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Behind the scenes of the UK film and television industry 2016-17

Behind the scenes of the UK film and television indUstry 2016-17


CONTENTS UK IN FOCUS

Contents

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77

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Foreword by Sir Ridley Scott

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Made in the UK A snapshot of forthcoming film and TV projects

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Marvel’s Magical Mystery Tour Doctor Strange makes the most of its south east England locations

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Dressed for Success The UK costume designers making their mark across all genres

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A Different Perspective Amma Asante on the importance of diversity

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A Crowning Achievement London’s calling for Netflix show The Crown

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Visual Pioneers How UK effects are fuelling productions of all sizes

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Southern Charms The south west England locations that are at the heart of Poldark

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Front cover, from top Scotland The Forth Rail Bridge (Stewart Hardy, www.tiltedimage.com) Wales Llanddwyn Island London Westminster Bridge Northern Ireland The Giant’s Causeway (Causeway Coasts and Glens) England Lavender fields, Kent (Tim Gartside Photography)

Small Screen, Big Success The global impact of UK television

to

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Locations Mood Board From majestic mountains to

shadowy caves, romantic beaches to haunting urban landscapes, the UK’s Nations and Regions offer a choice of stunning filming locations to suit every mood

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Magic and Mood JA Bayona’s A Monster Calls finds inspiration in north west England

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Behind the Music The UK facilities and talent creating awardwinning soundtracks

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Fit for a Queen Game of Thrones returns to Northern Ireland for its sixth season

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Land of Opportunity An overview of the UK’s ever-expanding filming spaces

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Dram Catchers The remake of Whisky Galore takes root in Scotland

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Fantastic Feats David Yates takes on two of 2016’s biggest blockbusters

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Flying the Flag The new UK talent making its mark on the international industry

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Bang on Trend TV show The Collection found Wales the perfect fit

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Support Network How the British Film Commission provides frontline support at every stage of production

BRITISH FILM COMMISSION Chair, British Film Commission Iain Smith Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London Adrian Wootton UK OFFICE Head of Production UK Samantha Perahia Executive Assistant to the CEO and Team Coordinator Sonya Watt Research and Information Administrator Abee McCallum US OFFICE Executive Vice President, US Production Kattie Kotok Consultant Jess Conoplia Executive Assistant Jennifer Patterson COMMUNICATIONS Acting Head of Communications Darren Kalynuk Senior Press and Communications Manager Alex Deller Marketing and Events Coordinator Arthur Laurent Digital Development Coordinator Margaret Davidson Communications Officer Avalon Lyndon Film Culture and Marketing Officer Lindsay Harvey UK OFFICE British Film Commission, The Arts Building, Morris Place, London N4 3JG, UK, enquiries@britishfilmcommission.org.uk, +44 (0)20 7613 7675 US OFFICE British Film Commission, 2029 Century Park East, Suite 1350, Los Angeles, CA 90067 USA, info@britishfilmcommission.org, +1 310 843 2909 UK IN FOCUS Editor Nikki Baughan Screen International Editor Matt Mueller, matt.mueller@screendaily.com Broadcast Editor Chris Curtis, chris.curtis@broadcastnow.co.uk Group Head of Production and Art Mark Mowbray Group Art Editor MBI Peter Gingell Contributors Sarah Cooper, Wendy Ide, Andy Fry, Tim Grierson, Stuart Kemp, Geoffrey Macnab, Wendy Mitchell, Adrian Pennington, Tiffany Pritchard, Mark Salisbury Publishing Director Nadia Romdhani Senior Sales Manager Scott Benfold, scott.benfold@screendaily.com, +44 (0)20 8102 0813 Account Manager Pierre-Louis Manes, pierre-louis.manes@screendaily.com, +44 (0)20 8102 0862 Managing Director (publishing and Events) Alison Pitchford CEO Conor Dignam Published by Media Business Insight Ltd (MBI), Zetland House, 5-25 Scrutton Street, London EC2A 4HJ, Tel: +44 (0)20 8102 0900, www.mb-insight.com

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Foreword Sir RIDLEY SCOTT

Foreword A

“Our world-class creative talent, our technical crews and craftspeople, plus our studios, post and VFX infrastructure give the UK the edge over global competitors”

spects of the worldwide audiovisual industry have changed significantly since I started making films and television more than 40 years ago. One of the most significant changes is the proliferation of global tax reliefs and production incentives. The success of the UK’s Creative Sector Tax Reliefs in attracting major film and television production to Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been well documented, but it serves only to keep the UK on a relatively level playing field with competitors. Given that situation, it is our world-class creative talent, our technical crews and craftspeople, plus our studios, post and VFX infrastructure, that give the UK the edge over global competitors. As the 2016 BAFTAs, Oscars and Golden Globes demonstrate, the UK holds its own when it comes to award-winning talent, above and below the line and across all categories. You’ll find interviews with some of the British winners and nominees in the following pages. I know, better than most, the versatility, tenacity and pure skill of British cast and crew. Wherever I am in the world, whatever the project, I bring with me a core group of British talent. The UK also leads the way in terms of its physical infrastructure. We are seeing much-needed studio expansions, conversions and new builds throughout the UK to accommodate the ever-more ambitious film and high-end television projects that choose to base themselves in the UK’s regions and nations. In addition, we continue to compete globally at the very highest level in visual effects; British teams have been nominated for the Academy Award for Visual Effects in 10 out of the last 11 years, winning six times — most recently, this year. UK in Focus profiles just a few of the areas in which the UK excels: highlighting the emerging British talent of whom we’ll be seeing more in the future, showcasing major feature and television titles produced in the UK and speaking to some of the British individuals and companies that have made it all happen — including the British Film Commission whose support I have relied on more than once. These are exciting times for the UK film and television industry and those lucky enough to be part of it. I am proud to count myself among that number.

Sir Ridley Scott

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IN PICTURES MADE IN THE UK

MADE IN

THE UK

Thanks to its competitive financial incentives, dedicated infrastructure and world-leading creative talent, the UK has become a hot-house of film and high-end television production. Here is just a snapshot of projects in the works.

The BFG Director Steven

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Director Gareth

Edwards December,

US and UK release date 16

2016

Now You See Me 2 Director Jon

M Chu June, 2016 UK release date 4 July, 2016 US release date 10

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Spielberg July, 2016 UK release date 22 July, 2016 US release date 1


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Director Tim

Burton

US and UK release date 30

September, 2016

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Taboo Directors Kristoffer

Nyholm, Anders Engstrom Transmission date TBC

Trespass Against Us Director Adam

Smith

Release date 2016 TBC

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REGIONAL CASE STUDY SOUTH EAST

Marvel’s

MAGICAL MYSTERY Tour

As the latest in a long line of Marvel movies to shoot in the UK, Doctor Strange is making the most of the south east’s excellent locations and infrastructure. Mark Salisbury reports.

Benedict Cumberbatch in character as Doctor Strange

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hen it comes to assembling the Earth’s mightiest superheroes, Marvel Studios — home to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest — likes to do it in the UK. Doctor Strange is the latest Marvel film to shoot in the territory after Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was based at Surrey’s Longcross Studios. X-Men: First Class, from 20th Century Fox in association with Marvel, also shot in the UK. The story of neurosurgeon Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers a hidden world of magic and alternative dimensions, Doctor Strange is part of the studio’s third phase of films that kicks off with Captain America: Civil War and takes Marvel into uncharted territory. “Given the nature of the story, there’s some pretty ambitious set pieces and concepts,” reveals Executive Producer Charles Newirth.

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“Once you introduce magic into a story, you can do all sorts of crazy new things visually. So the challenge has been two-fold, dreaming up sequences that audiences haven’t seen before, then figuring out how we’re going to pull these off on a soundstage, backlot or on the crowded streets of Nepal.” Doubling for the world Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous magician alongside Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams, Doctor Strange is set in the exotic locales of New York, London and Nepal. But while the production shot for a week in Kathmandu in November 2015, and a further week in New York in April 2016, the majority is being shot on location in England, and at Longcross and Shepperton studios. “This film is set predominantly in New York,” says Supervising Location Manager Jamie Lengyel, who worked on Avengers: Age of Ultron

“WE’RE SHOOTING IN THREE CONTINENTS BUT WE’RE BRINGING AS MUCH AS WE CAN BACK TO LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST”

Jamie Lengyel, Supervising Location Manager

prior to Doctor Strange. “The challenge [is that] we’re shooting in three continents but we’re bringing as much as we can back to London and the south east; as much as possible within range of our studio base. So a lot of my work has been matching London for New York.” To that end, the production chose to film at Londoneast-uk Business & Technical Park in Dagenham, east London, on the site of a former pharmaceutical company that was “a perfect location for a hi-tech hospital”, says Lengyel. “It provided all the operating theatres and corridors and tied in with our hospital set [at Longcross ➤


www.filmlondon.org.uk @Film_London

Creative connections that transform

From spies and superheroes to royal celebrations Whether it’s Spectre on the River Thames, Wonder Woman in Trafalgar Square or The Crown at Southwark Cathedral, London continues to play host to iconic characters, breathtaking scenes and extraordinary stories. If you’re working in film, television, animation or games, Film London can offer you expert advice on locations, logistics and the UK’s generous tax reliefs. From big-budget blockbusters to ground-breaking indies, we can help you create something special. Get in touch to find out more.

Proud to be part of

Film London is part of the global Shakespeare celebrations in 2016

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Studios] and the exterior we chose in New York.” Additionally, Royal Oak skate park under the A40 Westway dual carriageway stood in for the Bronx, and Ropemaker Street in the City doubled for midtown Manhattan. “We’re trying to do as many elements as possible in London.” Besides doubling for New York and, occasionally, Hong Kong, London also features as itself, with the production shooting in Whitehall Place, the National Liberal Club and Great Scotland Yard. “We did some significant work in terms of shutting down a street in central London,” says Newirth. “From the producing side, that gives us tremendous production value. We were able to take advantage of the architecture of the city.” Another London location utilised by the production was the Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, south London, which sits within the capital’s largest complex of almshouses, built for retired publicans. “An extraordinary location,” says Lengyel. “To bring a movie of this size into that environment takes a lot of work on the ground with a lot of residents.” Outside of the capital, Derrickson shot for two days at Exeter College Chapel, Oxford, over Christmas. “We had to be sensitive to the location, this beautiful old chapel,” says

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Regional Case Study South East

On location at Exeter College Chapel in Oxford

Newirth, “also respecting what the building represented.” “Again, it was taking advantage of the wealth of period architecture we have,” says Lengyel, “and was a perfect match for our requirements. It was a question of working closely with the specific college and also the colleges immediately adjacent that we inevitably affect, because one of the challenges with these films is the scale of the operation and the number of equipment vehicles that need to be as close as

possible to our set.” The production also shot interior VFX plates at Salisbury Cathedral. “It’s a super-friendly location within one hour of the studio,” Lengyel continues, “and one that’s very keen to get onto the location map.” Another location in the south of England that stood in for New York was the Thames at Northfleet, Kent, which portrayed the Hudson River for part of a driving sequence that will be pieced together from elements shot at Longcross as well as New York. “That took a considerable

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Ropemaker Street in the City doubled for midtown Manhattan

amount of work,” reveals Lengyel, “with the complications of the tide and at night.” Indeed, given so many shots across a variety of south east locations, the team relied heavily on the support of the local infrastructure. “It’s a VFXheavy movie,” says Lengyel, “so when we are on location our shots are very much led by pre-vis. That requires a lot of co-operation from every location, and from the filming offices. And with a movie of this nature there are always scheduling changes; we’re often planning the same event

over three or four weekends to give us the flexibility of when that shooting day is going to be.” While the bulk of the studio work was shot at Longcross, given the size of Doctor Strange, the production also spilled on to several stages at Shepperton. As well as studio and office space, Longcross provided a huge backlot including a two-mile test track and 550ft diameter slip pad. “It’s a former military testing place so you have unusual spaces,” says Lengyel. “A lot of films come here and take

advantage of the fact you can piece together elements from existing buildings.” “There’s a lot of flexibility here, which makes it attractive and easy for us,” confirms Newirth. “At Longcross we have everybody under one facility; everything from wardrobe to construction to special effects to props.” A case in point is a three-block Hong Kong street set that Production Designer Charles Wood built between a soundstage and office building, transforming the area into a neon-lit Kowloon street complete with temporary roof covering to protect it from the rain. “If you were on the street, you’d think you were in Kowloon,” says Newirth. On Longcross’s largest stage, Stage 1, Wood replicated a Kathmandu temple and street. “It was several sets connecting into another,” says Executive Producer Stephen Broussard. “Having spent so much time in Nepal, when we walked onto the set, it smelt like Nepal, our production designer was burning the same kind of incense for the visuals. It was a weirdly disorienting sensory experience, but really cool.��� UK Walt Disney Studios will release Doctor Strange in the UK on 28 October and US on 4 November

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SPOTLIGHT COSTUMES

Dressed for

SUCCESS

The UK’s costume designers and costume houses are now central to the look of international feature films and TV shows across all genres, thanks to their training and talent. Sarah Cooper reports.

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he UK has long been the premier destination for filmmakers looking for authentic period costumes and the experts to provide them. Yet the country’s costume designers are increasingly being recognised for their work across all manner of genres, from epic fantasy dramas such as Game of Thrones to sleek modern thrillers like Ex Machina. And when London-born designer Jenny Beavan stepped up to collect her Oscar for best costume design in February 2016, it was for her dazzlingly original costumes on George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action epic Mad Max: Fury Road. “It is so different to the films I’m perceived for, and I’d always hankered after some-

“I WANT TO BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY WHY EVERYTHING IN MAD MAX IS THERE, SO IT HAS TO BE VAGUELY GROUNDED, EVEN IN A POST-APOCALYPTIC WAY” Jenny Beavan, costume designer

thing futuristic so I was thrilled to be given the chance to work on it,” explains Beavan, who previously won an Oscar for her period creations on A Room With a View, and has been nominated for The King’s Speech and Gosford Park, among others. When it came to creating the far-out costumes required for Mad Max, Beavan immersed herself in everything from African art to outfits worn by Pina Bausch’s ballet company. She made everything from scratch for the film, using an unusual combination of materials, including metal, vellum and rawhide, to create the hundreds of costumes required to accommodate the huge cast. The biggest challenge, however, was designing costumes that could

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stand up to the harsh conditions in the Namibian desert. “You don’t know what the sand is going to whip up, and we had to build in safety elements without compromising the look,” says Beavan, who prides herself on her sense of realism when it comes to creating costumes. “I want to be able to justify why everything is there, so it has to be vaguely grounded, even if it’s in a post-apocalyptic way.” Beavan also recently worked on Gore Verbinski’s A  Cure for Wellness, a modern-day supernatural thriller set in a Swiss sanatorium, which shot at Studio Babelsberg in Berlin. “Gore is incredibly specific and had a fantastic amount of references,” says Beavan, who set out to create a timeless, desaturated look for the film. She recently returned to her comfort zone, however, for Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom. Based on true events in the late 1940s, the film is the story of how the King of Botswana (David Oyelowo) controversially fell in love with and married a white London office worker (Rosamund Pike). “It reminded me of my parents who got married in the same registry office, so it was familiar,” says Beavan, who is nevertheless keen to take on new challenges. “After Mad Max I feel equipped to do strange and weird,” she laughs. Fairy-tale collaboration Also in the running for an Oscar in 2016 was veteran UK costume designer Sandy Powell, nominated for her work on two very different films: Kenneth Branagh’s lavish fairy tale Cinderella and Todd Haynes’ 1950s New York-set romantic drama Carol, which was her third collaboration with US director Haynes following Velvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven. The latter was also set in the 1950s but had a very different look. “[Far From Heaven] was the end of the ’50s and very heightened and stylised, while Carol is set in 1952 and is based on reality,” says

