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Official: Mendes Returns for Bond 24

Daniel Craig

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, EON Productions; Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film and Sam Mendes will also return to direct the screenplay written by John Logan.

 

 

The film is set for release in the UK on October 23, 2015 and in the US on November 6, 2015.

SKYFALL the 23rd James Bond film, took in $1.1 billion worldwide and set a new mark as the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK; it was the best-selling Bond film on DVD/Blu-ray and was the most critically acclaimed film in the history of the longest-running film franchise.

Commenting on the announcement, Wilson and Broccoli said, “Following the extraordinary success of SKYFALL, we’re really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”

“I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.

Barber added, “We are thrilled to reunite the extraordinary talents of director Sam Mendes with our star Daniel Craig for the next great Bond adventure.” He added, “As evidenced by the phenomenal success of our last collaboration with EON Productions and Sony, the incredible legacy of this 51-year-old franchise continues to amaze.”

Pascal and Lynton said, “It’s a privilege to work on the Bond films. EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL and we, along with our partners at MGM, can’t wait to share this new chapter with audiences all over the world.”

 

 

 

UK Film Industry Busy as Hollywood Moves In

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You could be forgiven for thinking that Hollywood will be empty over the coming months, with several massive, big-budget American films using UK studios, locations and crew.

It may come as no great surprise following the news earlier this year that London has grown to become the third busiest filmmaking city in the world after LA and New York. Since the introduction of the UK tax relief scheme in 2007, the UK film industry has witnessed a growth of 75%. Around £150 tax credit was allocated during 2010-2011.

 

 

Here, in no particular order, we bring you a round-up of some of the projects that will be boosting the UK film industry over the next six months or so.

Production on one of the most talked-about films, Star Wars: Episode VII is due to be up and running in early 2014 with J.J. Abrams at the helm. The film is the latest in the hugely successful franchise, and comes from Lucasfilm, now owned by Disney. Although studios have yet to be confirmed, it is likely that Pinewood will be in the frame.

Disney is also working on its own big screen adaptation of Cinderella, due to shoot in the autumn at Pinewood Studios. Sir Kenneth Branagh is in the director’s chair for this one.

Similarly, another giant of US cinema, Marvel, is settling into its temporary UK home. Guardians of the Galaxy has been in pre-production for some time, with shooting starting up in late June. The James Gunn-directed feature is using Pinewood, Shepperton and Longcross Studios.

The other Marvel project currently gearing up is The Avengers 2. Lensing is due to begin in early 2014 at Shepperton and Pinewood, with Joss Whedon directing from his own screenplay.

An autumn shoot is slated for the much-anticipated big screen version of the successful 1960s TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The project comes from Warner Bros., and will be housed at the industry giant’s studio at Leavesden – the only Hollywood company with a permanent base in the UK. Guy Ritchie will direct.  

Also from Warner is Ron Howard’s maritime disaster movie, In the Heart of the Sea, now set up at Leavesden and eyeing an autumn start. The film recounts the true life story of American whaling ship The Essex, and how it was destroyed by a whale in 1820.  

Twentieth Century Fox are developing Exodus, the biblical epic to be directed by Sir Ridley Scott. The story of Moses is slated to start filming towards the end of this year at Pinewood Studios.

Across the water, Northern Ireland is hosting a Hollywood version of Dracula, starring Luke Evans and Sarah Gadon. Gary Shore directs this latest incarnation of the vampire legend, which comes from Michael De Luca Productions and Universal Pictures.

As you can see, it’s an exciting time for filmmaking in the UK with this burgeoning slate of films adding to the industry buzz.

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII to be filmed in UK

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The latest Star Wars film is to be made in the UK, producer Lucasfilm has said. The seventh movie in the sci-fi series is due to start production next year and is scheduled for release in 2015.

 

 

Chancellor George Osborne met executives from Disney-owned Lucasfilm in London earlier this year to discuss the plans and the production is thought to be eligible for a tax break.

In a statement, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, said: “We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilising the incredible talent there can be a part of that.”

