The London Film Commission has finally got off the ground and will
launch officially later this year (Campaign Craft, this issue). It is
Ask any producer and they will tell you that the main problem with
shooting commercials in London has been the lack of a city-wide
commission to liaise with the web of official bodies, from borough
offices, to bodies controlling everything from parks to canals.
Toronto has the definitive film commission, New York is pretty good -
even the Isle of Man has got its act together. In these places, they
roll out the red carpet for visiting film-makers. In London, for too
long, they have rolled out the red tape.
Shooting in US cities, the worst you have to contend with is the odd
nutter sounding off about his rights and your wrongs. When this happens
in London, as one producer quipped, the chances are the person in
question is your contact at the local council permissions office.
That the move has happened now is thanks to the hard work of the
commission’s first director, Christabel Albery; to a pounds 100,000
grant from the Department of National Heritage; and to additional monies
from Shepperton Studios, Pearson Television, the BBC, Channel 4
Television, and many other bodies.
But change will not happen overnight. The launch film - to be created by
Saatchi and Saatchi and produced by RSA Films - will play a crucial part
in selling the Commission to Londoners. And although there are some
boroughs with film officers (it is no accident that Patriot Games and
The Madness of King George were shot on location in Greenwich), around
half of London’s 33 cash-strapped boroughs have no such officer.
The commission will put London in a prime position to increase its share
of the market for film-making, from features to commercials and
documentaries. All related industries, from car hire to hotels, will