Danson House, setting for a royal mud bath

Danson House, setting for a royal mud bath

The Favourite,  Yorgos Lanthimos’ bawdy baroque comedy has begun an impressive UK box office run after winning glory at the Venice Film Festival and at the Golden Globes.

The majority of the filming took place at Hatfield House.  However, two scenes were filmed in the beautiful Palladian villa, Danson House in Bexley.

The cavernous Victorian basement (shown here) provided the setting for the servant quarters where Abigail finds her new sleeping area on the floor and where, in another scene, she is given a less than dignified wash along with the other servants.

The crew then dressed another area of the basement kitchen to look like a much more luxurious Turkish bath. Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill share a mud bath here later in the film.

Staff from FilmFixer/Bexley Film Office were there to provide access to the park and worked with the crew to ensure that the shoot went smoothly and that no damages occurred in the grade I listed building while filming took place.

Employment opportunity case study

Cultivating employment opportunities in the screen industries for local aspiring talent.

The Challenge:

London’s ongoing film and TV production boom shows no sign of slowing.  With current levels of production there is an ever-increasing need for homegrown emerging talent.

Making that initial step into a career in the screen industries requires aspiring professionals to have personal connections or undertake multiple unpaid internships to build up their CVs and gain high profile film credits: critical to success in a highly competitive sector.

Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to introduce a more diverse talent base to the industry while at the same time providing opportunities for trainees to earn and learn on the job.

However, work in the screen industries is essentially freelance in nature with each production starting and finishing in a relatively short timeframe.  And as a result, current apprenticeship schemes lack relevance and flexibility.   

The short-term and freelance nature of contracts makes it difficult to devise an apprenticeship scheme able to support the apprentice fully to satisfy the key requirements as prescribed by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA).  

Additionally, the government mandatory apprenticeship levy does not sit comfortably in the film industry. Production companies, large and small, consider it a tax with little benefit and short-term, freelance productions find it hard to accommodate longer-term apprenticeship programmes or to meet the required outcome parameters such as apprenticeship standards.

The result of these factors: Vital work experience in the screen industries is often beyond the reach of many talented individuals

The Solution:

FilmFixer has placed social value, employment, and skills development at the heart of its new Film Office Service contracts.

The company been attempting to tackle this problem for many years by finding opportunity whenever possible with productions willing to participate and help new entrants gain a foothold in the industry.

Priority has been on placing residents in each local borough from diverse communities and backgrounds within the locations department as grassroots support working as paid runners and marshals.    Recent suitable candidates have been sourced through a range of organisations and charities such as: ScreenSkillsCalltime Company and Creative Sparkworks, Fully Focused and Soapbox

FilmFixer also began to encourage larger productions to create opportunities, to ensure that training and job opportunities were available to local people. 

In order to show the value that filming could bring to the boroughs, FilmFixer had two priorities:

  • To enable residents, seeing filming going on in their areas, to access available opportunities and find work in the local film industry 
  • To allow everyone to participate, no matter what their background, gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, or geographic location

In exchange new talent would bring a fresh perspective to productions as well as a range of skills and expertise.

The Result:

Example One

Charlie Roskilly, Lime Pictures

FilmFixer encouraged Lime Pictures to take on some talented local runners when they filmed in Camden earlier this year. Sue Russo – FilmFixer’s Training and Development Manager – worked in conjunction with Camden council and their communities team to source aspiring new entrants into the film industry. Camden local Charlie won he position and spent ten weeks on Series 5 of E4’s Celebs Go Dating as a runner this summer. He impressed Lime Pictures so much that he was invited to return on a full-time contract for the next series. FilmFixer were delighted to have facilitated Charlie’s first step onto the industry ladder and to have created opportunity of such value.

Example 2

Omar Dick and Robin Barrett:  Phantom Thread & The Crimes of Grindewald.

Two trainees were taken on for work experience for four days during the filming in St Mary’s Gardens, Lambeth, from the local programme Creative Sparkworks.

For local trainees Omar Dick and Robin Barrett, exposure to a production of this scale was a real shot in the arm for their careers, as employers are always looking for as many high-profile film credits as possible.

“It was hard work but Robin said afterwards the range of tasks had given him a good grounding in how the locations department operates, adding that the team at Triton Films was so friendly it was a pleasure working for them and he really felt like part of the team.

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FilmFixer is committed to finding meaningful career ladder opportunities for industry talent.