The company said representatives from Lucasfilm met with Mr Osborne “to establish an agreement to produce Star Wars in the UK”.

Mr Osborne said: “Today’s announcement that the next Star Wars film will be shot and produced in the UK is great news for fans and our creative industries, and it is clear evidence that our incentives are attracting the largest studios back to the UK.

“I am personally committed to seeing more great films and television made in Britain.”

In recent years hundreds of films have benefitted from tax relief, which require that at least 25% of the total production expenditure takes place in the UK. Relief can be claimed on production expenditure in the UK, up to a maximum of 80% of the total budget.

Disney announced it would be making three new Star Wars films after it purchased Lucasfilm, the company started by Star Wars creator George Lucas, in October 2012. Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by JJ Abrams, from a script by Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt.

The six films in the series have grossed more than £2.8bn ($4.4bn) at the worldwide box office.

Pinewood and Ealing studios were also used for production of previous Star Wars films.

 

 Filming on previous Star Wars also took place in Britain at studios including Elstree, Shepperton and Leavesden.

 

The 1977 original, the Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983 were shot at UK studios, as well as on location across the world.

The series was revived in 1999 for three prequels. Studio production on the Phantom Menace took place at Leavesden studios in Hertfordshire, with Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith filmed in both the UK and Australia.

Lucasfilm has not confirmed where the new film would be made but Star Wars fans website Jedinews has speculated that Pinewood studios may be one of the sites.

Earlier this month, the Sun newspaper also reported that scenes would be shot in the Highlands and the Isle of Skye.

 

 

 

Tim Grohne Launches Primal Screen

Film News

Tim Grohne, former evp European operations at IM Global, is launching new London-based UK sales company Primal Screen ahead of the Cannes market.

Focusing on genre titles, Grohne’s slate includes Rise of the Appliances, a sci-fi comedy from writer director Rob Sprackling, writer of Gnomeo and Juliet and Mike Bassett: England Manager, noir-thriller LA Slasher and zombie feature The Wall.

 

 

“Filmmakers are fearful of their films being lost within over-crowded slates. My aim will be to focus greater attention on fewer films,” Grohne told ScreenDaily.

“Distributors are constantly trying to de-risk their acquisitions by finding projects with strong ideas and marketing hooks.

“All three films fit these criteria perfectly, in addition to which they are being made by enormously talented individuals. I believe that all three titles offer great value and a potential to generate real profits.”

Wales-set Rise of the Appliances, due to shoot later this summer, with producer Simon Sprackling currently in talks with UK cast, follows a dysfunctional family who survive a global uprising of domestic appliances by virtue of having had all of their electrical goods repossessed the day before.

“Rob [Sprackling] has already established himself as one of the UK and Hollywood’s most successful comedy screenwriters and his experience working with Studios and companies such as Henson’s and Aardman has given him the perfect platform from which to launch his career as a director,” said Grohne.

LA Slasher, a stylised neon-noir in which a number of celebrities are targeted by a mysterious killer, stars Mischa Barton, Danny Trejo, six-time WWE Champion Dave Bautista and Eric Roberts alongside Brooke Hogan, Drake Bell and Tori Black.

Currently in post-production and screening on promo in Cannes, the film marks the debut of UK director Martin Owen.

Primal Screen will also launch sales on The Wall - a zombie feature set in Berlin in which the infamous ‘wall’ has to be rebuilt in order to quarantine the city from an epidemic.

The film will be directed by Moritz Mohr and produced by Benjamin Munz of Rat Pack Productions, with principal photography set to shoot later in the year.

Industry vet Grohne joined Stuart Ford’s sales team at First Look International in 2007, prior to the company’s acquisition and re-branding as IM Global.

Headquartered in London, the exec covered major European territories and helped source projects including The Inbetweeners Movie and Welcome to the Punch.

He previously co-founded sales outfit Celsius Entertainment with Thierry Wase-Bailey and spent six years at agency The Creative Partnership.