Mad Max: Fury Road


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Powell, who trawled through photos and paintings as well as magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to build a sense of the era. She made about 80% of the outfits worn in the film by Carol (Cate Blanchett), while sourcing most of the other characters’ clothes from costume houses, vintage fairs and dealers. In contrast, the costume designer started completely from scratch when it came to Disney’s big-budget fairy tale Cinderella. “Usually the biggest challenge on any film is not enough time or money, but I was given the resources to explore different things and come up with a whole new world,” explains Powell, who took influence from 19th-century clothing, while adding individual touches such as the fairy lights sewn into Helena Bonham Carter’s godmother costume. A designer of great versatility, Powell won Oscars for The Young Victoria, The Aviator and Shakespeare in Love, and most recently worked on John Cameron Mitchell’s low-budget UK comedy How to Talk to Girls at Parties, which is set in the 1970s punk era and stars Elle Fanning. “It was the craziest script involving aliens, on a crazily low budget, but I took the challenge and had a ball,” she says. Finding original punk clothing was more difficult — and expensive — than Powell anticipated, however, so she improvised by adapting 1970s clothes. “This was where [London-based costume house] Angels stepped in,” she says. “I rented their 1970s stock, destroyed it, put it back together, painted all over it and turned it into punk. But in return they got a collection of punk clothing.” Powell is reteaming with Todd Haynes on Wonderstruck, set in the 1920s US midwest and 1970s New York, and based on the book by Brian Selznick. It is a return to Selznick territory for the designer, who worked on Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the author’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret — released as Hugo — one of six films on which she has collaborated with Scorsese, including Gangs of New York in 2002 and, most recently, The Wolf of Wall Street. Design across the decades Fellow UK designer Steven Noble, meanwhile, has carved out a reputation for his fresh and eclectic approach to costumes. “I immerse myself in the period to get as much reference as possible, but I don’t stick to the period itself, I mix it up slightly,” says Noble, who was nominated for a BAFTA in 2015 for The Theory of Everything, which saw him create costumes that span four decades. Yorkshire-born Noble is preparing for Danny Boyle’s highly anticipated Trainspotting sequel (he was assistant costume designer on the ➤

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SPOTLIGHT COSTUMES

“I WAS GIVEN THE RESOURCES TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT THINGS AND COME UP WITH A WHOLE NEW WORLD”

Powell’s designs (inset) for Cinderella’s dress, worn by Lily James (pictured with co-star Richard Madden), and below (left to right) Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in Carol

Sandy Powell, costume designer on Cinderella

original 1996 film) and he also took on another national treasure last year when he designed the costumes, and a range of Baby. baby bumps, for Bridget Jones’s Baby It was the “quite incredible script”, meanwhile, that attracted Noble to Benedict Andrews’ Una,, starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn. Based on David Harrower’s controversial play Blackbird,, the film centres on a young woman meeting a middle-aged man 15 years after being sexually abused by him. Set in the modern day, the film also features flashbacks to the 1990s. “You can tell the difference between the periods but I tried to make it feel timeless as well, so it looks right for the time but won’t date too much,” says Noble, who took a degree in fashion before going on to style magazine shoots. The Thrones effect Alongside their lauded work on global features, the UK’s costume designers are also making waves in high-end TV drama. Michele Clapton, for example, has won two Emmys for her ground-breaking costume design on seasons one to five of Game of Thrones, in which she created a series of breathtaking looks across the show’s different worlds. “Fantasy costume used to be held in very little regard, but Game of Thrones has taken it to a new level and had a huge impact on the way all series are now designed,” says Clapton, who spent seven years designing for the show before deciding she was ready for a new challenge. That came in the form of Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan’s The Crown, a lavish series focusing on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II being produced for Netflix. “It’s interesting to get back to a period piece. In some ways it’s more restrictive, but at the same time I love the ’50s,” says Clapton who has made almost every costume worn by the Queen and Princess Margaret for the ambitious show (see page 16). “We had to be really precise when it came to matching things with the public footage of events like the coronation, in order to buy our-

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selves some artistic licence as to what we thought their looks in private would be,” continues Clapton, whose main aim is to “tell a story” with the costumes rather than steal the limelight. “When the Queen is in the countryside with the dogs, the costumes almost disappear, whereas at a dinner the costumes stand out because they are actually discussed.” Clapton credits her reputation as a colourist and cutter to her training at the London College of Fashion. But she is hugely impressed by the next wave of talented young British costume designers. “More than ever there is so much talent there, thanks to the UK’s great courses and schemes,” says Clapton, whose other recent projects include Asif Kapadia’s 1920-set feature Ali and (Right) Costume Designer Michele Clapton indulged her love for the 1950s in The Crown, which stars Claire Foy as the young Queen Elizabeth II

Nino (which shot in Azerbaijan) and Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert. When it comes to sourcing costumes, however, designers turn regularly to UK costume houses such as Cosprop, Sands Films and Angels, the world’s biggest costume house that was honoured this year with a BAFTA for outstanding British contribution to cinema. Angels has provided the costumes for more than 30 Academy Award-winning titles, including The Great Gatsby and The Grand Budapest Hotel, as well as launching the careers of renowned designers such as Jacqueline Durran and Julian Day. Angels chairman Tim Angel believes the UK punches above its weight in the world of costumes. “When Americans come to work over here, they’re amazed at the quality of the people, the training, our heritage of theatre and the skill base. It’s an infrastructure that you don’t get anywhere else.” UK


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INTERVIEW AMMA ASANTE

A Different

PERSPECTIVE Amma Asante has emerged as one of the UK’s most exciting filmmaking talents, with films such as A Way of Life and Belle. She took a break from finishing her upcoming feature, A United Kingdom, to tell Nikki Baughan about the importance of taking a fresh approach.

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hile writer-director Amma Asante’s 2004 debut film A Way of Life may have brought her to immediate attention as a filmmaker, winning her a stream of international plaudits including a BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer, she had already been working in the UK film and television industry for more than two decades. As a young actor she appeared in TV shows Grange Hill and Birds of a Feather, before moving off-screen to concentrate on writing BBC2 drama Brothers and Sisters and her blistering first feature (the latter was developed and financed through the then UK Film Council). Having gone on to direct celebrated historical drama Belle (2013), and now in post-production on A United Kingdom — when she speaks to UK In Focus, Asante is about to head to Prague to record the film’s score with composer Patrick Doyle, before returning to the UK for the mix and grade — she credits her early on-screen life with providing a solid foundation on which to build a filmmaking career. “When I was a child actor, directors were authority figures,” she recalls. “I learnt a lot from them but also that there were some things I like to do differently. I learnt the kind of atmosphere I like to bring to set, and what’s important to me in terms of how I work with my crew as well as my actors. Also, as a child, I learnt the language of cinema, the language of filmmaking, and it was wonderful to be submerged in that at a very young age. It comes very naturally now.” Indeed, Asante’s work reveals a filmmaker of innate talent, with a gift for telling universally resonant stories in intimate detail. “I always want to tell the micro story within the macro story,” she says. “The story of the individual.” Just as A Way of Life examines the brutal truth of social disharmony in modern Britain through the eyes of an isolated teen mother in small-town Wales, so Belle is a powerful study of global race relations — and, particularly, the

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A United Kingdom

“AUDIENCES ARE CURIOUS ABOUT OUR HISTORY AND THESE GREAT STORIES THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN TOLD” Amma Asante, filmmaker

abhorrence of slavery on a global scale — as told through the experience of Dido Elizabeth Belle (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a mixedrace woman living among the closed-minded aristocracy in 18th-century England. Similarly, Asante’s next project A United Kingdom is the story of Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), a young king in Botswana — then a UK colony called Bechuanaland — who, in 1947, met and married white English woman Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) while studying law at Oxford. The fallout from their interracial relationship was felt both in Africa and the British Empire, with Khama exiled to the UK and forced to give up his royal birthright before eventually negotiating independence for Bechuanaland and becoming its first democratically elected president (the couple’s son is currently serving as its fourth).

“It’s aspirational and inspirational,” says Asante of what drew her to the story, which she had not come across until Oyelowo called to discuss the possibility of her directing. “Essentially, it’s about a beautiful love that was able to overcome so many obstacles and achieve so much. It’s also a British story as well as an African story, which is why it appeals to me so strongly.” Universal stories While she was born and raised in London, Asante’s parents are originally from Ghana and she credits this rich personal heritage with both her interest in, and ability to get to the heart of, such culturally diverse stories. “I’m attracted to those bigger-picture stories that reflect on the state we’re in today,” she says. “Universal stories that have very specific details that speak to me as somebody who is bi-cultural. There was so much of myself in Belle, and the same with A  Way of Life, even though the lead character Leigh-Anne is white and in many ways different to what people might expect me to be. She was an outsider, a person who felt she didn’t belong in similar ways to how Dido Belle felt.


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

“WE HAVE GOT INCREDIBLE TALENT HERE, WHICH WE ARE EXPORTING ALL OVER THE WORLD” Amma Asante

Amma Asante (centre) with Gugu Mbatha-Raw and James Norton on the set of Belle

“Those are the stories that speak to me,” continues Asante, “but I don’t for one minute assume that simply because I come from that background and I want to tell those stories that they will only appeal to people like me. As somebody who is a black female and, at this current time, not your average director, I come to these classic, traditional stories from a very different perspective. In order to resonate with audiences they have to be great, powerful sto-

ries but also need to be intimate, emotional stories as well. I always have this hope that, if they can connect to my heart, they will connect to audiences as well. “There was this idea that audiences were only interested in historical characters that they had heard of, that’s what financiers used to tell you,” Asante adds, of the audience appetite for films such as Belle and A United Kingdom. “We’ve learnt over the last few years that’s absolutely

not true. Audiences are interested in stories, they are interested in being inspired and they are curious about our history and these great stories that have never been told.” Diversity of storytelling is an issue close to Asante’s heart; not only does she look to bring an alternative viewpoint with her films, but she is also proactive away from the camera. She takes time to mentor young women, and also serves alongside the likes of Jessica Chastain, Juliette Binoche and Haifaa al-Mansour on the advisory board of non-profit production company We Do It Together, which was set up to focus on female empowerment across film, TV and other media. “It’s not just about doing what is morally right,” she says of pushing films that fall outside the ‘white straight male’ default. “It’s about keeping the industry vibrant, and keeping the life-blood flowing. The industry, right from entry level, should have different and fresh perspectives, and that doesn’t just mean younger versions of the same thing; it means re-broadening your view, and it requires courage. “I have been very lucky that, from my first film, the BFI, and previously the UK Film Council, have been supportive of my work,” Asante continues. “They recognised what I have to contribute as a storyteller, a filmmaker. You need to have a diversity of people making such decisions, coming from more varied backgrounds than we’re seeing right now. It’s important because all good stories are universal, but all good stories also focus on detail. It’s great for us all, at some point, to be able to see the detail of who we are reflected in cinema and TV.” While Asante admits there is work still to be done on the issue of diversity, she says it should not overshadow the world-class talent working across all sectors of the UK industry. “We have got incredible talent, which we are exporting all over the world,” she says. “With each production I work on, I love learning from my crew as well as sharing my vision with them. It’s a twoway thing. I love the process of connecting with them, to achieve ideas that have been going around in my head for several years, and to project those onto the screen and start a story dialogue with the audience. It’s a blessing and a gift to work with this level of talent.” UK A United Kingdom is set for an autumn 2016 release by Pathé

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REGIONAL CASE STUDY LONDON

Matt Smith as Philip and Claire Foy as Elizabeth in The Crown

A CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT For the team behind prestigious Netflix series The Crown, shooting in the UK was the first and only choice — and the capital proved a welcoming location. Wendy Mitchell reports.

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eft Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television production The Crown — commissioned by Netflix — tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, beginning with her coronation in 1952 and taking in her dealings with various prime ministers across the decades. Executive Producer Andy Harries of Left Bank has previously shot films and TV shows in places such as Budapest and Prague but says, “With a show like The Crown, it’s about Britain and it needed to be shot in Britain. It was never really considered to shoot abroad.” Locations Manager Pat Karam adds: “It would be perverse to go outside to replicate such quintessentially English locations and the environment here is so film friendly.” The Crown is the brainchild of writer Peter Morgan (The Deal, The Queen), with Stephen Daldry directing the first two of the initial 10-episode run and Claire Foy starring as the young monarch. Not being able to film in historical locations such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey or 10 Downing Street did not faze Karam. To recreate Buckingham Palace, he and the team used several locations led by London’s Lancaster House, which is managed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. “It is a wonderful building that has the scale and grandeur of Buckingham Palace,” says Harries.

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“THE CROWN NEEDED TO BE SHOT IN BRITAIN. IT WAS NEVER REALLY CONSIDERED TO SHOOT ABROAD” Andy Harries, Left Bank Pictures

Karam adds: “There are various considerations with these grand period stately homes, but we had an excellent relationship with them.” Other locations used to double for Buckingham Palace include Wilton House near Salisbury, Greenwich Naval College and Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire. Some sets for private quarters of the royal residences were built at Elstree Studios, just 20 minutes from the heart of London in Borehamwood. The exterior of 10 Downing Street was built there on the backlot, as was a set of the Cabinet room. Grand standing For Westminster Abbey, Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire was used, including for pivotal scenes of Elizabeth II’s coronation as well as her wedding to Philip Mountbatten. The production also shot briefly in Scotland, to capture the feel of Balmoral, while Englefield House in

Berkshire doubled for Sandringham. Harries estimates that the first series shot about 75% on location and 25% in the studio. Karam has a long history of working with bodies such as Film London and Creative England to advise and help on locations, and he notes that Westminster Council and the Royal Parks were especially helpful on The Crown because of the show’s many central London locations. “London is a particularly film-friendly city,” says Karam, who has been filming in the capital since the late 1990s and is finding the process ever more straightforward.“People have realised the importance of the film industry. Location managers have very good working relationships with the London boroughs.” Harries also adds that the key creative decision to shoot in the UK was made feasible by the UK high-end TV tax credit. “It stimulates and helps our business hugely,” he says. The Crown is Netflix’s most expensive drama commission and the second series, which moves the action into the 1960s, is greenlit to start shooting in September. As Harries says, “It’s a flagship show not just for us but for UK film and television.” UK The Crown will be available on Netflix from 4 November, 2016


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Spotlight Special Effects

Visual Pioneers

That the UK is regarded as an industry leader in the world of special effects, both visual and practical, is testament to the skill of the sector’s craftspeople. Adrian Pennington goes behind the scenes.

Double Negative and Milk worked on Academy Award winner Ex Machina

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n 2016, and for the first time, UK expertise dominated the Academy Award nominations for visual effects. Cinesite (The Revenant) and Moving Picture Company (MPC) with Framestore (The Martian) — assisted by The Senate with additional effects by Atomic Arts and Milk — were both nominated, as was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was supervised by UK artists stationed at ILM London and included the practical-effects prowess of Chris Corbould [see sidebar]. The incredible effects of winning picture Ex  Machina — which included transforming Alicia Vikander into an android with visible moving parts — were handled by Double Negative (Dneg) and Milk. This is far from a fluke, with home-grown vendors having won six Academy Awards (from 10 nominations) in the last 11 years. The Oscar trail blazed by Framestore on The Golden Compass (2008) continued with lead VFX responsibility by Dneg for Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2011), Life of Pi (2013, Moving Picture Com-

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pany), Gravity (2014, Framestore) and Interstellar (2015, Dneg), culminating — at the time of writing — in the 2016 win for Dneg’s Ex Machina. “One of the benefits of the UK is that we are collectively very integrated,” says William Sargent, Framestore CEO and co-founder. “Foreign directors rely on British crews, from carpenters to VFX artists, because UK craft teams exhibit lateral thinking and collaborate as a very cohesive unit. Quite simply, studio executives, directors and DoPs like working here.” It was London’s status as a European centre for commercial production in the early 1990s that incubated the first visual-effects businesses, which then became involved in film VFX as optical techniques were replaced by digital technologies. “The approach to the work remained the same as these companies moved from VFX for commercials into VFX for features,” says Cinesite MD Antony Hunt. “Focusing on innovation and creative excellence, on very high-end tech-

nical accomplishment and, importantly, on businesses that were well managed and financially responsible.” The Mill’s VFX Oscar win in 2001 for Gladiator signalled the UK’s arrival on the international scene, but the moment that truly reshaped the landscape was the decision by Warner Bros. to produce the Harry Potter franchise on UK shores, so underpinning the industry and showcasing the fantastic abilities of UK artists to Hollywood and beyond. “The local VFX industry went from being peripheral to really becoming a global centre,” says Alex Hope, who founded Double Negative with several MPC colleagues in 1998. Will Cohen, Milk CEO, agrees. “What was a cottage industry at the start of Harry Potter was fully grown up a decade later,” he says. The impetus snowballed with the introduction of tax breaks in 2007, which further incentivise overseas producers to place more of their production budget in the UK. In 2015, some


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

$2bn (£1.4bn) was spent on feature films here — a staggering 83% of which was inward investment — helping to propel the value of the UK’s creative industries to $119bn (£84bn). The recent extension of film tax relief to 25% of UK spend, alongside a reduction in the minimum UK spend required to earn rebates for high-end TV, has cemented the country’s financial commitment to attracting the biggest productions. “There is a tendency to panic about where the next tax break is coming from but, even if places like Canada emerge as a centre of excellence, you can’t replicate the organic growth of the UK overnight,” says Cohen. “The UK is very strong in creative and digital industries.”