To affect change, FilmFixer is working in collaboration with Screen Skills and DIVA who are supporting “trailblazer” employer groups. These groups are developing new apprenticeship standards, which are replacing the previous frameworks in England and will make apprenticeships a more realistic choice for the film industry at large.

FilmFixer plans to introduce an additional annual apprenticeship that will recruit directly from its client boroughs. The company will proactively signpost emerging talent towards “trailblazer” employers, who we see as the future of the film industry.

Two Camden businesses are Visa high street heroes

Two independent Camden businesses amongst high street heroes in Visa’s Christmas Advert

Visa has given the Christmas format a new twist and focused on independent shop keepers.  Their Christmas campaign highlights the magic of the high street at Christmas and celebrates independent shopkeepers, two of them in Camden.

The advert shines a spotlight on nine real shopkeepers – including a butcher, a baker, a bookseller and a florist – who are the heroes of Britain’s high streets.

Two local Camden businesses: West End Books on West End Lane in West Hampstead, and Belsize Terrace Fruiterers in Belsize Park were featured and the delightful snow scene at the end of the advert was filmed on Belsize Terrace.

FilmFixer was there to make sure everything ran smoothly and disruption to residents and local business was kept to a minimum.

The production crew also made generous donations to Age UK Camden’s the Warm Heart Campaign as well as to the Belsize Residents Association.

ASDA’s Christmas Advert 2018 – Filming in Barnet

ASDA has released its energetic and fun-filled Christmas Campaign about the excitement of bringing Christmas home.

Part of the advert was filmed inside a private house in Chandros Avenue.

FilmFixer worked with the production, notifying residents in advance and keeping disruption in the street to a minimum.  They also helped the production crew to find a unit base nearby at Brook Farm Open Space.

The production made a donation to Love Whetstone, a group of volunteers, supported by local residents, who put the money towards the Christmas Tree on the High Road.

Speaking on behalf of Love Whetstone, Maria Jordan commented on the donation:

“As a group of volunteers supported by local residents we are behind a number of initiatives in Whetstone, in particular at this time of year, funding the Christmas Tree on the High Road. This is a big outlay for a small group such as ours.  The Tree provides the focal point for carol concerts with a number of local schools participating and brings together many residents and visitors at this festive time of year.”

New FilmFixer website and branding

Welcome to our new website!

 We’re pleased to announce that we have updated our branding and revamped our website.

Our new concentric circles branding aims to represent a positive ripple effect bringing benefits to boroughs, residents and film makers.  We’re at the centre of it.

We’ve also extended this branding to represent our boroughs and private clients.

New pages and sections on the website

The new look website has been designed to make it easier to find the information you need.

We’ve added new sections:  case studies, searchable news feed, blogs, more information about the company and our team and an additional page for our social value, employment and training.

We’ve also redesigned the ‘Apply to film page’, enabling you to see all the boroughs and private locations we currently manage.  Click these links to go to the corresponding FilmApp page.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact through the contact us page.

 

Guide to starting a film office service

So, your local authority is sold on the idea of attracting more filming. Good work. Productions are spending up to £100,000 a day in local neighbourhoods, on accommodation, transport, catering, and renting homes and businesses as locations.

There’s also the feel-good factor – the economic impact of increased tourism, and attracting more businesses to your area because of its enhanced reputation. Why are we seeing so much opportunity with film productions? Thanks to tax incentives and the weaker pound, the UK’s film industry is now worth £1.6bn, it’s grown by 78% since 2014.

Now, how do you get started?

1. You’ll need a film officer

This is usually a full-time member of staff, who acts as the key point of contact for the film industry. They take calls from film location managers and fulfil their requests for permits.

When they are issuing licences and permits on behalf of your authority, they make sure all local filming conforms to Film London’s the code of practice. This covers everything from temporary structures, pyrotechnics and protecting residents, to film insurance and risk management.

They work with residents and businesses to protect them from disruption. They also work with other bodies like the civil aviation authority, local police, transport providers, nature groups, canal trusts, any other group affected by the shoot.

2. You’ll need film champions across the departments

Your film officer will be liaising across many departments on a daily basis. Identify those officers who are willing and able to help, and quick to respond.