 

 

 

BFI Announces Vision Awards

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Designed to help grow strong and sustainable UK film businesses, 20 UK production companies were selected for £2.8m awards from 170 applicants.

Each company will receive a Vision Award of up to £200k over two years for film development and company growth.

The list of recipients comprises a healthy combination of fledgling and established UK production outfits.

According to the BFI, the successful companies “each demonstrated a clear strategic vision for their future growth as well as a commitment to nurturing a diverse range of new voices and fresh ideas from across the UK, with a focus on creative excellence running through all the proposals”.

The open and competitive application process saw more than 170 applicants shortlisted down to 34 who then undertook interviews with a panel of senior executives from the BFI before the 20 successful companies were chosen.

Six, almost a third of those selected, are based outside London; eight feature women in leadership roles; and for the first time – and in acknowledgement of new opportunities afforded by the recently introduced UK tax credit for animation – animation studios were eligible to apply, with four selected.

Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund commented: “Each of the companies selected had a strong vision for the future growth of their business and we feel they’re poised to build their profile nationally and internationally, many of them by capitalising on their filmmaker relationships and creative instincts, coupled with an entrepreneurial flair.

“We think it’s an exciting and eclectic mix, and I’m really pleased we could support UK animation studios for the first time. This sizable investment in development will help to build the foundations of future growth and success for UK film.”

The BFI’s interview panel comprised director of the BFI Film Fund, Ben Roberts; BFI creative director, Heather Stewart; BFI Film Fund senior executives, Chris Collins, Lizzie Francke and Natascha Wharton; and BFI business affairs executive, Jodie Orme.

 

BFI VISION AWARDS 2013-15

£100,000 awards (in alphabetical order)

42

  • Rory Aitken, Ben Pugh, Josh Varney, Kate Buckley
  • Film credits include: Shifty, Welcome To The Punch.
  • Upcoming: Monsters: Dark Continent

42 are taking a unique and entrepreneurial approach to forming a UK film business, bringing talent management and production under one roof.

COWBOY FILMS

  • Charles Steel, Alasdair Flind
  • Credits include: The Last King of Scotland, Fire In Babylon, Marley.
  • Upcoming: How I Live Now.

Across its narrative features, feature documentaries, and TV drama, Cowboy have impressed with a track record of introducing and working with filmmakers and writers of outstanding quality.

INDEPENDENT

  • Luc Roeg, Andrew Orr
  • Credits include: We Need To Talk About Kevin, Moon

By successfully straddling production, international sales, and UK distribution, Independent can expertly strategise and oversee a film’s journey through production, international festival selection and eventual release into the marketplace. With a strong commitment to new and emerging UK talent, Independent provide a unique and important offer for the UK market.

LUPUS FILMS (animation)

  • Ruth Fielding, Camillan Deakin
  • Credits include: The Snowman And The Snowdog.
  • Upcoming: Raymond Brigg’s Ethel & Ernest (feature).

Lupus intends to apply their first-class artistry to recognisable and well-loved properties (such as Raymond Briggs), to spearhead a revival of 2D animation in the UK and establish themselves as a formidable, and uniquely, British animation film company.

NEXUS PRODUCTIONS (animation)

  • Christopher O’Reilly, Charlotte Bavasso, Claire Jennings

Oscar-nominated, and winner of three Cannes Lions Grand Prix and two Black D&AD Pencils, Nexus have a track record in developing animation talent and have partnered with award-winning producer Claire Jennings (Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit and Coraline) as they move into features. The company has also established Nexus Interactive Arts, a division that creates innovative storytelling experiences across digital media, including app-based storytelling, gaming and interactive web films.

PASSION PICTURES, RED BOX FILMS (doc)

  • Passio: John Battsek, Andrew Ruhemann
  • Red Box: Simon Chinn
  • Combined credits include BAFTA and Oscar-winning and nominated: One Day in September (Passion), Man on Wire (Red Box), Project Nim, The Imposter, Searching for Sugar Man.

Working in partnership Red Box Films and Passion Pictures have impressed with their instincts for documentary features which are both critically and commercially successful. The companies are poised for growth into narrative and animated features.