UK IN FOCUS 2016

prACtiCAl MAgiC THE CORBOULD FAMILY

Chris Corbould’s team was responsible for the explosive introduction of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

team ethic Part of the success of the UK’s effects industry There was a time when VFX threatened to conis also a question of geography, in particular sign special effects to history, and Practical the unique tight-knit film community of LonEffects Supervisor Chris Corbould pins that to don’s Soho. 1995 when he was overseeing a tank chase in “The proximity of rivals within walking disSt Petersburg for James Bond film GoldenEye. tance has helped to keep expertise and innova“The feeling among VFX supervisors was that tion at a high level and means ideas and skills everything would soon be done digitally,” he evolve fast,” says Hope. “All of us compete recalls. “Instead, as the scope of films got bigger, fiercely for work but, once awarded, we all there was a knock-on effect. My crew on Goldenensure the project comes first. That’s a hallEye was 40, but these days a typical size is 100.” mark of British VFX culture and fundamental to In a medium saturated with digital effects, its growth.” Corbould is prized for his ability to stage, say, a It has also led to a population swell of VFX 120ft rotating corridor in Inception, an Underartists who have taken pleasure in setting down ground train crash in Skyfall or flipping an roots in a place where work is plentiful. In turn, 18-wheel articulated lorry in The Dark Knight — studios can be secure in the knowledge that all on camera and without the aid of a single freelance talent is not dissipating after a major post-production pixel. His team placed exploproduction, but staying put to work on the next sions in the desert around the Millennium Falproject. This is increasingly valuable as the con in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he is complexity and scale of productions has rockworking on the next film in the franchise. eted. Where Gladiator contained fewer than 100 “Certain directors prefer to capture as much VFX shots, for example, Star Wars: The Force as possible on camera and then manipulate the Awakens featured 2,100; a volume that is fast image in post,” says Corbould, whose career becoming routine for tentpole titles. began at the pre-dawn of computer graphics in “VFX tends to refer to the very visually obvi1978. “The script is the blueprint, but then it’s ous use of effects on screen but quite a bit of a question of how we can make it better. My job what we do is invisible, such as digital extras, is to come up with ideas and then hire a great set extensions and environments,” explains team to make it happen.” Sargent, who dubs this work “digital proThe Corbould passion for effects is shared duction”. “With large productions reguamong four brothers, each in the business and larly carrying 2,000 shots, facilities pre-eminent in their field. “Fortunately, we need scale [of artists and infrastrucnever pitch for the same film because we ture] even to win partial awards.” tend to work on different genres,” says CorAs a result of their tremendous sucbould. “I love doing more contemporary cess, UK effects houses are taking on films, my brother Neil likes the more an increasingly international presence. gritty action and war pictures [with Framestore, for example, spans the Atlancredits including Saving Private tic with 1,000 people in London, New Ryan, World War Z and Alien: York, Los Angeles and Montreal. DouCovenant] and Paul fell into the ble Negative is even larger, with world of Marvel [Captain Ameraround 4,500 employees and offices ica: The First Avenger, Doctor in Mumbai, Singapore and Vancouver Chris Corbould to keep productions going around ➤

“THE SCRIPT IS THE BLUEPRINT, BUT THEN IT’S A QUESTION OF HOW WE CAN MAKE IT BETTER”

Chris Corbould, Practical Effects Supervisor

Strange].” The fourth sibling, Ian, took on Jungle Book: Origins as his first sole supervision. Whatever project they work on, the Corboulds are tasked with creating everything from atmospheric effects such as fog, rain and snowstorms to bombastic explosions and designing hydraulics, robotics or pneumatics for groundbreaking films including Gravity, which seamlessly meshed physical and digital effects. “This was a game changer. Even seasoned VFX supers in Hollywood couldn’t work out how it was done,” says Neil Corbould, who won an Oscar for the film. “Sometimes animated objects just don’t feel right and the audience won’t be fooled. If you fire an object 100 metres, the speed, trajectory and weight of impact will be real in a way computer artists can find hard to replicate.” According to Chris, it is this evolving blend of CG and practical effects that keeps this defiantly analogue craft in demand. “The biggest advantage is in the actor’s reactions,” he says. “You get a very different reaction from actors against a 360-degree green screen, as opposed to when live pyrotechnics are shooting off.” The family has trained dozens of UK-based crew, some of whom are already snapping at their heels. Steve Warner, mentored by Neil, was a Bafta and Oscar nominee for The Martian. “There are so many specialised courses, from welding to driving forklifts, modelling and CAD [computer-aided design],” says Chris, “that there is talent in the UK primed, here and now, to take this work forward.”

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Spotlight Special effectS

“THE AIM IS TO FUSE COMPELLING PERFORMANCE CAPTURE WITH POST-PRODUCTION TO CREATE INTRIGUING NEW STORIES AND FORMATS ON A TV BUDGET”

Tony Orsten, Imaginarium

the clock, and support the work of the parent companies in the UK. And UK effects are not just being showcased in big-screen productions — recent demand for TV visual effects has risen with the renaissance in episodic drama. “Drama producers value VFX because it suggests production values of ambition and scale,” says Cohen, who led the team at The Mill and then Milk to deliver movie-style VFX for the BBC’s Doctor Who. “Where TV VFX were once considered cheap or shoddy, the dividing line between feature film and TV is now very fine and Doctor Who can claim to have embedded that in UK TV production culture.” While facilities such as Milk started out spe-

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cialising in TV before branching into features, giants such as Dneg have set up dedicated TV divisions. It is working with Andy Serkis’s west London-based performance-capture studio Imaginarium to bring high-production-value photoreal animated characters — such as Star Wars’ Supreme Leader Snoke, on which Imaginarium worked — to the small screen. “The aim is to fuse compelling performance capture with post-production to create intriguing new stories and formats on a TV budget,” says Imaginarium CEO Tony Orsten. “This is a set of skills that the UK as a country will be able to offer this year.” A vibrant clutch of mid-size outfits are also picking up big business while the largest shops scoop their share of summer blockbusters (Dneg worked on Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne; Cinesite has Independence Day: Resurgence; MPC has X-Men: Apocalypse; Framestore has Jungle Book: Origins, Geostorm and Doctor Strange and all are creating Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). “The larger facilities were only doing the big, punchy blockbusters but the smaller films deserved as much care, and we felt we could do

The Imaginarium at work

that without the big overheads,” says BlueBolt founder Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, who spied a gap in the market for indie films and high-end TV. Landing VFX for the first season of Game of Thrones instantly put BlueBolt on the map, and it has since completed BBC flagship drama War & Peace and has also booked in Brad Pitt-produced Netflix satire War Machine, Fox sci-fi Morgan and Scott Free’s eight-part drama Taboo. Similarly, Adam Gascoyne and Tim Caplan have enjoyed a steady stream of work since launching Union VFX in 2008. “Most of the big houses concentrate on their relationships with


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

BEFORE

BlueBolt’s VFX Breakdown on the BBC drama War & Peace

AFTER

UK IN FOCUS 2016

the studios, but we felt that forming stronger bonds with directors would give us a slightly different angle and a chance of winning work,” says Gascoyne. The approach has paid off, with jobs for directors the calibre of Danny Boyle, James Marsh and Kevin Macdonald. Now staffing 50, the outfit recently recreated 1940s New York including the interior of Carnegie Hall for Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins and is also working on Bridget Jones’s Baby. If ever there was a question over the UK’s ability to sustain the same level of VFX work in the aftermath of Harry Potter, this has been roundly answered by the increasing number of productions and studios utilising the territory’s effects talent. This includes Disney, which has pledged to produce six Star Wars movies in the UK over the next 10 years; a franchise that will hot-house yet more innovation. “What British VFX companies have done is to constantly push the envelope creatively and invest heavily in R&D in the confidence there is work out there,” says Hope. “In making that considerable investment and building the knowhow and infrastructure, we are giving artists the tools to continually do groundbreaking work.” UK

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REGIONAL CASE STUDY SOUTH WEST

SOUTHERN CHARMS

Flagship BBC series Poldark makes the most of its south west locations, with the rugged Cornish coast and surrounding areas central to its production. Andy Fry discovers the region’s wild attraction.

Poldark

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or some, the most eye-catching thing about BBC1’s hit drama series Poldark is seeing Aidan Turner take off his shirt. But those who manage to tear their gaze from the lead actor are rewarded with spectacular views of Cornwall’s beaches, headlands, moors and meadows. “Poldark is set in Cornwall in the 18th century, against the backdrop of the tin and copper mining industry,” says the show’s Executive Producer, Mammoth Screen’s Karen Thrussell. “We looked at whether it was possible to do the series somewhere else in Europe but the story is so specific to Cornwall that we just had to film it there. The colours, the cliffs, the sea, the landscape were exactly as it should be.” Key locations include the iconic old mining stacks of the west Cornwall coast between Botallack and Levant, with judicious use of CGI to make them look operational. These are complemented by the likes of St Agnes Head, Bodmin Moor, Poldark Mine museum in Helston, Charlestown, Porthcothan, Camel Estuary and Church Cove, Gunwalloe; the latter the setting for a shipwreck in season one involving Turner and dozens of extras. The production also utilises other locations throughout the region. “A lot of scenes involving interiors or town centres were filmed near our production base in Bristol,” says Thrussell, while Prior Park College, just outside Bath, and the Somerset town of Frome have also been

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“THE STORY IS SO SPECIFIC TO CORNWALL THAT WE JUST HAD TO FILM IT THERE” Karen Thrussell, Mammoth Screen

used. Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios plays host to interior shots, while Ashton Hill Woods doubled for Virginia, US. “Cornwall is a long way to go for interior scenes that can be done closer to home,” says Thrussell, “but aside from the logistics issue of getting there, a lot of the looks we wanted were near Bristol.” Sky’s the limit Season one of Poldark was shot in the summer of 2014, which meant blissful weather but competition with tourists for roads and accommodation. So production for season two was done primarily in September and October 2015. “That was challenging,” says Thrussell, “because we needed to complete as much of the shoot as possible before the weather turned. We did that by having two huge film crews operating at the same time.” David Johnson joined Poldark as Location Manager ahead of season two, and was tasked to find exciting new backdrops across the region. He is keen to feature Kynance Cove

near the Lizard — “probably the most beautiful beach in Cornwall”, he says. The challenge for Johnson was “not just finding beautiful locations but assessing whether they are right for the production”. He notes: “You don’t want them to be five miles down a narrow lane or too near a campsite where people will complain. You’ve also got to make sure you’re not using locations people have seen before.” Talking to landowners is also a key part of Johnson’s role, and he says his Cornish contacts were very film-friendly. “The main reason you come to Cornwall is the coast and the moors, so you could be talking to local farmers or dealing with large landowners such as the National Trust, the Duchy of Cornwall, St Aubyn Estates and Lord Falmouth Estates,” he says. “Either way, I haven’t encountered problems, and the council and police have been friendly.” Shooting in Cornwall presents its own particular challenges but Thrussell relishes working in the region. “I love shooting in Cornwall,” she says. “We came here with another BBC production, And Then There Were None. That story is more associated with Devon, but we ended up in Cornwall because it has such dramatic, beautiful beaches. I think the cast and crew had a great time.” UK Poldark, season two, will air on BBC1 in the autumn


Focusing on the detail, so you can make the bigger picture At Saffery Champness we specialise in providing bespoke advice on how clients can maximise their existing business and take advantage of new opportunities. Our award winning Film and Television Team have unrivalled accountancy expertise in all areas of business relating to the film and television industry.

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Spotlight Uk Television

Small Screen

Big SUCCESS

From Downton Abbey to Doctor Foster, Sherlock to Shameless, and Wolf Hall to War & Peace, UK TV drama is winning fans across the globe. Andy Fry investigates the international appeal of these small-screen productions.

On the set of War & Peace

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here can be no doubt that the UK is a world-beater when it comes to today’s TV drama, which is being consumed with a voracious appetite by global audiences. Ask why this is and experts cite a number of factors. Playground Entertainment CEO Colin Callender, whose recent credits include the Golden Globe-winning Wolf Hall, says it begins with “the quality of the writing and acting talent, which is a very powerful combination. And this is supported by a creative eco-system that has the BBC at the heart of it”. This BBC-anchored environment is boosted by the heavy investment in drama made by commercial broadcaster ITV and pay-TV platform SkyTV. On top of this, there is Channel 4’s ‘dissident’ remit and an indie production sector that has blossomed as a result of Luther favourable rights-ownership regulations. “There is no question that indie producers have benefited from being in control of their own

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destiny,” says ITV Studios EVP of Global Content and Co-productions Ruth Clarke. “They have been incentivised to take a lead creative role in the sector and that has encouraged a diverse range of voices.” Significantly, too, there seems to be an increased effort on the part of the UK industry to reflect its diverse population. Luther, starring Idris Elba, is a top-selling show overseas while Happy Valley and Doctor Foster have strong female leads. For his part, BBC Worldwide Director of Scripted Content Liam Keelan is excited about Peter Moffat’s political Undercover which stars Adrian thriller Undercover, Lester and Sophie Okonedo. Keelan also believes that shifts in the global market are benefiting the UK. “The international market used to be much more about high-volume drama series,” he says. “But the arrival of the SVoD platforms, Netflix and Amazon, has initiated a shift, so that the four, six and eight-part dramas this country is so good at

“the arriVal of the sVoD platforMs, netfliX anD aMaZon, has initiateD a shift” liam Keelan, BBc worldwide

are now in demand around the world.” This, in turn, has enabled the Brits to showcase the range and diversity of what they do. “We’re very well known for our period and crime dramas, but the international market is also starting to see how good we are at relationship-based storytelling,” says Keelan. “For me, the international success of Happy Valley felt like a turning point because that show was not a standard crime show. It was set in the north with accents that historically wouldn’t have travelled. It was about the interaction between the characters as much as the plot.” Keelan’s assessment is backed up by an array of high-profile international distribution deals for UK productions. In the US, PBS has always


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

The UK success story is not just about the sale of completed shows. As the tectonic plates of the international drama business have shifted, the UK has proved to be very adept at forming innovative international alliances. Marigo Kehoe, co-founder of leading producer Left Bank Pictures, says: “We’ve made scripted series like DCI Banks that are aimed at the UK market and also have a fanbase internationally. But at the same time, we always felt there was an opportunity to become an internationalfacing production company. We were ahead of the market in that respect.” Early examples of Left Bank’s international approach were the UK version of Swedish crime franchise Wallander and the Sky/HBO co-production Strike Back, shot in South Africa and Hungary. This has provided a platform for the company to secure some hugely ambitious commissions including Outlander for US premium cable network Starz and The Crown, a $145m (£100m), 20-part epic for Netflix looking at the life of Queen Elizabeth II (see page 16). The company is also co-developing high-end English-language drama with China’s CITVC, with the resulting shows airing in China and being distributed internationally by Sony Pictures Television, the US company that now owns Left Bank.