They will include champions in:
Parking
Housing
Property
Recreation
Traffic management and environmental services for roads and pavement access
Events, to make sure locations aren’t already booked up for a festival or street party.
Even cemeteries

3. Adopt a sense of urgency

Film productions will return time and again to those neighbourhoods where they know the permits will be processed on time. They need very quick responses. They need people to pick up the phone or answer an email urgently. They then need almost immediate action to make the licensing possible. If they don’t think they’ll get that permit in their hands in good time, they’ll move on.

Just as they could film Turkey in Croydon for American Assassin, Whitehall in Manchester for Darkest Hour or Morocco In Suffolk for Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, your locations could be doubled anywhere else.

4. You’ll also need to be patient and philosophical

For reasons completely outside the location manager’s control, they might move on. This is a very flexible and mobile industry.

Scenes are cancelled at the last minute, filming is re-scheduled. Sometimes a shoot is planned around the American star wanting to film in the UK so they can bring their children during school holidays.

It’s important to be gracious, because those same location managers will be back, if they know the service is good.

5. Offer discounted office space, luring the entire production

Every shoot needs a production office, somewhere they’ll operate out of for the length of the shoot – that might be six weeks, sometimes six months.

That means production spend will go into local business and residents pockets each day for the duration of the shoot. And nearby locations will become more attractive, adding even more business to the books.

Do you have empty office space, or even school or hospital space, that the production could work out of?

The Monty Python team for example, used Islington’s Ashmount School as a production office while they were filming Absolutely Anything.

The space might also be offered in exchange for trainee placements or entry level roles for local young people. Youngers, filming in Peckham in Southwark is a great example.

6. Be open minded about how you can help

It sounds boring but the best way to attract filming is a commitment to handle parking quickly and effectively. A good council provides a parking permit on the same day, a difficult council will insist on 14 days’ notice for a parking suspension.

Accommodating parking could mean a unit base of up 150 vehicles for big productions, more often it’s, on average, seven technical vehicles, 12 large unit facilities and 25 cars.

Multi-level car parks like Secure Parking on Bloomsbury Square in Camden, or parking at recreation grounds such as Croydon’s Addington Park are invaluable resources.

Period shoots will always need to clear the area of modern cars. So, it’s important to work with residents to offer alternative parking, make sure deliveries can get through, and be aware of whether sick or pregnant residents might need urgent access to their cars.

Remember that filming on housing estates is not always about gritty crime dramas. Ikea, Lucozade and Selfridges have produced gorgeous work on housing estates.

Don’t forget your cemeteries. Lambeth officers helped out Sean Penn’s The Gunman by digging the production a fake grave and crematorium staff in Islington even played onscreen roles in Rellick.

Your own council office can double as anywhere. Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House in Ipswich played a slick office in the City of London.

Don’t forget your old town hall and other buildings. In The Crown, Bromley’s Old Town Hall played Conservative Party headquarters in the 1950s, with Churchill arriving amid 150 onlookers.

Your parks can double as the countryside like Southwark’s Burgess Park did for Suffolk in Fearless.

And don’t forget your historic treasures like Danson House in Bexley (pictured above), that hosted Tom Hardy in Taboo.

6. You will need great software

You need a really good computer system to administer the permits and take payments. They should capture every update and make sure everyone involved in the decision-making process can see what’s going on. It should retain records of all decisions and permits. And it should accept online payments from anywhere, via phone and tablets as well as PCs, at any time.

Remember, your film officer will be liaising with residents and business outside your authority departments, along with other agencies like Transport for London, the Civil Aviation Authority, the local police and so on. Ideally your system will retain all their contact details and all your communication with them.

Hands up, we are affiliated with FilmApp from Apply4 Technology, and we must point out that other software is available.

7. Still not sure?

Some local authorities ask themselves whether it’s worth the bother. Some even believe film productions are welcome to come along without permits.

Remember, reputable productions will want permits. They need them for legal reasons when contracts for distribution, for example, are being drawn up. The companies they are dealing with need to be sure they had permission every step of the way. Every document will need to be in order.

Most residents will want to be reassured that they are being protected from disruption, or worse, damage to their neighbourhoods.

And even more importantly, remember how much your local residents and businesses have to benefit by well-managed filming.

The tenants and residents group of the Alexandra & Ainsworth estate in Camden has raised more than £40,000 through film associated activity since 2013, by hiring out its hall, for example.

Even more importantly, productions are offering local young people a leg up in the business, providing work experience and entry-level job opportunities. This has become the norm and we’ve seen it with productions from James Bond: Spectre, American Assassin, Criminal, Our Loved Boy, The Durrells and Guerrilla, just to name a few.