WARP FILMS

  • Mark Herbert, Robin Gutch
  • Credits include: Four Lions, Submarine, This Is England.
  • Upcoming: ’71, For Those in Peril

A previous Vision Award recipient, and having recently celebrated 10 years of distinctive British storytelling, Sheffield and London-based Warp has continued to demonstrate ambition and a capacity for growth. The panel was excited by Warp’s intention to expand into higher budget films and original cinematic comedies.

WILDGAZE FILMS

  • Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
  • Credits include: Quartet, An Education.
  • Upcoming: A Long Way Down

With little previous Lottery investment, Wildgaze have proven themselves able to raise significant budgets for their brand of quality, and commercially-successful, features. Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet has so far grossed over £8m in the UK, and close to $55m globally.

BFI VISION AWARDS

£50,000 awards (in alphabetical order):

BLUE-ZOO ANIMATION (animation)

  • Oli Hyatt, Tom Box, Adam Shaw

BAFTA-winning Blue-Zoo have produced quality animation for SKY, BBC, Nickelodeon, Freemantle, Cartoon Network and Disney. They communicated many of the issues facing the UK animation sector and the panel felt that this level of support, and an ongoing relationship with the BFI Film Fund, would help the company to deliver its sustainable, profitable and international model for producing Animated Films in the UK.

FLICKERPIX (animation)

  • Joel Simon, David Cumming, Tim Bryans

Award-winning Northern Ireland-based animation studio has identified a gap in the market for low-to-medium budget stop motion animated feature films, and in their shorts work has successfully blended stop motion characters with 2D backgrounds to great effect, in an innovative and cost-effective way. The panel were delighted by their ambition to become the Roger Corman Productions of comedy stop-motion animation movie making, creating a thriving and creative powerhouse in their Holywood studios.

FLY FILM

  • Kate Ogborn, Lisa-Marie Russo
  • Credits include: The Spirit of ’45, Swandown, Self Made, The Deep Blue Sea.

Fly have delivered an impressive range of projects spanning documentary, artist’s film, and auteur work and have been a nurturing environment for more challenging material. They have the appetite, experience and people skills to effectively develop and support a cross section of creative talent.

FORWARD FILMS

  • Kate Myers and Tracy Brimm
  • Credits include: Grabbers, Skeletons

Forward impressed as a two-woman company with ambitions to redefine British film, re-shape genre and nurture new and emerging UK filmmakers and voices, always with a strong focus on their path to market.

INFLAMMABLE FILMS

  • Diarmid Scrimshaw
  • Credits include: Tyrannosaur

A Yorkshire-based feature film company with a strong track record and a proven ability to create and nurture talent relationships, Inflammable are building an exciting slate of commercial, high quality projects.

JW FILMS

  • James Wilson
  • Credits include: Attack The Block, The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology.
  • Upcoming: Under The Skin

JW Films excited the panel with a passion for film and a philosophy that artistic quality and innovation makes for good business; that groundbreaking filmmaking will further the UK’s internationally recognised film culture; and that great cinema leads the audience and is not led by it.

ORIGIN PICTURES

  • David Thompson
  • Credits include: The Awakening.
  • Upcoming: MandelaX+Y

A previous Vision Award recipient, Origin demonstrated a commitment to discovering and supporting new and original talent. The panel were particularly excited by Origin’s plans for a writers’ room for emerging and diverse writing talent, to help generate ideas and offer opportunities to benefit from mentoring at Origin.

RAINY DAY

  • Rebekah Gilbertson, Nicole Carmen-Davis
  • Credits include: The Edge Of Love.
  • Upcoming: Panda Eyes, Miss Shirley Bassey

An entrepreneurial female team with considerable success to date in securing private finance from a range of sources to support their projects. Rainy Day have strong ties to Wales with most of their films shot in or featuring strong Welsh elements, and also a strong development focus on films for children and teens, with several projects aimed at this market currently on their slate.