Adrian Lester in Undercover

Downton Abbey

been a loyal partner for UK companies, airing the popular Downton Abbey and acquiring the upcoming ITV series The Halcyon (currently being produced by Left Bank Pictures). Now A&E Networks is also showing interest in UK product, picking up gothic thriller The Frankenstein Chronicles, Agatha Christie adaptation And Then There Were None and Tolstoy adaptation War & Peace for its flagship cable networks. The latter, a complex co-production that was a ratings success for BBC1 in the UK, has sold to more than 20 markets around the world, with Russia’s Channel One an eye-catching customer. Other high-profile deals include the sale of Sherlock to China and South Korea, where the recent The Abominable Bride special has taken in excess of $10m at the box office. Prior to that, season three of Sherlock aired on video website Youku.com and received 5 million views inside 24 hours. Days later, the figure had accelerated to more than 70 million. Success in multiple territories is not unusual for UK drama, says Clarke, who cites examples such as Marple, Poirot, Mr Selfridge and Vera from her company’s catalogue. “One thing we have become good at is evolving and support-

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

“there was an opportunity to BecoMe an INTERNATIONALfacing proDuction coMpany” Marigo Kehoe, Left Bank Pictures

ing our successful franchises,” she says. “Think about the way Lewis and Endeavour grew out of Inspector Morse. Soon we have Tennison, our 1970s-set prequel to Prime Suspect, written and executive produced by Lynda La Plante.” Jill Green, founder and MD of indie producer Eleventh Hour Films, has seen similar success with Foyle’s War, a crime series created and written by Anthony Horowitz and set during and after the Second World War. “Foyle’s War travels because it is authentic and sophisticated,” says Green. “The show [which is distributed by All3media International] knows its world in the way a show like Mad Men knows its world, and viewers respond to that no matter where they are based.”

International prowess Left Bank’s international deftness is far from an isolated example. Neal Street’s Penny Dreadful works as well for Showtime in the US as it does for Sky Atlantic in Europe, while Kudos’s Humans is a groundbreaking co-production between Channel 4 and US cable network AMC. Other landmarks include BBC/AMC co-production The Night Manager and supernatural crime drama Houdini & Doyle; the latter is produced by Big Talk Productions and Shaftesbury in Canada as a UK-Canada co-production, and has been picked up by Fox US — a rare commitment from a US broadcast network. Callender, who is working on a TV adaptation of EM Forster’s Howards End, is part of a growing cadre of UK executives who understand how to make deals like this happen: “I  think a lot of Brits were intimidated by the complexity of the US system,” says the executive, who has previously worked with HBO. “But working on both sides of the Atlantic has given me an understanding of how to navigate the difference between audiences and talent and processes.” Red Planet Pictures founder and CEO Tony Jordan is another home-grown talent who has embraced the opportunities of the international scripted market. New productions for 2016 include Hooten & The Lady, a family adventure series for Sky 1 being shot in South Africa and other locations worldwide, and ➤

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Spotlight Uk Television

Stop! In the Name of Love, a musical drama for BBC1 built around Motown tracks. No less impressive has been the success of Death in Paradise, a BBC and FranceTV co-production that was recently renewed for a sixth season and has sold all over the world. Jordan says indie companies such as his have had to embrace the international market to get things made. “You have to be entrepreneurial to get the budget you need but the good news is that, if you do it right, you can get a better show. Death in Paradise is an example of that.” A distinctive edge A risk with co-productions is that conflicting expectations among partners mean they can become deal-led compromises, but UK producers are not allowing the allure of the international market to compromise the creative vision. This approach is underscored by former Kudos CEO Dan Isaacs, who has delivered hit shows including Law and Order: UK, The Tunnel and 2013’s breakout hit Broadchurch. “If you start out thinking you’re making something for the global market, you get in trouble,” he says. “Dramas like Happy Valley and Doctor Foster show that one of our real strengths is the way we protect and nurture our writers.” One writer who is almost synonymous with the success of UK drama is Andrew Davies, scribe of the new War & Peace, Mr Selfridge and numerous other literary adaptations, who enjoys the international attention his series attract but does not let it influence his storytelling. “You’re always thinking about how you can make the visual image tell the story, which has a bearing on the way international audiences respond,” he says. “But I generally write to please myself. That’s the best way to make sure you do something that pleases all audiences.” Davies does believe, however, that growth in demand for high-concept international co-productions has allowed writers to become more ambitious. “There are so many platforms hungry for distinctive material that there is real encouragement for writers to think big.” Alongside co-production, scripted formats is another area in which the UK has enjoyed huge success, with Life on Mars, The Office, Broadchurch, Skins, Prime Suspect, Being Human, Mistresses and Shameless all making it as far as a US series commission. And while landing a show in the US and getting it renewed is notoriously difficult, The Office, Shameless, Mistresses and Being Human have established themselves as long-running franchises. Also not to be overlooked is the fact Doc Martin has been adapted in markets such as France and Spain. Eleventh Hour Films’ Green believes formats are an important avenue for UK companies

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The Night Manager

Death in Paradise

“one of our real strengths is the way we protect our writers” Dan Isaacs, former Kudos CEO

because they allow the producer to focus their energy on making a great show for the local market. “You do the show well and the format discussion happens separately,” she says. “There’s less of an issue around trying to secure the kind of high-profile cast you need for an international co-production. It was always difficult to turn a six-part UK show into a 22-part US procedural, but now that US channels are commissioning in shorter runs of 10 or 12, it’s not such a creative stretch.” Looking ahead, the prevailing view is that UK TV will continue to enjoy international success, with high-profile productions such as ITV’s Victoria sure to attract widespread global attention in 2016. “The Americans are over here

looking at UK talent,” says Isaacs. “That causes some inflation in the market and puts pressure on the availability of top writers but it does mean there’s more money, which creates the conditions to expand the UK scripted business.” The introduction of UK tax reliefs for highend TV drama is also significant because it protects the country’s craft base, and there are new opportunities emerging from the SVoD space. Keelan points to his company’s new coproduction with Amazon, fashion series The Collection, calling it “the kind of show that may not have got made a few years ago” (see page 77). Former Kudos Chairman Stephen Garrett, meanwhile, is developing a London-based series called The Rook for Hulu in the US. As Jordan, whose recent production Dickensian featured Wilson Radjou-Pujalte as the Artful Dodger, says of the diversity of, and global appetite for, UK TV content: “Everything we do is about trying to reflect the world in 2016. We prize creative integrity above all else, so it would be silly not to reflect the spirit of the present day in this country.” UK


Film & Television Drama at Elstree Studios “Elstree Studios is a very special place to me. I felt nostalgic about Elstree Studios after the success of The King’s Speech so it was a joy to return with my new film, The Danish Girl, and make that connection again. Elstree has been, and remains, the proud home to some of this country’s finest films and television. I have greatly enjoyed my times at Elstree and am delighted to be a part of both its story and its history.” Tom Hooper, Director: The Danish Girl

The Danish

niversal

Girl © NBCU

"I am always very happy at Elstree Studios. All the team really looked after the Bear and we had a very successful shoot over half a year. The team at Elstree will always bend over backwards and really try to change things when plans change (which they always do) and I have been so grateful many times for the professional, friendly and flexible approach they have. There is never 'we can't do that’, it is always 'how can we make it work' which with the pressures of film making you just need to know that key spaces like the stages will help out if they can. Our offices in the Enigma building were excellent and Elstree allowed me to tailor them to my designs to make them function really efficiently. I'll be back!” Tim Wellspring, UPM: Paddington Bear

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8 stages of flexible production space & extensive back lot, only 2 hours from London. Home to Film & TV shoots of all sizes including:

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Locations

mood board From majestic mountains to shadowy caves, romantic beaches to haunting urban landscapes, the UK’s Nations and Regions offer a choice of stunning filming locations to suit every mood.

Mussenden Temple County Londonderry, Northern Ireland Located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry, Mussenden Temple perches on a 120ft clifftop, high above the Atlantic Ocean on the north west coast of Northern Ireland. It offers spectacular views westwards over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and County Donegal and to the east Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush and Fair Head. The temple was built in 1785 and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. With its dramatic setting on a wild coastal headland, both the temple and the surrounding views are among the most photographed scenes in Ireland, and offer a truly spectacular filming location. Photo credit: Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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UK mood board

HMS Belfast London, England

Moored on the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast is the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship. Her impressive history also extends to Arctic convoys, D-Day, the Cold War, Korea and beyond. Steeped in the history and stories of the 950 crew members who served on her, the ship’s nine decks provide a unique, evocative backdrop for film and television projects. Productions that have used this remarkable location include BBC hit comedy Outnumbered and blockbuster sequel Now You See Me 2, starring Jesse Eisenberg. Photo credit: Imperial War Museum

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St Peter’s Roman Catholic Seminary Cardross, Scotland

St Peter’s Roman Catholic Seminary in the coastal village of Cardross in Argyll & Bute is one of Scotland’s most significant modernist buildings and has been designated as having ‘world significance’ by international architecture conservation organisation Docomomo. Designed in the mid 1960s by Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan for the firm Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, the seminary fell into disuse in the 1980s and is now the subject of ambitious restoration plans. In its current state, it offers a unique, atmospheric and flexible location for feature and television productions. Award-winning documentaries Space and Light by Murray Grigor (1972) and Space and Light Revisited (2010) shot at St Peter’s, which also staged major public artwork ‘Hinterland’. Photo credit: Tom Kidd/Alamy

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UK mood board

Callanish Stones Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The Callanish (or Calanais) Stones, on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, is a cruciform arrangement of megalithic monuments with a central stone circle. The stones were erected during the Neolithic era and are thought to have been a focus for ritual activity. Managed by Historic Scotland, the site has long been a source of creative inspiration; Pixar’s 2012 animated film Brave features several scenes set in and around the stones, while hit Starz TV show Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, uses Callanish as the model for fictional circle Craigh na Dun. Photo credit: Gail Johnson

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Dungeness Kent, England

A short distance from London, Dungeness in Kent boasts all of the opportunities offered by a coastal destination, including striking beaches, secluded inlets and rugged cliffs, as well as a plethora of other options. It shelters the low-lying expanse of Romney Marsh and is home to desolate landscapes, abandoned industrial structures, wooden houses, power stations, gravel pits and lighthouses. This landscape has attracted many productions to the area, including BBC flagship show Doctor Who, Danny Boyle’s Trance, which filmed there in 2013, and Una, the upcoming film adaptation of David Harrower’s play Blackbird. Photo credit: ©adam1481 — Dungeness, Kent

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UK mood board

Llanddwyn Island Isle of Anglesey, Wales Ynys Llanddwyn, or Llanddwyn Island, is a small tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey, north Wales. Despite its name, it remains attached to the mainland at all but the highest tides. Part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, it provides excellent views of nearby Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula. Llanddwyn Island lighthouse marks the western entrance to the Menai Strait, and was used for Craig Rosenberg’s romantic thriller Half Light, which stars Demi Moore and James Cosmo. A scene for Hollywood blockbuster Clash of the Titans, directed by Louis Leterrier, also filmed at Llanddwyn. Photo credit: Crown Copyright (2016) Visit Wales

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UK mood board

The Dark Hedges County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Dark Hedges, in Stranocum, County Antrim, is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland. Planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century, this beautiful avenue of beech trees was intended to impress visitors to Gracehill House, their Georgian mansion. As the decades passed, the branches intertwined to form a tunnel across the nowpublic road; today, about 90 of the original 150 trees still survive and remain a magnificent sight. The combination of light and shadow, together with the seasonal changes, makes for an enchanting and ethereal spectacle, and offers a multitude of location opportunities. The Dark Hedges was a memorable setting for the Kingsroad in Game of Thrones. Photo credit: Northern Ireland Screen

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Smugglers Tunnel Devon, England

South west England’s remarkable coastline, with its stunning beaches and craggy headlands, offers vast opportunities for productions of all sizes. Look closer, and it also houses many secret and alternative locations, such as the shadowy Smugglers Tunnel in Teignmouth, Devon. Legend has it the tunnel was built by the region’s smugglers, who used it to access the secluded Ness beach; nowadays it is used by visitors and holiday-makers. With its dark entrance and winding path through the heart of the cliff, the tunnel makes for an impressively atmospheric filming location. Photo credit: Joe Daniel Price Photography/pprice@gotadsl.co.uk

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The Giant’s Causeway County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway was designated Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986. Formed around 60 million years ago by a volcanic eruption that left the now famous interlocking columns (or, according to legend, by Irish giant Finn MacCool, who needed a way across the North Channel to fight Scottish giant Benandonner), the Causeway is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a wealth of flora and fauna. Having been subject to several million years of erosion, some of the structures have been named after objects they have come to resemble, including the Organ, the Giant’s Boot and the Camel’s Hump. Productions to have used the location include Your Highness and Dracula Untold. Photo credit: Causeway Coasts and Glens

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UK mood board

The Silent Valley County Down, Northern Ireland

Ringed by mountains, the Silent Valley is located within the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was used to provide water from the Mourne Mountains for most of County Down and a large part of Belfast. Hewn from granite more than 50 million years ago, this is a tranquil landscape with impressive views, woodlands and waterfalls, and megalithic tombs hidden in the uplands. Nearby St Patrick’s Stream is said to mark the boundary of the old Kingdom of Mourne; a rock with a hand print lies in the stream where Ireland’s patron saint banished snakes and knelt down to drink the water. Game of Thrones and sci-fi feature Robot Overlords have filmed in the area. Photo credit: Northern Ireland Screen

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Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Park London, England

Lee Valley VeloPark in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to one of London’s newest iconic buildings. Built in 2011, the award-winning velodrome has already established its place in sporting history, hosting the Olympic and Paralympic track cycling events in the London 2012 Games. While this image was taken before the park reopened, the velodrome is now surrounded by green slopes and flowers, and has retained its air of futuristic majesty; the roof, designed to echo the curves and flow of the cycle track, has a space-age feel, while the building’s 360-degree concourse provides views across the ever-changing face of the Olympic Park.

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UK mood board

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Forth Bridge South Queensferry, Scotland The iconic Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge spanning the Firth of Forth between the picturesque villages of North and South Queensferry. Completed in 1890, after six years of construction, the bridge is just under two-and-a-half miles long and achieved Unesco World Heritage status in 2015. Now owned and operated by Network Rail, the bridge, which is located just nine miles west of Edinburgh city centre, is considered one of the iconic symbols of Scotland. It will also be familiar to fans of the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller The 39 Steps. Photo credit: Targn Pleiades

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UK mood board

Mount Snowdon Gwynedd, Wales

Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, meaning ‘the tumulus’) dominates the landscape of north Wales; soaring to 3,560 feet (1,085 metres), it is the highest mountain in Wales or England. The Snowdon range consists of 11 peaks, three of which surpass 3,000 feet, and Llyn Llydaw, a long, narrow lake that lies to the side of Mount Snowdon. A number of high-profile feature films have used some of the breathtaking locations within Snowdonia National Park, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel, and Clash of the Titans. More recently, the Guy Ritchie-directed Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur also filmed key scenes in Snowdonia. Photo credit: Crown Copyright (2016) Visit Wales

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Underground Reservoir Walthamstow, London, England

Forming part of the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain that supplies drinking water to London, the historic Walthamstow Reservoir complex (constructed on marshland in the mid-19th century by the East London Waterworks Company) offers otherworldly location opportunities for film and TV productions. As well as acres of green space and wetlands located close to London, the site has empty underground reservoirs that are both visually striking and practical; the pictured space has four avenues of rounded bricks, with three access points up vertical ladders. The site is owned and operated by Thames Water. Photo credit: www.localityonline.com

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UK mood board

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Spurn Point Yorkshire, England A narrow sand spit on the tip of the coast of the East Riding in Yorkshire, Spurn Point is more than three miles (4.8km) long and as little as 50 yards (46 metres) wide in places. The southernmost tip is known as Spurn Head or Spurn Point, and is home to a Royal National Lifeboat Institution station and a disused lighthouse. Part of the Humber Flats, Marshes and Coast Special Protection Area, it has been owned since 1960 by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is a designated nature reserve and heritage coast. It is mainly used by factual and documentary productions, such as BBC2’s Seven Natural Wonders in 2005. Photo credit: VisitEngland, Visit Hull and East Yorkshire/Les Gibbon, Hull News & Pictures

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UK mood board

Transporter Bridge Newport, Wales

Newport’s Grade I listed Transporter Bridge is one of just seven working transporter bridges worldwide, and an impressive monument to Edwardian engineering. At Newport, the River Usk has the highest tidal range of any city in the world and, in 1906, a crossing was needed that would not hamper the huge amount of shipping using the river; French designer Ferdinand Arnodin provided the solution. The bridge provided the setting for some scenes in the 1959 British crime drama Tiger Bay, starring Hayley Mills and her father John Mills, and also featured in the television series Being Human. Photo credit: Crown Copyright (2016) Visit Wales

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Bamburgh Castle Northumberland, England

Bamburgh Castle is one of Northumberland’s best-known landmarks, and one of the largest inhabited castles in the country. It sits on an outcrop of volcanic dolerite rock high above the Northumberland coastline; a prime position that has seen it fought over by the ancient Britons, Saxons and Vikings. Bamburgh, which has a Norman fort at its core, has featured in numerous film and TV productions, including Shekhar Kapur’s historical epic Elizabeth, See-Saw Films’ Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and Disney’s forthcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance as the titular giant. Photo credit: VisitEngland/Thomas Heaton

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Meet the capital’s Premiere Locations

www.filmlondon.org.uk/premiere-locations

Alexandra Palace www.alexandrapalace.com

The Athenaeum Hotel www.athenaeumhotel.com

Borough Market www.boroughmarket.org.uk

Coin Street Community Builders www.coinstreet.org

Freemasons’ Hall www.ugle.org.uk

Historic Royal Palaces www.hrp.org.uk

Imperial War Museum www.iwm.org.uk

Inner & Middle Temple www.innertemple.org.uk | www.middletemple.org.uk

londoneast-uk www.londoneast-uk.com

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The May Fair Hotel www.themayfairhotel.co.uk | www.edwardian.com

Natural History Museum www.nhm.ac.uk

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew www.kew.org

Senate House www.senatehouselibrary.ac.uk

Somerset House www.somersethouse.org.uk

Southbank Centre www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Southwark Cathedral www.cathedral.southwark.anglican.org

Victoria & Albert Museum www.vam.ac.uk

The View from the Shard www.theviewfromtheshard.com

Looking to shoot in London? From historic buildings to beautiful gardens and ultra-modern landmarks, our Premiere Locations represent some of the capital’s most committed and versatile sites for filming.

