of a package of initiatives and funding to help achieve success on the international stage.

As a Production executive / Executive Producer on several high profile UK co-productions, Isabel has credits on films including Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War which premiered at Cannes 2018 in Official Selection, winning Best Director; Haifaa Al Mansour’s Mary Shelleywhich premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2017 and is also playing in this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF); Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar® nominated The Lobster which premiered in Official Competition at Cannes Film Festival 2015; and the forthcoming films from Claire Denis and Victor Kossakovsky.

She also backed the development of films from Scottish talent including David Mackenzie and Rona Munro.

Isabel negotiated the film co-production treaty between the UK and China, which was ratified in 2016, and contributed to the negotiation of the UK’s TV co-production treaty with China, ratified in 2017. She also negotiated the audiovisual co-production treaty between the UK and Brazil, ratified in 2017.

Isabel spearheaded a programme of film business development with China, leading a number of high level delegations to broker political, business and creative relationships between the UK and China.

The Interview Panel

There were seven members of the interview panel for the post:

  • Iain Munro, Deputy CEO, Creative Scotland
  • Robert Wilson, Chair, Creative Scotland
  • Barclay Price, Board Member, Creative Scotland (and Chair of the Screen Committee)
  • Gillian Berrie, Sigma Films
  • John McCormick, Chair of Screen Sector Leadership Group
  • Karen Lannigan, Director of HR, Creative Scotland
  • Lesly Gilmartin, Badenoch and Clark (recruitment partner)

The Role

The Executive Director will lead the Screen Unit, and with its team and partnership agencies, deliver the ambition and outcomes set out in the Collaborative Screen Proposal. This post will hold overall responsibility to deliver the Screen Unit targets to double Film and TV production spend in Scotland by 2022/23.

To drive growth, the post holder will negotiate major new Screen sector deals and partnerships, in Scotland, across the UK, and internationally. 

The post will lead on the Screen Unit’s relationship with Scotland’s Screen industry and the international Screen industry. It will also deputise for the Chief Executive on key stakeholder relationships relating to Screen, particularly with the Scottish and UK Governments.

The Screen Unit

The Screen Unit is a partnership between Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. The Scottish Government is providing an additional £10m to support Scotland’s Screen sector, bringing the total funding for screen to £20m in 2018/19.  Since the publication of the Screen Unit Proposal in December 2017 Creative Scotland has been working with partners on implementation, including developing guidance for new, increased and refreshed funding streams alongside the development of a dedicated brand identity and website. For further information please visit: www.creativescotland.com/what-we-do/latest-news/archive/2018/05/progress-update-on-screen-unit-may-2018

For further information, please contact: Kenneth Fowler, Director of Communications | kenneth.fowler@creativescotland.com | 07970 557 960