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by Louise Wilson
16 April 2024
Bulk of explicit film funding recovered by Creative Scotland

Bulk of explicit film funding recovered by Creative Scotland

Arts body Creative Scotland has recouped £67,741 of an award made to an explicit film, MSPs have been told.

Combined with some of the award not yet being paid, the body said 90 per cent of the £84,555 had been recovered from Rein.

The award was withdrawn following public outcry over the content of the film.

Creative Scotland said it took the decision after a review of the application, ultimately concluding that changes to the project had strayed into “unacceptable territory”.

In a letter to the parliament’s culture committee, Creative Scotland chief executive Iain Munro said the change to include “real sex” rather the “simulated sex” in the film was a major difference from the application.

He added: “This represented a significant change to the approved project, moving it from ‘performance’ into actuality, and into a space that was, in Creative Scotland’s view, inappropriate for public funding.

“As such, following internal review and discussion, including taking legal advice, we made the decision to withdraw funding from the project on the grounds of breach of contract by the applicant.”

The body had already provided over £23,000 to the project during its research and development phase in August 2022. This was via a separate funding application and will not be reclaimed as the “the work was completed as set out in the approved application”, Munro explained.

The delivery award for the project was approved at the end of January 2024.

Over £76,000 of that was paid after receipt of the signed contract, of which over £8,000 will not be returned to the body as these are considered “legitimate costs”, largely paid to sub-contracted freelancers.

Munro defended the initial award by stating the lead application had a “strong” track record and the panel which approved it believe the film would address any explicit representation of sexuality “sensitively”.

The decision to withdraw support was made in March after it emerged the film would be more explicit than originally thought, with the project seeking participants to engage in "non-simulated" sex and "hardcore" acts.

Culture secretary Angus Robertson told parliament earlier that week that the project should never have received public money.

Creative Scotland is now conducting a review of its handling of the application. Changes to the awards process are being explored, including additional review stages or reducing the level of maximum awards.

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