A new and exclusive initiative for London locations Want to join? Email lfp@filmlondon.org.uk

25/04/2016 15:57


REGIONAL CASE STUDY NORTH WEST

A Monster Calls

MAGIC and MOOD For the team behind Spanish director JA Bayona’s forthcoming fantasy A Monster Calls, the north west provided landscapes that were both fantastical and down-to-earth. Tim Grierson reports.

A

fter tackling a haunted house in The Orphanage and the aftermath of a devastating tsunami in The Impossible, Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona has set his sights on a new kind of horror in A Monster Calls. Based on the acclaimed 2011 children’s novel by Patrick Ness, the film stars Lewis MacDougall as Conor, a boy tormented by bullies at school while coping with a dying mother at home, who finds an unlikely friend in the form of a fearsome mythic creature (voiced by Liam Neeson). But despite the film’s fantastical elements, Bayona and his team took to the north west of England to find the perfect settings for the story’s everyday anxieties. “The film needed to be grounded in a realistic and recognisable world,” says Location Manager Tom Howard, “something we could all relate to. We certainly chose the best bits, from using Marsden as the town the boy lives in, to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach for a day out.” Drawing inspiration from Jim Kay’s gloriously evocative, minimalist black-and-white

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“THE UK CREWS ARE INCREDIBLE. WE GET EXTRAORDINARY PICTURES” Sarah-Jane Wheale, Line Producer

drawings, the filmmakers used the book’s illustrations as their guide for scouting specific locations. “We looked at [them] often when scouting or discussing the shortlisted locations,” says Howard. “The school exterior was one such location, and we searched for a while until we found it in Slaithwaite.” Undiscovered country Line Producer Sarah-Jane Wheale, who served in the same capacity for 2014’s Effie Gray, has worked extensively across Lancashire and Yorkshire, and felt confident that the north west could provide the emotional and tonal backdrop to Conor’s inner turmoil. “We were able to find all of the exteriors for the film, including the exterior of the house and land-

scapes,” she says. “There were many recces, and the sweeping landscapes behind each house and high street were an inspiration and add to the drama.” According to Howard, Bayona’s initial Spanish scouts travelled across the UK looking for the right environment in which to set this small-town tale, but kept returning to the north west. Beyond its striking locations, Howard says the region provided the necessary infrastructure required for a major film production. “We needed all the support [that] a major ‘media’ city can offer — from crew to equipment and first-class transport links,” he says. “We could have been in Leeds for this, but the director preferred the look of the north west. The other element we needed to find was a church on a hilltop” — one of the book’s pivotal settings — “and this was the hardest location to find. It was finally discovered, after a long scout, near to Manchester.” The superb locales did come with their own challenges, however. “For any crew filming in October in the north, it is always the weather,” Wheale says of production obstacles. “All the films I have worked on recently have had difficult weather conditions, [but] the UK crews are incredible and we have adapted to filming in rain and cold for many hours. As a result, we get extraordinary landscapes and pictures.” In fact, it is a fitting testament to the north west’s popularity that, Howard notes, “There was so much television work going on in the region [that] getting a crew member with the relevant experience [who’s] not about to sign up for a six-month production was difficult. But I used many crew members based in the local area to head up the second unit or to man the first unit.” The team is quick to note the help received from local agencies. “We received a lot of assistance from Bobby Cochrane at Creative England,” Howard says. “Especially when filming in Manchester, as we did some big set-ups here — from taking over a few streets in Didsbury for four split-day shoots to a car speeding through a town to be held up by a train at a level crossing. This train sequence took over the centre of Ramsbottom for two nights with the full assistance of the local council, local businesses and the residents of this quiet market town.” Now that the north west portion of A Monster Calls is finished, Howard, Wheale and the rest of the UK production will wait to see what wonders emerge once the Spanish team add their magic to the film. UK A Monster Calls will be released in the US on October 14 and UK on October 21


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SPOTLIGHT UK SOUNDTRACK

Behind THE MUSIC

Steeped in history and talent, the film music industry is flourishing, with an ever-increasing number of soundtrack recordings being produced in the UK. Tiffany Pritchard discovers why the territory is in such demand.

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n previous decades, British composers such as Malcolm Arnold, William Walton and Ron Goodwin turned a global spotlight on the UK’s recording industry, and talents such as John Barry, Stanley Myers and George Fenton have since cemented its reputation. In addition, landmark facilities such as Abbey Road Studios, home to the first purpose-built recording studio, and AIR Studios, originally a 19th-century church and missionary school, enable composers, orchestras, musicians and technicians to

Abbey Road’s Studio One: home to Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark

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create award-winning scores for international projects of all sizes. Recent years have seen many Oscar-winning scores created at UK studios, including Gravity (Steven Price, 2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat, 2014), The Hateful Eight’s live-to-vinyl soundtrack (Ennio Morricone, 2015), as well as Thomas Newman’s BAFTA-winning Skyfall (2012) and Hans Zimmer’s BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated Interstellar (2014). John Lunn also won the Emmy Award for

Outstanding Music Composition for Downton Abbey in 2012 and 2013, an honour typically given to US-based composers. The widening array of international talent who claim the UK as their recording home can be linked to an influx of feature films from overseas. Attributable partly to the UK’s competitive tax incentives, many within the industry give equal credit to the musical heritage and teaching traditions that contribute to the unique and soughtafter sounds.


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

RECORDING STUDIOS ABBEY ROAD London is home to several highly regarded recording facilities, including boutique offerings such as Islington-based Angel, which houses three studios in a former church, and British Grove, opened by Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler in Chiswick, west London. On a larger scale are Abbey Road and AIR studios, which are both located in the north west of the city and boast similar sized largescale orchestral studios, allowing them to enjoy a symbiotic operational relationship. “We are the only two facilities in London with the same clients, so it makes sense to work together,” says Abbey Road Managing Director Isabel Garvey, who reports that demand for recording space has risen thanks, in part, to increased bookings from Hollywood’s major film studios.

Colin Firth in The King’s Speech

“WE HAVE A TIGHT-KNIT RELATIONSHIP WITH HOLLYWOOD”

Isabel Garvey, Abbey Road Studios

“We have a tight-knit relationship with Hollywood and, because of this, we work closely with AIR in accommodating more space. It’s to both our advantages to keep the studios full and clients happy.” Abbey Road’s Studio One, constructed in 1931 by EMI-predecessor The Gramophone Company, was made famous by the Beatles but it also saw the creation of John Williams’ iconic scores for Star Wars (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Originally built for 200piece orchestras, Studio One is equipped for musical productions of all sizes and contains a unique blend of cutting-edge technology and custom-built vintage equipment stored as part of the EMI Archive Trust. For the recording of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech with composer Alexandre Desplat, Studio Manager Fiona Gillott recalls offering several 1930s microphones used by King George V and VI: “Tom Hooper couldn’t believe these were in existence. Colin Firth recorded some of his speeches using [Abbey Road Director of Engineering] Peter Cobbin’s ‘Royal Tree’ microphone set-up and the orchestra was also recorded through the original royal microphones.” Other specialised offerings include software and hardware emulations of Abbey

Vintage 1930s microphones at Abbey Road Studios

Ennio Morricone at the studios

Road’s vintage equipment from the RS124 compressor, TG mixing console, artificial double-tracking and plate reverbs to virtual instruments that have recorded and sampled the studios’ classic drums and pianos. “We have an amazing technical team that finds rare parts and keeps the equipment running,” adds Garvey. “It doesn’t just sit around like a relic; it’s used from session to session and is what makes Abbey Road so special.” In addition to Abbey Road’s existing three recording studios, a further three are being

built. Two are specifically for emerging recording artists, while the other is a state-ofthe-art post-production facility. “We want to give filmmakers the chance not only to record and mix the music here at the studios, but also to complete the dub rather than having to travel to Soho to oversee the final mix for the movie,” says Garvey. “Essentially, we want to offer everything a post-production facility can offer; not only the music but sound design, ADR [additional dialogue recording] and final mixing in a ➤ brand new Dolby Atmos Theatre.”

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UK SOUNDTRACK SPOTLIGHT

RECORDING STUDIOS AIR STUDIOS AIR Studios has two recording rooms and two mix rooms, the largest recording room being Lyndhurst Hall, which can accommodate a fullsize orchestra and choir. “There are not many studios like AIR or Abbey Road anywhere in the world,” says Studio Manager Alison Burton. “It’s not just the amenities and the ability to create lush sounds, it’s the experience. We are surrounded here by turn-of-the-century stained glass in an old church designed by the architect behind the Natural History Museum. It’s beautiful and, for many composers, it’s like a second home.” Clients include composers Hans Zimmer, David Arnold, Clint Mansell and Craig Armstrong, and companies such as 20th Century Fox, Disney, Lionsgate and DreamWorks. “There are more recording studios cropping up in Eastern Europe but London’s musicianship is second to none,” Burton says, adding that the growth in visual effects means London can also offer top-rated post-production houses and more film production complexes such as Pinewood and Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.

Lyndhurst Hall

“EVERY PROJECT YOU WORK ON, THEY GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO ASSIST YOU”

Clint Mansell, Composer

“This, together with London being an exciting cultural city where people speak English, makes it a top recording destination.” Zimmer, who relocated from London to Los Angeles in the late 1980s and most recently worked on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, still calls AIR his home and records the majority of his scores in Lyndhurst Hall. “There is nowhere else like recording in London,” he says. “I can’t pinpoint the sound but it’s emotional, it’s what music is meant to sound like. I know every crevice of AIR’s studios. The acoustics are second to none and the facilities are helpful in making sure you have what you need, whether it’s a certain organ or any other kind of rare instrument.” Mansell, the composer on the upcoming Loving Vincent and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, also sings AIR’s praises: “We had a very small music budget when I worked on Black Swan,” he says. “Alison [Burton] worked hard to get us into the studios at an affordable rate. Every project you work on, they go out of their way to assist you, they want you to succeed.”

Air Studios

Hans Zimmer

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UK Soundtrack Spotlight

Musicians and Orchestras Orchestral Contractor Isobel Griffiths has fashioned a decorated career out of sourcing musicians for international composers who come to record in the UK. Whether they require a swing band, a small chamber group, an ethnic specialist musician, a rhythm section or a large-scale orchestra, Griffiths and her team work to arrange all aspects of their hire. “In this country we have the luxury of a huge pool of brilliant musicians to call on from all the listed symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, quartets and theatre musicians,” says Griffiths. “The musicians, studios, engineers, music editors, orchestrators, conductors and choirs are all world class.” This view is shared by some of the world’s leading composers, including Hans Zimmer. “Because of the film music traditions dating back over the last 100 years, the choirs are second to none, the brass players are amazing and the orchestras, such as the LSO and Royal Philharmonic, are outstanding,” he says. Emmy and BAFTA winner George Fenton points to the diversity of musical talent in the UK: “From baroque to country, [UK] musicians can magically play it all.” The composer, who recently completed scores for Nicholas Hytner’s The Lady in the Van and the West End version of Mrs Henderson Presents, adds: “When I scored Sweet Home Alabama with a rhythm section based here in the UK, some people thought I was crazy not to go to Nashville but when you listen to the score, you can’t tell. That’s how good the musicians are.” UK-based composer Daniel Pemberton, who

Orchestral Contractor Isobel Griffiths

is currently working on Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, also sings the praises of the UK’s unique players. “I loved finding these fantastic British players, who I fully used on Guy Ritchie’s 1960s-centric The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and being able to incorporate them into the score,” he says. “Britain punches above its weight on the global scale with its creativity and artistry. It’s accepted here to be individuals, to try new things.” David Arnold, who starts work on the latest Sherlock TV series this summer, along with the Zach Galifianakis comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses, credits the exceptional training received by UK musicians.

“from baroque to country, uk musicians can magically play it all”

George Fenton, composer

“Whether they play in one of the orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia or they are a freelance musician, they are able to attend a session and start playing without having seen the music before,” he says. “They also know the picture is going to change, so you might be changing notes, chords or dropping instruments out and adding things in. It’s a bit of an assault course for a player. We sometimes take for granted how excellent they are.” Scottish composer Craig Armstrong, who has completed work on Oliver Stone’s Snowden and Thea Sharrock’s Me Before You, cites London

Sinfonietta as yet another rare offering in the UK’s musical landscape. “I have worked with orchestras around the world and it is incredibly hard to find musicians who can play both classical and film music,” he says. Steven Price also praises London’s diverse orchestral offerings, having used musicians chosen by Griffiths for Gravity, for which he won an Oscar, as well as the Philharmonia for David Ayer’s second World War drama Fury. “I love the experience of hearing what you played come back at you in a way you could have never imagined,” he says. “That is part of the reason a lot of American composers like to record in the UK.”

Technicians Alongside the musicians, UK technicians — including orchestrators, copyists, music editors, Pro Tools operators, programmers and engineers — ensure recording sessions are seamless and the musicians sound their best. “Music is the last deliverable in the postproduction process,” says Abbey Road’s Gillott. “It can be very stressful. You want a strong team of people, who know what they’re doing. We are very lucky here at Abbey Road that we have engineers like Peter Cobbin, who have such a vast wealth of knowledge in the maintenance of vintage instruments as well as sound engineering. Each engineer can interpret what the different composer needs and wants.” Indeed, Los Angeles-based Clint Mansell is so attuned to his engineers, Geoff Foster and Matt Dunkley, that he takes them on his travels when he is not able to record at AIR Studios. UK composer Harry Gregson-Williams also lives in Los Angeles but makes every effort to record in London — most recently for Ridley Scott’s The Martian, as well as The Zookeeper’s Wife starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl, and Ben Affleck’s Live by Night — thanks largely to the talent of our technicians. “I love to come back to Abbey Road for the sound of Studio One and the engineer Peter Cobbin,” he says. “They have a microphone collection that is second to none, plus I went to school with many of the musicians and technicians [St John’s College, Cambridge, and Stowe Music School, Buckinghamshire].” It is this wealth of talent across the board, working together to create incredible music, that attracts so many film and television scores to the UK, says Pemberton. “There is nothing better for a composer than being surrounded by a team of people who are better than you, whether it’s the sound recordists, mixers or engineers.” UK

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REGIONAL CASE STUDY NORTHERN IRELAND

FIT FOR A QUEEN HBO’s Game of Thrones has taken up residence in Northern Ireland having shot its pilot there in 2010. Stuart Kemp explores why it is the ideal place to recreate the epic majesty of the Seven Kingdoms.