ROAST BEEF PRODUCTIONS (doc)

  • Havana Marking, Mike Lerner, Martin Herring
  • Credits include: Afghan Star, Hell & Back Again, Pussy Riot  A Punk Prayer.
  • Upcoming: Smash & Grab: Story of the Pink Panthers

Roast Beef’s documentaries have popularised ‘big’subjects with a compelling, funny, and thrilling approach. They have had four films at Sundance, won six Sundance Awards, two Grierson Awards, a Prix Italia and received an Oscar® nomination, attracting funding from numerous international co-producers.

ROOK FILMS

  • Andy Starke, Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump
  • Credits include: Kill List, Sightseers.
  • Upcoming: A Field In England

In its relatively short life, Bridport-based Rook has made a number of original, smart, inventive – and beautifully British – features which have attracted significant attention at international festivals, and established Ben Wheatley as one of the UK’s foremost talents. Now Rook are expanding to develop and produce features with other significant new filmmakers, including Peter Strickland.

STRAY BEAR FILMS

  • Ivana Mackinnon
  • Credits include: The Scouting Book For Boys, The Descent 2

A young producer with vision and aptitude, Ivana Mackinnon has set her sights on a gap in the market for films that are ‘commercial with a twist’and is looking especially for strong female elements: well-drawn female characters; female genre movies; and movies that allow a strong female directorial voice. Having spent time as Film4’s Diversity Development Producer, Mackinnon also has experience in finding exciting and surprising voices and perspectives.

THIRD FILMS

  • Samm Haillay, Duane Hopkins
  • Credits include: Better Things.
  • Upcoming: Bypass

Newcastle-based Third’s objective is to reignite UK cultural cinema, developing bold director-led films that transcend simple genre types. The company cites Denmark and Australia as examples of territories where cultural filmmaking has re-emerged to critical and commercial significance.

 

 

 

Pinewood Announces US Studio

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Pinewood & Shepperton Studios today announces a joint venture to be named Pinewood Atlanta, with River’s Rock llc, an independently managed trust of the Cathy family.

The joint venture will work to initially develop 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, into world class studio facilities for the production of film, television, music and video games.

 

 

The land and studio construction costs will be funded by equity from River’s Rock and a debt facility from Synovus Bank. The business will operate under the Pinewood trademark and Pinewood has received 40% of the shareholding in the joint venture. Pinewood will provide the joint venture with sales and marketing services.

Pinewood Atlanta will allow producers access to attractive fiscal incentives from the State of Georgia, within a conveniently located, secure hub in the USA for productions to base themselves. Construction is expected to commence immediately.

Ivan Dunleavy, Pinewood CEO, said:

“Today’s agreement is another step forward for the Pinewood brand internationally. This new studio will target US productions. Georgia has excellent fiscal incentives and a great crew base. With River’s Rock we have a well resourced partner that is committed to building a first class studio facility.”

Jim Pace, Managing Partner, River’s Rock llc said:

“We are tremendously excited to be creating a world class studio in the state of Georgia and are looking forward to working with Pinewood in the many years to come. The Pinewood brand is so well recognized in the global film industry and together there is a great opportunity to build an excellent facility that will attract the very best producers.”

 

 

 

Warner Bros Launches UK Training

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Warner Bros. is to launch 12 higher education scholarships, six apprenticeships and two trainee positions on every Warner Bros. film production in the UK.

Launching in September 2013, new venture Creative Talent will back industry hopefuls with scholarships attached to work placements and mentoring, apprenticeships and training courses.

In total, the investment encompasses:

  • 12 scholarships at higher education institutions;
  • six apprenticeships with roles ranging from set-lighting to post-production;
  • two trainee positions on every Warner Bros. film production in the UK;
  • 25, year-long training course places for young people at theatre company Chickenshed;
  • 20 work experience places for schools local to Warner Bros. London HQ;
  • five work placements on upcoming West End musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with some students receiving an additional three month placement.

 

 

The higher education scholarships will be available at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the National Film & Television School, University of the Arts London, Glasgow Caledonian University, Ravensbourne and University of Hertfordshire, and selected courses at other institutions.

