FilmFixer – filming at heritage and listed buildings

Danson House Interior 1 c Hugh Sharma

During a decade as a Film Service provider, FilmFixer has successfully overseen filming at vital listed buildings across London and in Suffolk, including the Grade I listed Boston Manor House and Gunnersbury Park Museum (Hounslow), Helmingham Hall (Suffolk), and Crystal Palace Park Subway (Bromley).

We have an in-depth understanding of the cultural and historical importance of heritage venues and we understand that their preservation can prove costly for local councils and communities.

We are therefore committed to facilitating well-managed and closely supervised filming in heritage venues so that they can reap the resulting financial benefits (both through direct income and positive PR), safe in the knowledge that their unique sensitives will be handled.

Our approach to heritage venues starts by liaising closely with relevant stakeholders and experts to understand the building’s specific restrictions and to establish a robust set of terms and conditions. Only then do we publicise it as a potential filming location.

We take each request on a strict case-by-case basis, automatically diverting students, low-budget or inexperienced productions to more appropriate locations. We need to be sure that a production’s budget will comfortably cover the necessary care, insurance, damage deposit, and reinstatement, and that their crew is sufficiently experienced.

Once requests have been vetted by us and permission provisionally agreed by the venue manager, we start a process of consultation to establish every detail of the production’s intentions (e.g. positioning of equipment, set dressing, lighting specs, access plan). We identify red flags (e.g. naked flames, haze or smoke effects) and instruct modifications wherever necessary.

In Bexley, we are proud of our ongoing, collaborative relationship with the Council and its heritage sites, cemented by the efforts of our dedicated Film Officer. Under our management, filmmakers at Bexley’s heritage venues have readily honoured all T&Cs and special requests (such as the specialist handling of historical artefacts at Hall Place) and we continue to reinforce the importance of this diligence across the board.

Having established this status quo, we are best placed to continue to reinforce it. We aim to secure repeats of immense filming successes such as Oscar-winning feature film The Favourite at Danson House and Netflix’s Golden Globe success, The Crown at Hall Place, whilst placing the protection of Bexley’s heritage assets at the core of our processes.

CASE STUDY

Our Film Officer, Max Healey, recently facilitated a one-day shoot by Maverick Media at Danson House. He approached the relevant Council staff with a clear proposal and mediated detailed liaison between the production and venue. Factors that were addressed and responsibly resolved included (but were not limited to) using blu tack, hot food catering, and the clearing of the basement. Max carried out a site visit on the shoot day to ensure that everything was playing out as agreed.

Thanks to Max’s diligence, both council stakeholders and the production were thrilled by the outcome of the shoot, with Anna Strange-Bennet of Danson House reporting that “the crew were really mindful, and the house was treated with great respect.”