Game of Thrones

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rones, wind and rockslides are just some of the obstacles the cast and crew of HBO hit show Game of Thrones overcame when filming the show’s sixth season in Northern Ireland. Despite these challenges, however, the production has never lost a day of filming, thanks to the tenacity of the crew and the flexible support of the local infrastructure. That is just one of the many reasons why the popular fantasy costume drama has been returning to Northern Ireland since it shot its pilot episode there in 2010, and the show’s commitment to the region has grown in line with its popularity since HBO opted to locate there. “Belfast keeps improving its infrastructure and we train people up, so we have a lot of different success stories of people who started out on our show,” says Executive Producer Bernie Caulfield. A Californian native, Caulfield spends nine months of the year living and working in Northern Ireland. “Since we have been together for five or six years, we have a shorthand together,” says Caulfield. “We always aim to leave a city or location better off than when we found it. Belfast has helped us grow and we have helped Belfast grow.” Caulfield points to the fact there are few cities in the world boasting great international

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“BELFAST HAS HELPED US GROW AND WE HAVE HELPED BELFAST GROW” Bernie Caulfield, Executive Producer

connections and infrastructure coupled with easily reachable, amazing locations less than an hour away. She lives a stone’s throw from Titanic Studios — where the show’s sets are located — which is now one of Europe’s largest film studios, and currently marketed by Northern Ireland Screen, the UK government-backed lead agency for the region’s film, television and digital content industry. Since 2010, Northern Ireland Screen has injected nearly $20m (£14m) into Game of Thrones’ six seasons. According to figures from the agency, the production’s expenditure on goods and services has contributed an estimated $195m (£137m) to the local economy for the same period. The sheer scale of production is jaw-dropping. For season six, two full-time production units named Dragon and Wolf employed around 300 people on the shoot. Producers

added a third, named White Walker, to help finish on time. Each unit films for around 20 weeks simultaneously, with 30 of those 40 total weeks being spent in Northern Ireland. Filming also takes place in Spain, Croatia and Iceland. Fantasy island South Africa-born Supervising Location Manager Robbie Boake, who has unearthed locations in Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains, Castle Ward, Shane’s Castle and Magheramorne quarry, says the production “doesn’t feel at all like television”. “The crews are the reason it has worked here,” he says. “It’s been an awful lot of hard work for a lot of people and there have been situations where we have been under a lot of pressure. People have gritted their teeth in astoundingly bad weather, sub-zero temperatures, up against the clock with no complaints.” Last year the paparazzi flew drones over the shoot in an attempt to gather footage of filming, and Belfast officials helped stop them. “It’s like shooting in Los Angeles or New York,” says Caulfield. “People don’t bother you because they realise we’re doing our job.” UK Game of Thrones, season six, is broadcast by HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK


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06/04/2016 12:12


REGIONAL UPDATE SPOTLIGHT

Land of

OPPORTUNITY

From established studios to expanding facilities and alternative spaces, the UK has a wealth of filming real estate. Geoffrey Macnab takes a tour around the regional production landscape.

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he UK’s film studios have rarely been busier. The combination of world-class technicians and facilities with tax relief for film and high-end TV drama has fired a production boom that shows no sign of abating. Recent projects made in the UK include Marvel’s Doctor Strange, based at Longcross/Shepperton; Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman, which has been in residence at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden; Star Wars: Episode VIII (Disney/Lucasfilm), back at Pinewood Studios, as well as other high-profile projects such as Justice League: Part One (Warner Bros.), Kingsman 2 (20th Century Fox/Marv Films) and The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Millennium Films). While established studios such as Pinewood, Shepperton, Elstree and Leavesden remain sought after by local and international produc-

tions, one recent trend has been the use of the UK’s plentiful new, alternative, expanded and non-traditional studio spaces. Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, points to the “huge demand” for UK creative talent both in front of and behind the camera. This is matched by the demand for British VFX and post-production services, and by the clamour to use UK studio space. In response to this demand, there has been expansion in studio facilities across the UK, with Pinewood, Shepperton and Leavesden all enhancing facilities or adding studio space. High-end TV dramas, says Wootton, do not “necessarily want space” that is as technically sophisticated as the top studios — their produc-

“PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT OLD INDUSTRIAL SPACE AND WAREHOUSE SPACE” Adrian Wootton, British Film Commission and Film London

ers need sites they can control and customise. “Two types of development seem to be happening,” adds Wootton. “One is to take an old industrial space, and also people are looking at warehouse space.” This movement, in turn, has guaranteed that filmmaking is taking place across every region of the UK.

LONDON AND SOUTH EAST In the south east, the competition for studio space remains intense. Big US movies and high-end TV dramas do not just have to rely on traditional sites, however, with other options now including the popular Longcross Film Studios in Surrey, the old Gillette building in Brentford, west London, and West London Film Studios in Hillingdon. The Gillette building has hosted major productions such as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and 24: Live Another Day, and Locate Productions’ Eddie Standish cites the building’s exclusivity as one of its key attractions. “[The producers] have control,” he says, “as there is no other production in the site at the same time. It is not a studio; it is more of a location that can be used as a film space and a production space.” While the 10-acre Gillette site may not offer the facilities found at the likes of Pinewood Shepperton, productions can control everything at the site, from the phone lines to the cleaning.

West London Film Studios

“That makes it much more cost effective,” says Standish. Nearby, West London Film Studios is also attracting more productions. The site has been given a makeover since coming under new management in 2014. “A lot of investment has gone into making what was a fairly unimpressive site into a much more functional stu-

Bridget Jones’s Baby

dio,” says Charlie Fremantle, General Manager of the fast-growing studios, which is owned by businessman Frank Khalid. As a result, high-profile films including The Imitation Game, Burnt and Bridget Jones’s Baby have used the site, as have many TV dramas and comedies (in early 2016 it was home to the shoot for ITV drama The Halcyon). And, like the Gillette building, the studio benefits from its location within the M25 motorway and striking distance from central London. ➤

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REGIONAL UPDATE SPOTLIGHT

BRISTOL Fiona Francombe, Site Director and a driving force behind The Bottle Yard Studios, worked for many years as a location manager based in Bristol. She recalls a constant struggle to find warehouse space where sets could be built and productions could be based — expensive and frustrating work. Francombe had been asked to look at The Bottle Yard to see if it could serve as a viable space for shooting BBC show Casualty. During her first visit it was still an operating winery and bottling plant, complete with forklift trucks and HGVs. When she walked into one of the Tank Houses, however, she realised immediately that it could be the perfect place for filmmaking. “These were big buildings with height, no natural light and individual spaces; it was an absolute gift,” Francombe says. Indeed, the seven-acre site ticked every box, offering space for offices, storage and construction as well as for shooting.

The Bottle Yard Studios

Six years on and The Bottle Yard, owned by Bristol City Council, is thriving, hosting prestigious TV dramas such as Sherlock, Wolf Hall, Poldark and Galavant. “In these cashstraitened times, [The Bottle Yard] is Sherlock covering its costs.

It is cost neutral for the council and the ripple effect is huge,” Francombe notes of the employment and investment the site is driving into Bristol. There are currently eight stages, including a green-screen studio, and the space is being further refined. At present, the emphasis is on TV production but Francombe makes it clear The Bottle Yard would welcome feature films of all sizes.

MANCHESTER Sue Woodward, founder of The Space Project and Sharp Project, has helped revitalise the creative industries in Manchester. Sharp Project was set up in 2010 as a centre for the creative and digital sector in the city, housing creative companies, tech start-ups and drama companies in the same building. Soon, TV dramas including Fresh Meat and Sky 1’s Mount Pleasant were shooting in the city. It became apparent that more facilities were needed as production volume increased. This led to the creation of The Space Project, a “production stage complex for the north of England”, as it bills itself. Fully operational since late 2014, it has hosted productions including Dragon’s Den, Cradle to Grave, No Offence and Houdini & Doyle. The purpose-built Manchester facility boasts soundproofing and super-fast internet. There has been huge public investment — close to $57m (£40m) Houdini & Doyle — in the scheme as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative, and Woodward is in the process of securing an additional $23m (£16m) for further site expansion.

A screening room at The Space Project (below)

Sue Woodward, founder of The Space Project

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SPOTLIGHT REGIONAL UPDATE

YORKSHIRE Having opened for business in summer 2015, The Yorkshire Studios is already attracting attention. Mammoth Screen, producers of Poldark, has been filming its historical TV series Victoria at the facility. “What they offer is a scale,” says Richard Knight, Head of Production at Screen Yorkshire. The new studios are based in former RAF hangars in Church Fenton, now owned by Makin Enterprises. Two of the hangars are 34,500 sq ft by 35ft height; one is at 27,000 sq ft by 28ft height. Producers who come to The Yorkshire Studios will not just benefit from the UK tax credit, they can also apply for support from the Yorkshire Content Fund, which can invest in excess of $1.4m (£1m) in feature film or TV projects.

The Yorkshire Studios

Victoria

NORTHERN IRELAND Mention Northern Ireland and filming space, and the conversation soon turns to Titanic Studios and Game of Thrones. After sci-fi movie City of Ember became the first big US production to utilise the Paint Hall venue at Titanic Studios, the HBO show moved there in 2009 and has been filming there ever since, returning to shoot a sixth season in 2015. Alongside the original Paint Hall, Titanic now has two new purpose-built sound stages (Hurst and MacQuitty) with more planned in the future. And the Titanic Quarter — as the area is known — is also booming; alongside the production space, the regenerated area has apartments, hotels, a college campus and the public records office. Game of Thrones also uses Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, a repurposed rural facility that is a 30-minute drive south east of Belfast. Indeed, the region has a plethora of production opportunities, with new spaces opening all the time. One such facility is the KBL Mill in Ballyclare, which has three sound stages that recently hosted TV series The Frankenstein Chronicles, starring Sean Bean. Similarly, the Britvic facility, located a 10-minute drive from central Belfast and home to three stages, workshops and production offices, is also proving popular with incoming productions. Universal Studios used it for Dracula Untold, and Plan B and Paramount’s The Lost City Of Z shot there recently.

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Game of Thrones set at Titanic Studios

Planning permission has also been granted for further studio space on the other bank of Belfast Lough, across from Titanic Studios. The venture is being driven by a public-private partnership between Belfast City Council and the Harbour Commission, and will see production facilities and workshops being built at Giant’s Park on the North Foreshore. Moyra Lock, Head of Marketing at Northern Ireland Screen, emphasises the close-knit nature of Northern Ireland’s film community.

“Belfast is small and very accessible,” she notes. “The whole of Northern Ireland is 80 miles north to south, 110 miles east to west.” Another draw for filmmakers coming to the region is that Northern Ireland Screen has its own production funding that can be utilised together with the UK’s competitive tax credits. “If we’re good enough for Game of Thrones, which is the biggest television series in the world,” says Lock, “we are good enough for any➤ one else.”


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SPOTLIGHT REGIONAL UPDATE

SCOTLAND Work is under way to bring a world-class studio space to Scotland. In March 2016, Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed the country could have a new permanent film and TV studio facility based in Cumbernauld, north east of Glasgow. Hyslop confirmed that private investor Terry Thomson, Chairman of Wardpark Studios, is expected to submit a planning application to enhance significantly the existing production facilities at Wardpark — the home of hit TV series Outlander — to create a film and TV studio complete with six sound stages totalling 78,000 sq ft, as well as production offices, ancillary spaces and a backlot. The development is already drawing both international and local interest. Producers shooting in Scotland can utilise both UK tax reliefs and Scottish incentives, including the $2.5m (£1.75m) Production Growth Fund and $2.9m (£2m) Tax Credit Advance Facility. While a dedicated studio may be on the horizon, Scotland currently has several sites offering roughly 462,000 sq ft of space for film and high-end TV projects. This includes 48,000 sq ft at Wardpark and 70,000 sq ft at

Outlander

Dumbarton Studios’ three stages. Alternative sites include The Pyramids in Bathgate, which will play host to the eagerly anticipated Trainspotting 2. Based in central Scotland, the site’s 50,000 sq ft of production space is within easy access of both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Other facilities include Pelamis, in Leith, Edinburgh, which has 160,000 sq ft, and Borron Street, Glasgow, which has 40,000 sq ft.

WALES While it may be a small country, Wales now boasts three functioning film studios. One is Pinewood Wales, based on the site of the former Energy Centre, Wentloog, adjacent to Cardiff Bay, which has entered into a lease for a minimum of five years with the Welsh government, and also manages the government’s television and film investment fund. One early coup was to attract the pilot of US TV series The Bastard Executioner. “We have 70,000 sq ft of shooting space in Wales,” says Andrew Smith, Director of Strategy and Communications, Pinewood Group, who describes the site as being especially wellsuited to high-end TV drama. Equally as successful is Bay Studios, based in the old Ford Factory in The Collection Swansea, which came to prominence when Starz TV’s Da Vinci’s Demons

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Doctor Who, filmed at Dragon Studios

started shooting there in 2011. Considered one of the biggest indoor filming spaces in the world, the site has 265,000 sq ft of studio space and another 30,000 sq ft of production offices and facilities. Along with Da Vinci’s Demons, Bay Studios has also housed upcoming Amazon Prime show The Collection. Edward Thomas, Co-Producer on

“We want to encourage production of the whole nuts and bolts,” says Creative Scotland’s Brodie Pringle, Head of Screen Commission. “We want [producers] to come here and shoot a production in its entirety. We want to move away from this idea that they can come here and shoot what we call a postcard of Scotland; they take plates of our amazing scenery and drop in the occasional CGI monster!”

Da Vinci’s Demons and a key figure behind the site’s expansion, pays tribute to the landlord, Roy Thomas. “When I approached him to turn what was a leaky warehouse with no power and no water into a film studio, he was very supportive,” says Thomas. “He gets it. He sees what a film studio can bring to a region.” Also supportive are Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. “They are pulling out all the stops to help us because they can see the benefits to the region,” says Thomas. “When a big production like Da Vinci’s Demons comes in and spends $30m in a season, that has a huge impact on the local community.” Wales’ third studio space is the revitalised Dragon Studios, long championed by the late Richard Attenborough, which has seen production on Doctor Who, The Bastard Executioner and films such as Mythic International Entertainment’s Ironclad. UK As evidenced by these examples, all the UK’s regions offer a diverse and ever-growing range of production facilities, with new and alternative shooting spaces continually being made available. The British Film Commission is always on hand to provide information about the countless filming opportunities available across the UK.


DRAM CATCHERS

The team behind Whisky Galore knew they could only make their film in Scotland, a region that offered the support they needed to realise their homespun yarn. Wendy Mitchell reports.