And lastly, some residents quite like the opportunity to see stars outside their front door. Some even find themselves hosting stars, like when Meryl Streep was filming Suffragette.

Karen Everett is a director of FilmFixer and of Screen Suffolk.

London film jobs for Londoners

Camden local Charlie Roskilly lands a full-time role with Lime Pictures.

With the support of Filmfixer’s training manager, Sue Russo, Charlie spent 10 weeks on Series 5 of Celebs Go Dating over the summer this year (2018), the series currently airing on E4 (October and November 2018).

Having impressed Lime Pictures as a freelance runner, he was invited to return on a full-time contract for the next series which starts filming this month (November 2018).

Sue Russo says “ Lime pictures were filming in the borough over a six month period. They were particularly keen to put something back into the community so we asked them to take on some new talented runners. We worked in conjunction with Camden council and their communities team in order to source aspiring new entrants into the film industry.”

Charlie was shortlisted from a large number of applicants and was subsequently sent for interview before being selected.

“It wouldn’t have happened without Sue,” Charlie says. “A lot of people working in these London roles are not from London.”

Sue explained that landing jobs in the screen industries often requires personal connections and doing unpaid internships which can put vital work experience beyond the reach of many talented individuals: “At Filmfixer we really believe this needs to change.”

She believes wholeheartedly that London’s screen industries can benefit enormously from employing people who are able to contribute a wide range of stories, outlooks and expertise. She is also working with key partners such as the BFI, Call Time, Film London’s Equal Access Network and Screen Skills, as well as production companies, to improve equality of opportunity in the industry.

“We encourage all the productions we work with, particularly the large ones, to ensure that training and job opportunities are being offered to local talent. It was obvious that Charlie would be a brilliant candidate.”

What has this opportunity meant to Charlie?

“I felt really welcomed by the Lime Pictures production team as well as the crew and celebs on the show, everyone has been cool. I think it’s a two way street, even though I was more junior everyone treated me with respect and it’s those sorts of things that keep you motivated.”

Charlie now has a foothold in the industry which will enable him to work towards his next career goal. Sue recently visited Charlie on set to see him at work. She was able to observe what a valued member of the team he had become. And they have already discussed his next steps to achieve his aspirations of working in research and development.

Camden New Journal

Fictional protection officer’s flat is in Stoneleigh Terrace

PRODUCERS behind one of the most-talked-about TV thrillers made donations to a primary school and residents’ associations after filming in Highgate.

The New Journal reported earlier this year how Bodyguard was partly shot in the neighbourhood. Richard Madden’s protection officer character David Budd has a flat in Stoneleigh Terrace, a key location in an upcoming episode, and film crews were allowed to used Brookfield Primary School as a base…

Read more

bustle.com

Where Was ‘On Chesil Beach’ Filmed? Location Is Central To This Sensitive Drama.

With three Academy Award nominations under her belt, Saoirse Ronan may be hoping that a return to her roots could finally secure her the trophy. On Chesil Beach, released May 18, is her second appearance in an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel, after her role in 2007’s Atonement, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. This new film is set a bit more recently, in 1962, and centres on a newly married couple honeymooning by a windy British beach (I’ll give you three guesses which one). But where exactly was On Chesil Beach filmed? …

Read more

The unappetising mouthful that filmed in period London streets: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The new wartime romantic movie Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society opens this weekend. Filmed largely in North Devon, where the county doubled as the island, there are also London-based scenes, easily glimpsed in the trailer.

In April last year, 60 cast and crew filmed on Sicilian Avenue in Bloomsbury, Camden, with a greenscreen at the end helping to convert the pedestrianised street into the appropriate period look. The avenue works beautifully as a period shopping street.

The House of Detention in Sans Walk, Islington, was used as the location for a lively 1940s jazz party with 60 cast and crew.

The action also takes place in front of the Malmaison Hotel and within the Charterhouse compound in Islington.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Islington and Camden. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “We understand that parts of Devon including Bideford, Clovelly, and Hartland served as Guernsey locations, with a second world war fighter plane even landing on Saunton Sands.

“But we’re also always pleased when London’s own period locations are able to play themselves, through sensitive and well managed film permitting.

“Sicilian Avenue in particular works very well – and was put to good use in a wartime period setting for the blockbuster Woman Woman.”

The film is about a writer who forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey in the aftermath of World War II, learning about about their experiences of life under Nazi occupation.