OPINION: Film Commission gives hope for all businesses

The London Film Commission has finally got off the ground and will launch officially later this year (Campaign Craft, this issue). It is about time.

The London Film Commission has finally got off the ground and will

launch officially later this year (Campaign Craft, this issue). It is

about time.



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

benefit.



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