GRAEME HUNTER PICTURES

REGIONAL CASE STUDY SCOTLAND

Producer Alan J ‘Willy’ Wands on the set of Whisky Galore

A

lan J ‘Willy’ Wands, a producer on the worked on projects where alternative locations remake of Whisky Galore, knew he had such as Romania have doubled for Scotland, found one of the film’s key locations knew that Whisky Galore had to be shot at when he arrived at the fishing village of Porthome. “You couldn’t have done the Western soy in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. “The minute I Isles anywhere else,” he asserts. saw Portsoy, I knew it was Todday,” he recalls. “It’s got a unique 17th century harbour and it Grand designs was very easy to take it back in time.” While they did not shoot on the islands, the The fictional village of Little Todday and production worked in creative ways with mainGreat Todday feature in the beloved 1949 land Scotland’s shooting spaces; tank work was black-and-white Ealing Studios production, done in a Glasgow canal and one of the city’s inspired by the true story of the SS Politician, former warehouses was used for interior sets which ran aground in the Outer Hebrides in such as the Todday post office and the interior 1941 while carrying 246,000 bottles of whisky. hull of the ship. It is now being remade in glorious colour, The production also shot along the Ayrshire financed by private investors and the UK film coast, Loch Thom, in the former shipyards at tax credit, with director Gillies Mackinnon Govan, the Auld Kirk of St Monans in Fife, the (Small Faces) at the helm and a cast including village hall in Luss near Loch Lomond and James Cosmo, Gregor Fisher, John Sessions, the dramatic cliffs near St Abb’s Head. Eddie Izzard and Ellie Kendrick. One pivotal location was Geilston Having found their ideal location, the House, a National Trust property. “It’s a crew also enjoyed huge local support. period house, so with minimal “It  was sensational the way everybody dressing we could turn it in  Portsoy got behind it,” Location into what we wanted it Manager David Taylor notes. Aberto be,” Taylor says. deen City Council was “absolutely fan“Being at Geilston tastic to work with”, he adds, and the saved us on the production was able to shut down cost of building traffic in some areas of the village more sets.” In parand clear boats out of the harbour ticular, he credits a for a fortnight. strong working Eddie Izzard on the set of Whisky Galore Wands, who has previously relationship with

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“PORTSOY HAS A UNIQUE 17TH CENTURY HARBOUR, AND IT WAS VERY EASY TO TAKE IT BACK IN TIME” Alan J ‘Willy’ Wands, producer

Anna Rathband, Filming Manager for National Trust of Scotland. Creative Scotland supported the production by paying for eight days of early location scouting, and being on-hand throughout production. “The location department at Creative Scotland are great,” says Taylor. “When I’m filming I speak to them on a daily basis. They have a good knowledge of all locations. If you need a little jaunt along with a particular local authority, [Creative Scotland’s] Brodie Pringle can help cut through the layers of bureaucracy.” Wands adds that shooting in Glasgow has improved greatly after the creation of the city’s film charter and Glasgow Film Office, “which helps a lot”. He also praises the assistance of the city’s roads department and police, helped by their experience on big shoots such as World War Z. “Scotland has so much to offer and it’s full of stunning locations,” says Taylor. “We are a small country but it’s rural, so there are many areas that can look so different. And the cities [can be turned] into any other cities in the world.” UK


FILM IN SCOTLAND FOR THE PERFECT LOCATION

www.creativescotlandlocations.com E locations@creativescotland.com T +44 (0) 141 302 1724 Cover: Lower Lago Harbour, the East Neuk of Fife Photo: Keith Fergus/Scottish Viewpoint


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INTERVIEW DAVID YATES

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic FEATS

UK filmmaker David Yates is poised to deliver two of 2016’s biggest films, The Legend of Tarzan and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Wendy Ide talks to the in-demand director.

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elivering one tentpole studio release in a given year would be pressure enough for most filmmakers. Delivering two looks like madness. David Yates, who is in post-production on two key Warner Bros. 2016 releases, The Legend of Tarzan and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, puts it mildly: “You’re right, it’s just bonkers at the minute.” Yates, whose close relationship with Warner grew out of his stewardship of the final four instalments of the Harry Potter franchise, shows no sign of cracking. “It’s quite exciting,” he enthuses. “As ever, you have to just concentrate on the things you enjoy about the process, which is making the movie, knowing that the

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movies are good and fun, and rolling with that. With Potter, I never really thought about the moment when the movie would be released into the world; I just concentrated on what’s to hand, which was making the best possible film.” Balancing the post-production requirements of the two titles took some juggling but Tarzan, which shot in 2014, is near completion. “We were working on [Tarzan] for the whole of 2015, and we’re finishing it off now,” says Yates. “We’re doing the final touches, final visual effects, final bits of music. Whereas Beasts is a proper full-blown post-production experience right now. We are in the middle of editing. I  spend a couple of hours on Tarzan per day.

I just look and tweak. The majority of my time is spent on finishing Beasts, because Tarzan is in pretty good shape.” Yates admits he was cautious about choosing the project to follow on from Potter. He read a number of scripts that he felt just ticked boxes or were limited to a single concept or genre. Tarzan, however, stood out. Although he was initially concerned that as a property it might be a little dated, Yates says that the screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer “had so many elements that I found exciting”. He adds: “It’s emotional, it’s epic, it deals with some very interesting themes. And all of that is tied up in a very romantic action-adventure


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

story. Tarzan, in the way it had been conceived as a script, seemed to offer a richer experience. And that’s what excited me. That’s what I always liked about Potter, which was why it was so hard to find something to follow it. They were full meals, if you like, and Tarzan feels a little like that. As a storyteller, you want to engage a lot of muscles. It was a no-brainer when I read it.” A perfect match The Legend of Tarzan stars Alexander Skarsgard in the title role. Having left the jungle and settled into life in London, Tarzan is called back to Africa to investigate the suspect activities of a mining company. The shoot was split between Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK, and Gabon, on the west coast of central Africa. A recce to Gabon proved to be inspirational to Yates and his team. “We used the technology we have, the visual effects, to combine the foreground elements that we created back here in England with real Africa, for example in the riverboat sequences. Our DoP Henry Braham, who is amazingly gifted, shot all the principal action of Margot [Robbie, who plays Jane Porter] and Christoph [Waltz, Captain Rom] on our tank, back at Leavesden. We built the most exquisite riverboat for them to have the dialogue scenes on. Then Henry went out to Gabon in a helicopter, and spent three weeks tracking along all these rivers. He shot the background plates in exactly the same light that we shot all the foreground in. The marriage of the two is just uncanny.” Advances in technology meant Yates was able to perform sophisticated camera moves around the boat, and then tack in the Gabon footage around them. “So it’s a properly immersive experience, bringing two worlds together. It looks so authentic.” Although it plays as an action adventure rather than an effects-driven fantasy, Yates reveals that Tarzan contains more visual effects than any of his Harry Potter films. “That’s one of the reasons it has taken me so long to finish it.” In addition to seamlessly marrying the footage shot on sets with that captured in Gabon, specific challenges included creating a jungle full of animals. Given the extent of the effects work, Yates has companies from all over the world contributing to the project but is quick to praise home-grown effects talent. “Our UK visualeffects vendors are fantastic. If you look at Framestore or Double Negative, their work is exemplary. We have teams from both houses working on Tarzan and Beasts; they have done some absolutely wonderful work, and they always do. The UK is an absolute focal point

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Alison Sudol and David Yates on the set of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“OUR UK VISUALEFFECTS VENDORS ARE FANTASTIC. THE UK IS A FOCAL POINT FOR GREAT WORK” David Yates

for great work when it comes to any number of visual effects.” As the most prolific Potter director, Yates is inextricably linked to one of the UK film industry’s biggest success stories but, even so, he confesses that he had some reservations about revisiting JK Rowling’s world for Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts. “I thought it might be time to let someone else take over,” he says, “but I was very, very interested to read the screenplay.” Having read the script, written by Rowling, all thoughts of handing over the baton vanished. “I knew immediately I wanted to do it,” he says. The film follows the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of a seminal textbook on magic, as he discovers an underground community of witches and wizards in 1920s New York. Again, Yates chose to shoot in the UK. “We scouted in New York,” he says, “but 1920s New York has a very different look.” So, Yates and his team created ambitious sets at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, working again with Harry Potter Production Designer Stuart Craig. “He said to me, ‘This is the biggest set I have ever built’.” One of the opportunities that Yates relished with Fantastic Beasts was the chance to put his own stamp on the film, to build a world from scratch. “With the Potter films, the train had already left the sta-

tion. My job was to help the films grow up, mature, but so much of it was in place already.” The creative leeway offered by Fantastic Beasts was, he says, very exciting. “It feels more of a separate entity,” he says of the film’s place within the Potter universe. “It’s a very witty, charming screenplay.” Between the final Potter and Tarzan, Yates also found time to make a pilot for a US TV series, Tyrant. Does he see himself returning to long-form projects? “I would love to do more television. I really enjoyed doing Tyrant.” But that will have to wait. Yates reveals he is having so much fun in the world of Fantastic Beasts, he is not ready to leave just yet: he has already started thinking about its sequel. UK Warner Bros. will release The Legend of Tarzan in the US on July 1 and UK on July 8, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the US and UK on November 18

Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgard in The Legend of Tarzan

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Spotlight Talent

Flying the

flag

Julia Godzinskaya

Tom Harper (pictured below)

Producer

Credits include

Credits include

Contact

Cubs (short, 2006); Cherries (short, 2007); Demons (2009); The Scouting Book for Boys (2009); Misfits (2009); This is England ’86 (2010); Peaky Blinders (2013); War Book (2014); The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014); War & Peace (2016)

www.rooksnestentertainment.com

Awards and nominations

My Brother, The Devil (2012); The Truth About Emanuel (2013); Bluebird (2013); Exhibition (2013); Obvious Child (2014); Outpost 37 (2014); The Witch (2015)

Emily Greenwood Digital Online Editor, filmmaker

A round-up of emerging UK talents who are making a mark on the international stage. Adelayo Adedayo Actor Credits include

Gone Too Far (2013); Law and Order: UK (2014); Some Girls (2014); Unlocked (2016); Stan Lee’s Lucky Man (2016)

in a Broadcast Programme (Game of Thrones) 2014: BAFTA TV craft nomination for Visual Effects (Peaky Blinders) 2015: VES nomination for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Live Action Motion Picture (The Imitation Game) Contact

www.blue-bolt.com

Awards and nominations

2015: Screen International Star of Tomorrow

Lewis Arnold

Contact

Director

www.identityagencygroup.com

Credits include

Lucy AinsworthTaylor Visual-Effects Executive Producer, BlueBolt

Misfits (2013); Banana (2015); Humans (2015); Prey (2015) Awards and nominations

2015: Broadcast Hot Shot Contact

www.unitedagents.co.uk

Credits include

Game of Thrones (2011); The Iron Lady (2011); Cloud Atlas (2012); Skyfall (2012); Belle (2013); Peaky Blinders (2013); The Imitation Game (2014); Slow West (2015); Macbeth (2015); The Bastard Executioner (2015); The Last Kingdom (2015); War Machine (2016); Now You See Me 2 (2016); War & Peace (2016); Ali and Nino (2016); The 9th Life of Louis Drax (2016) Awards and nominations

2011: Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series (Game of Thrones) 2012: BAFTA TV award for Best Visual Effects (Great Expectations); Royal Television Society (RTS) nomination for Best Digital Effects (Great Expectations); Visual Effects Society (VES) award for Outstanding Effects

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Lucinda Coxon

Credits include

The Button (writer/director, short, 2005); A Neutral Corner (writer/ director, short, 2006); Quantum of Solace (2008); Fish Tank (2009); Green Zone (2010); Wuthering Heights (2011); Cold Warrior (writer/ director, short, 2012); The Woman in Black (2012); World War Z (2013); Paddington (2014); Spectre (2015); The Lady in the Van (2015); Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015); Hippie Hippie Shake (2016)

Director

2006: Encounters Film Festival BBC New Filmmakers Awards (Cubs) 2007: BAFTA nomination for Best Short (Cubs) 2008: Aspen Shortsfest Youth Jury Prize (Cherries) 2011: RTS nomination for Best Drama Serial (This is England ’86) 2015: Hamburg Film Festival nomination for Political Film Award (War Book); Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards nomination (Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death) Contact

www.unitedagents.co.uk

Hettie Macdonald Director Credits include

Awards and nominations

2013: Rhode Island International Film Festival award for Best Short; Valladolid International Film Festival Punto de Encuentro award, special mention; Edinburgh International Film Festival nomination for Best Short (all for Cold Warrior) Contact

www.emilygreenwood.co.uk

Beautiful Thing (1996); White Girl (2008); Hit & Miss (2012); The Tunnel (2013); Doctor Who (2007-15); Fortitude (2015-16) Awards and nominations

1996: Paris Film Festival Grand Prix; Sao Paulo International Film Festival International Jury Award honourable mention; European Film Award nomination (all for Beautiful

Writer Credits include

The Heart of Me (2002); Wild Target (2010); The Crimson Petal and the White (2011); The Danish Girl (2015) Awards and nominations

2012: BAFTA TV nomination for Best Mini-Series; Banff Television Festival nomination for Best Mini-Series; Broadcast Awards nomination for Best Mini-Series; RTS nomination for Best Drama Serial (all for The Crimson Petal and the White) 2015: Satellite Award nomination for Best Screenplay (The Danish Girl) 2016: BAFTA nomination for Best British Film (The Danish Girl) Contact

www.theagency.co.uk

Tom Harper (right) with Paul Dano on the set of War & Peace


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Thing) 2008: Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (Doctor Who: Blink) 2009: BAFTA TV award for Best Single Drama (White Girl) 2013: BAFTA TV nomination for Best Director, Fiction (Hit & Miss) Contact

www.independenttalent.com

Alice Normington Production Designer Credits include

The Woman in White (1997); Great Expectations (1999); White Teeth (2002); Brideshead Revisited (2008); Nowhere Boy (2009); The Riot Club (2014); Suffragette (2015); Their Finest Hour and a Half (2016) Awards and nominations

1998: BAFTA TV award for Best Design (The Woman in White) 1999: RTS award for Best Production Design, Drama (Great Expectations) 2000: BAFTA TV nomination for Best Design (Great Expectations) 2003: BAFTA TV nomination for Best Production Design (White Teeth) 2008: Satellite Award nomination for Best Art Direction & Production Design (Brideshead Revisited) Contact

www.dencharnold.com

Ben Richardson Cinematographer Credits include

Nadia Stacey with Paddy Considine on the set of Journeyman

nomination for Best Cinematography; St Louis Film Critics Association nomination for Best Cinematography (all for Beasts of the Southern Wild) 2013: Independent Spirit award for Best Cinematography; Chlotrudis Awards nomination for Best Cinematography; Evening Standard British Film Awards nomination for Best Technical Achievement; London Critics’ Circle nomination for Technical Achievement of the Year (all for Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Seed (short, 2009); Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012); Drinking Buddies (2013); The Fault in our Stars (2014); Digging for Fire (2015); Table 19 (2016); Sand Castle (2016); Wind River (2017)

Contact

Awards and nominations

Long Way Round (2004); The Week We Went to War (2009); Perfect Sense (2011); Citadel (2012); Misfits (2012); Starred Up (2013); The Riot Club (2014); Brooklyn (2015); Pressure (2015); Trespass Against Us (2016); Comancheria (2016)

2010: Chicago International Film Festival nomination for Best Short; Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Animated Short (both for Seed) 2012: Sundance Film Festival award for Best Cinematography; Awards Circuit Community nomination for Best Cinematography; Camerimage Golden Frog nomination; San Diego Film Critics Society nomination for Best Cinematography; Satellite Awards

Naomi Scott Actor Credits include

Life Bites (2009); Terra Nova (2011); The 33 (2015); The Martian (2015); Power Rangers (2017)

Contact

www.unitedagents.co.uk

Thea Sharrock Director

Jake Roberts Editor

Awards and nominations

Credits include

2014: Online Film & Television Association nominations for Best Directing and Best Writing of a Motion Picture or Mini-Series (both for The Hollow Crown) Contact

www.unitedagents.co.uk

Nadia Stacey (pictured above)

Awards and nominations

Hair and Make-Up Designer

2014: Irish Film and Television Awards nomination for Best Editing (Starred Up)

Credits include

www.casarotto.co.uk

www.unitedagents.co.uk

Jack Thorne

2015: Screen International Star of Tomorrow

The Hollow Crown (2012); Call the Midwife (2014); Me Before You (2016)

Contact

Contact

Awards and nominations

Credits include

www.benrichardson.com

Spotless (2015); Bill (2015); The Sense of an Ending (2016); Eddie the Eagle (2016); The Girl With all the Gifts (2016); Journeyman (2017)

Tyrannosaur (2011); Sightseers (2012); A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012); Spike Island (2012); The Fear (2012); In the Flesh (2013); Pride (2014);

Writer Credits include

Skins (2007-09); The Scouting Book for Boys (2009); Cast Offs (2009); This is England ’86 (2010); The Fades (2011); This is England ’88 (2011); A Long Way Down (2014); War Book (2014); Glue (2014); This is England ’90 (2015); The Last Panthers (2015); Sandman (announced); His Dark Materials (announced) Awards and nominations

2009: London Film Festival award for Best Newcomer (The Scouting Book for Boys) 2011: RTS award for Best Writer; RTS nomination for Best Drama Serial (both for This is England ’86) 2012: BAFTA for Best Drama Series (The Fades); BAFTA for Best Mini-Series (This is England ’88); BAFTA nomination for Best Writer; RTS nomination for Best Drama Series (both The Fades); Writers’ Guild of Great Britain nomination for Best Writer (This is England ’88) Contact

www.casarotto.co.uk

UK

75


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Tax Rebate – 20%-25%: The Production will be able to qualify for the local Tax Rebate filming at: Hungary, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia & New Zealand.

