Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has visited Warner Bros Studios to mark the launch of a £7 million Global Screen Fund aimed at helping independent film sector.

The Herstmere MP was joined by Watford MP Dean Russell for a tour of the studios in Leavesden on Thursday following the launch of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) scheme, which has been developed in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI).

Independent film companies will be able to benefit from grants for costs including business development and international distribution.

The £7 million scheme aims to help independent film companies “compete globally and bringing further recognition to the world-renowned British film industry”, according to a statement from DCMS.

During his visit to Warner Bros Studios, Mr Dowden spoke to senior industry figures including Warner Bros executive vice-president Kevin Trehy.

Recent months have seen the studio complex used by the productions of the third Fantastic Beasts film and Mission: Impossible 7.

Mr Dowden said: "World renowned, our film, TV, video game and animation industries create jobs and growth the length and breadth of the UK. The UK Global Screen Fund will export the extraordinary talent and creativity of the UK to audiences across the globe, supporting our talented filmmakers and screen businesses to compete and grow in Hertfordshire and across the country.” 

Mr Russell added: “The studios, home to the world-famous Harry Potter studio tour, is not only a major local employer but an iconic attraction which attracts thousands of film fans every year.

"It was great to welcome the Secretary of State back to Leavesden. I am proud that we have such an incredibly vibrant film industry in my constituency with the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and the world-famous Warner Bros. Studio Tour - the home of Harry Potter.

"I am pleased the Secretary of State chose to make the announcement from here and highlights the strong support for the film sector in the UK.”