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cardingtonstudios.com tel +44 1234 780100


WALES REGIONAL CASE STUDY

The Collection

BANG ON TREND

Wales proved the perfect fit for Amazon Prime’s original drama The Collection, boasting the studio space and behind-the-scenes talent to help recreate post-Second World War Paris. By Stuart Kemp.

T

he list of famous fashion capitals traditionally runs Paris, Milan, London, New York. But all that may change when The Collection, the first UK original drama backed by Amazon Prime, streams later this year. Set in the world of French haute couture after the Second World War, and following the fortunes of two brothers at an illustrious Paris fashion house, season one of the eight-part drama is written and co-produced by Ugly Betty creator Oliver Goldstick and shot extensively in Swansea, south Wales. UK Executive Producer Kate Croft originated the series with Goldstick via her exclusive development and production deal with Lookout Point, the production company in which BBC Worldwide has a 35% stake. It is directed by Emmy award-winning Dearbhla Walsh (Penny Dreadful), who took the first block of four, and Dan Zeff, who directed the remainder. Goldstick moved his family over from the US to lead the creative team. “As a writer and showrunner, Oliver is very clever at creating and writing big shows largely based in studios with not very much location work,” says Croft. “We very quickly realised the vision Oliver had in his head for the fashion house was so particular that we weren’t going

“FROM GRIPS TO SET DECORATORS, THE WELSH CREWS ARE AS GOOD AS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD” Selwyn Roberts, Producer

to find anything ready made, and we would have to create it.” Croft and the show’s BAFTA-winning Producer Selwyn Roberts (Parade’s End) put their heads together to find a suitable UK studio space after looking at Prague and Hungary. Bay Studios in Wales had experience of large-scale TV productions, as it had housed the Starz/BBC Worldwide co-production Da Vinci’s Demons, and it eventually hosted the show for 15 weeks, with pre-production beginning in late 2015 and principal photography beginning in January 2016. The production occupied two-and-a-half stages, utilised the vast backlot and built Parisian streets outside. It also shot at Swansea’s historic Guildhall. Sunny delights The biggest challenge during the shoot, however, came as something of a shock: Wales was just too sunny. “It’s the best worst thing that

could happen when you’re shooting outside,” laughs Croft. “It’s not something normally associated with Wales. But it is south Wales.” One thing that was no surprise, however, was the calibre of the region’s talent. “From the set builders, to electricians, to grips, set decorators and costumes, the quality of the Welsh crews is as good as anywhere in the world,” Roberts says. “They’re good value for money too, and will go the extra mile.” Financial support from the Welsh government and the UK high-end TV tax relief also helped. Season one also shot in Paris and a chateau on the outskirts of the French capital, allowing The Collection to qualify for French funding and backing from France 3. Federation Entertainment’s Pascal Breton is the French coproduction partner while the show has investment from the Pinewood Wales Investment Budget and Pinewood Studios. The production’s proximity to airports in Cardiff and Bristol, with regular direct flights to Paris, was also convenient for the French cast and crew. “We are Paris-Swansea,” Croft says, “which is wonderful.” UK The Collection will be available to stream in the UK on Amazon Prime from late 2016

77


FEATURE ASK THE BFC

Support NETWORK

Iain Smith

Adrian Wootton

I would describe the BFC as the shop window for our industry in all its aspects, with a remit to bring productions into the country. Not only are we attracting these productions but we’re also out there trying to understand what’s happening in the international business, because we need to be alert to change, technological and global, to new markets and sources of production financing. We have to look at the competition, and keep an eye on the countries that are creating tax reliefs and growing their infrastructure. The two things that make the UK work are the tax credit environment, which is very friendly, and the skills that we have — the

The BFC is effectively the go-to organisation for any production wanting to make a film or high-end television project in the UK. Whether the question is about locations, tax reliefs, infrastructure, where to shoot or accessing the right contacts, the BFC has it covered. There is no request too big or too small, we’re always happy to share our knowledge. We have close industry partnerships with all the trade bodies, all the guilds and the people on the ground because we can’t be effective unless the industry understands we are batting on their behalf and, conversely, when we receive production enquiries we know how to resolve them. The BFC is very

“It’s all very well having the ‘sell sell sell’, but you must have the capacity to deliver” Iain Smith

“To be successful, you have to be proactive. we pride ourselves on being just that” Adrian Wootton

ability to actually do the work at the highest level. And it’s critical the BFC is closely involved in the education and training of that talent. I chair the Film Skills Council at Creative Skillset, and also the Film Industry Training Board, specifically because I see it as two sides of a coin. It’s all very well having the ‘sell sell sell’ but you have to make sure you have the capacity to deliver. Looking to the future, it’s very important to think about how we build a more sustainable base. Part of that is to encourage indigenous production, and the creation of intellectual property that at the moment is not looked after enough. It’s not normally something with which a film commission would concern itself, but we do — and me in particular. I keep drilling into the BFI and others that we must have that crossover. We can’t just be about big films coming into the UK; we have to build a foundation we can rely on for decades to come. We should enjoy our success, but not rest on our laurels.

much about a symbiotic relationship with the industry and all of our partners around the UK. Of course we recognise how important London and the south east are in terms of studios and infrastructure, but we are always keen that people know what’s available across the whole country. Considering the volume of film and high-end television that comes out of the US, the working relationship between the BFC’s UK and US offices is also crucial. We have a highly experienced team in Los Angeles that knows the US industry and has an ongoing dialogue with those working within it. We have advance notice on key projects, so we can proactively advise clients on the changes and improvements we have in the UK. It’s a cliché but the early bird really does catch the worm: to be successful and continue attracting significant inward investment into the UK, you have to be proactive — and we pride ourselves on being just that.

Chair, British Film Commission and Producer (Mad Max: Fury Road, 24: Live Another Day)

78

Chief Executive, British Film Commission and Film London


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

The British Film Commission’s close relationships with the UK’s screen agencies and the industry at large, along with its dedicated Los Angeles office, are key to the wide-ranging support it offers productions shooting on our shores.

Kattie Kotok

Samantha Perahia

My role as head of the BFC’s Los Angeles office is primarily one of business development and tracking projects. We identify clients and projects that might be a fit for the UK and assist to make producing their project in the UK straightforward and seamless. I work very closely with the UK office, and we act as a tag team to bring in projects, address queries and follow up with clients. We keep each other up to date on all our outreach and activity. The US office is usually more involved in the early stages of projects, and can guide productions in a timely and beneficial manner. We also work to promote the UK industry and talent as a whole.

A lot of international screen agencies act as a flag or a marketing agency, but the BFC has always aimed to be a free production office working with and alongside productions. The industry is all about relationships — communication and trust between the BFC and our clients is integral to everything we do. It’s key for us to know everybody we need to work with in the UK. If, for example, I’m asked to help find a line producer, I will go straight to the Production Guild and we’ll work to put together an availability list of the most appropriate of their members. If we can’t answer somebody directly then we will know someone who can, and it’s fair to

“us productIons are very receptIve to the uK, attracted by Its reputatIon FOR HIGH-CALIBRE SERVICES” Kattie Kotok

“THE INDUSTRY IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS — communIcatIon and trust Is Integral to everythIng we do” Samantha Perahia

We hold networking events for UK filmmakers and talent at Sundance and Toronto with our BFI partners. We host UK Film & TV Week Los Angeles to showcase the UK production sector to the US industry, and also offer clients our annual familiarisation trips, which bring US film and television decision-makers to the UK for a tour of the locations, facilities and infrastructure. US film and high-end television productions are very receptive to shooting in the UK. They are attracted by the tax credits, but also by the UK’s rich history of film and television production and its reputation for delivering professional, high-calibre services. Many US companies already work with UK talent, and this is a natural extension of that set-up. Additionally, with the film and television businesses becoming ever more global it is an international destination, but there is still an innate familiarity that is reassuring to American producers, studios and networks.

say the national and regional screen agencies are a microcosm of that within their own areas. The success of films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre, along with the global profile of indigenous UK titles, proves the tax relief is working and the UK infrastructure is the best in the world. On the high-end television side there is more business development to be done, which is very exciting, and on the film side we’re busy but we’re never full. By 2017, Pinewood will have doubled in size. Northern Ireland has announced major new stages. Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden has expanded. Everything is being done to increase capacity. We’re a tiny island, and we forget sometimes how extraordinary it is that we produce so much talent.

Executive Vice President, US Production

Head of Production UK

For more information, visit www.britishfilmcommission.org.uk Twitter @filminuk_BFC

79


BRITISH FILM COMMISSION

UK IN FOCUS 2016

Sponsors and Supporters British Film Commission Funders British Film Institute (BFI) 21 Stephen Street London W1T 1LN +44 (0)20 7255 1444 www.bfi.org.uk Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 100 Parliament Street London SW1A 2BQ +44 (0)20 7211 6000 enquiries@culture.gov.uk www.culture.gov.uk UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) 1 Victoria Street London SW1H 0ET +44 (0)20 7215 5000 www.ukti.gov.uk British Film Commission Sponsors Gold Partners

Harbottle & Lewis Hanover House 14 Hanover Square London W1S 1HP +44 (0)20 7667 5000 www.harbottle.com HBO 2500 Broadway, Suite 400 Santa Monica CA 90404 +1 310 382 3616 www.hbo.com Pinewood Studios Group Pinewood Studios Pinewood Road Iver Heath Bucks SL0 0NH +44 (0)1753 659200 sales@pinewoodgroup.com www.pinewoodgroup.com Saffery Champness 71 Queen Victoria Street London EC4V 4BE +44 (0)20 7841 4000 info@saffery.com www.saffery.com Walt Disney 3 Queen Caroline Street London W6 9PE +44 (0)20 8222 1000 www.disney.co.uk Warner Bros. Entertainment UK ltd 98 Theobald’s Road London WC1X 8WB +44 (0)20 7984 5400 www.warnerbros.co.uk

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Silver Partners

3 Mills Studios Three Mill Lane London E3 3DU +44 (0)20 8215 3330 www.3mills.com BBC Worldwide Television Centre 101 Wood Lane London W12 7FA +44 (0)20 8433 2000 www.bbcworldwide.com The Bottle Yard Studios Whitchurch Lane Bristol BS14 0BH +44 (0)1275 890 954 www.thebottleyard.com Coutts & Co 440 Strand London WC2R 0QS +44 (0)20 7753 1000 www.coutts.com Double Negative Visual Effects 160 Great Portland Street London W1W 5QA +44 (0)20 7268 5000 info@dneg.com www.dneg.com Elstree Studios Shenley Road Borehamwood Hertfordshire WD6 1JG +44 (0)20 8953 1600 info@elstreestudios.co.uk www.elstreestudios.co.uk Framestore 19-23 Wells Street London W1T 3PQ +44 (0)20 7344 8000 www.framestore.com MPC 127 Wardour Street London W1F 0NL +44 (0)20 7434 3100 www.moving-picture.com Working Title Films 26 Aybrook Street London W1U 4AN +44 (0)20 7307 3000 www.workingtitlefilms.com British Film Commission National Advisory Board Chair of the British Film Commission Advisory Board Iain Smith British Film Commission The Arts Building Morris Place London N4 3JG +44 (0)20 7613 7675 enquiries@ britishfilmcommision.org.uk www.britishfilmcommission.org. uk

Framestore 19-23 Wells Street London W1T 3PQ +44 (0)20 7344 8000 www.framestore.com

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) 1 Victoria Street London SW1H 0ET +44 (0)20 7215 5000 www.ukti.gov.uk

British Film Institute (BFI) 21 Stephen Street London W1T 1LN +44 (0)20 7255 1444 www.bfi.org.uk

Harbottle & Lewis Hanover House 14 Hanover Square London W1S 1HP +44 (0)20 7667 5000 www.harbottle.com

Warner Bros. Entertainment UK ltd 98 Theobald’s Road London WC1X 8WB +44 (0)20 7984 5400 www.warnerbros.co.uk

British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC) 3rd floor 14 Newburgh Street London W1F 7RT +44 (0)20 7287 1111 www.bsac.uk.com

Mayor of London Greater London Authority City Hall The Queen’s Walk London SE1 2AA +44 (0)20 7983 4000 www.london.gov.uk

Creative England 1st floor, College House 32-36 College Green Bristol BS1 5SP +44 (0)20 8324 2311 production@creativeengland. co.uk www.creativeengland.co.uk

Northern Ireland Screen 3rd floor, Alfred House 21 Alfred Street Belfast BT2 8ED Northern Ireland +44 (0)28 9023 2444 info@northernirelandscreen. co.uk www.northernirelandscreen. co.uk

BBC Worldwide Television Centre 101 Wood Lane London W12 7FA +44 (0)20 8433 2000 www.bbcworldwide.com

Creative Scotland Waverley Gate 2-4 Waterloo Place Edinburgh EH1 3EG +44 (0)845 603 6000 enquiries@creativescotland. com www.creativescotland.com Creative Skillset Focus Point 21 Caledonian Road London N1 9GB +44 (0)20 7713 9800 info@creativeskillset.org www.creativeskillset.org Directors UK 3rd and 4th floor 8-10 Dryden Street London WC2E 9NA +44 (0)20 7240 0009 info@directors.uk.com www.directors.uk.com Double Negative Visual Effects 160 Great Portland Street London W1W 5QA +44 (0)20 7268 5000 info@dneg.com www.dneg.com Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) +44 (0)7914 397243 info@feutraining.org www.feutraining.org Film London The Arts Building Morris Place London N4 3JG +44 (0)20 7613 7676 info@filmlondon.org.uk www.filmlondon.org.uk

Pinewood Studios Group Pinewood Studios Pinewood Road Iver Heath Bucks SL0 0NH +44 (0)1753 659200 sales@pinewoodgroup.com www.pinewoodgroup.com

Wales Screen Welsh Government Creative Sector 4th floor, Bayside St Line House Mount Stuart Square Cardiff Bay CF10 5LR +44 (0)29 2044 4241 penny.skuse@wales.gsi.gov.uk www.walesscreen.com Wiggin 10th floor, Met Building 22 Percy Street London W1T 2BU +44 (0)20 7612 9612 law@wiggin.co.uk www.wiggin.co.uk UK Screen Agencies Creative England 1st floor, College House 32-36 College Green Bristol BS1 5SP +44 (0)20 8324 2311 production@creativeengland. co.uk www.creativeengland.co.uk

Producers’ Association of Cinema & Television (Pact) 3rd floor, Fitzrovia House 153-157 Cleveland Street London W1T 6QW +44 (0)20 7380 8230 www.pact.co.uk

Film London The Arts Building Morris Place London N4 3JG +44 (0)20 7613 7676 info@filmlondon.org.uk www.filmlondon.org.uk

Production Guild of Great Britain Room 329 Main Admin Building Pinewood Studios Pinewood Road Iver Heath Bucks SL0 0NH +44 (0)1753 651767 pg@productionguild.com www.productionguild.com

Northern Ireland Screen 3rd floor, Alfred House 21 Alfred Street Belfast BT2 8ED Northern Ireland +44 (0)28 9023 2444 info@northernirelandscreen. co.uk www.northernirelandscreen. co.uk

Saffery Champness 71 Queen Victoria Street London EC4V 4BE +44 (0)20 7841 4000 info@saffery.com www.saffery.com UK Screen Association 2nd floor, Waverley House 7-12 Noel Street London W1F 8GQ +44 (0)20 7734 6060 victoria@ukscreenassociation. co.uk www.ukscreenassociation.co.uk

Creative Scotland Waverley Gate 2-4 Waterloo Place Edinburgh EH1 3EG +44 (0)845 603 6000 enquiries@creativescotland.com www.creativescotland.com Wales Screen Welsh Government Creative Sector 4th floor, Bayside St Line House Mount Stuart Square Cardiff Bay CF10 5LR +44 (0)29 2044 4241 penny.skuse@wales.gsi.gov.uk www.walesscreen.com


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BEN LESTER Editor, The Night Manager, BBC

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