The studio already runs an intern programme for around 40 students who spend a paid year with the company during their sandwich degree courses and 20 short term work experience opportunities for students at schools near Warner Bros’ London HQ.

Kevin Tsujihara, CEO, Warner Bros. said: “The UK is known for world class creativity and innovation, and some of Warner Bros.’ greatest successes have been produced with British talent. Warner Bros. Creative Talent reinforces our global commitment to supporting the industries and communities in which we operate and our continuing investment in talent.”

Josh Berger CBE, president and managing director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland & Spain, added: “As we continue to make more films, TV shows, video games and stage plays here, as well as investing in state-of-the-art studios, we will be calling upon the very best talent the country has to offer.

“To that end, it is crucially important to us to invest in the next generation, so that we not only have a diverse pool of exceptional talent to work with, but that we also play our part in maintaining the UK’s position as a global creative industries leader.”

Warner Bros.’ is the single largest contributor to Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund (SIF), investing more than £1million over the last nine years.

 

 

 

Pinewood Forms Joint Venture with Seven Stars Media

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Pinewood Shepperton has entered into a joint venture with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Media, which will include Chinese co-productions, skills academies and new local “entertainment venues”.

The new venture – called Song Lin, which means Pine Forest in Mandarin – plans to finance and produce films in China and create up to eight film and TV skills academies which will be linked to UK film and TV establishments.

Co-productions are not subject to China’s strict quota policy on film imports.

 

 

The joint venture is also due to develop a series of “film themed entertainment venues” in Shanghai and “film themed projects” in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan.

ScreenDaily understands that the initial commitment from Wu and Pinewood is $1m each for initial research and development.

The Chinese film and television market was worth $3.6bn in 2012 and is forecast to double to $7.3bn by 2016, which would make it the third-largest filmed entertainment market in the world, according to PwC.

The announcement marks the latest expansion for the rapidly growing Pinewood Group, which operates studios in UK, Canada, Germany, Malaysia and Dominican Republic and is growing its own production ambitions with Pinewood Productions and the management of the Isle of Man’s £25m film fund.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said of the announcement: “It’s great to see Pinewood Studios expanding its business with the announcement of its joint venture with Seven Stars Media.

“The creative industries are a rapidly growing area of China’s economy and will increasingly provide huge opportunities for UK companies competing in the global race.  Pinewood is leading the way, taking advantage of China’s thriving entertainment and media sector and building on Britain and China’s growing trade relationship.”

Ivan Dunleavy, Pinewood CEO, commented: “The Chinese market for content is the fastest growing in the world and taking Pinewood’s experience and skills to that market in partnership with such an established and successful local partner is a truly exciting prospect.

“The joint venture brings together two companies with significant experience and will provide a conduit for film and television productions to maximise their impact in China.

“The partnership with Seven Stars, under Bruno Wu’s direction, represents a strategic step forward for Pinewood’s international development. If successful, the joint venture could provide significant opportunities for UK film and television producers.”

Bruno Wu, Seven Stars chairman and CEO, added: “Together with Pinewood, we have identified a significant number of business opportunities for the short, medium and long term.

“The joint venture will aim to improve the standard of media production, create co-production opportunities for Chinese producers and export Chinese film and television content overseas. Our local knowledge and scale combined with Pinewood’s unique operational skills and international reputation will enable our joint venture to participate in China’s content explosion.”

 

 

 

BFI Awards £26m to Film Nation UK

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BFI chairman Greg Dyke announced on Friday (12 April 2013) that £26m of National Lottery funding will be given to Film Nation UK, to deliver a new education programme. Running over four years, the new organisation aims to provide film education to 5-19 year olds across the UK.

Dyke broke the news at the BFI Southbank, during the premiere of a selection of films from the BFI Film Academy, made by 16-19 year-olds from all over England. After Dyke’s announcement, he welcomed to the stage Eric Fellner, co-chairman of Working Title Films and chair of Film Nation UK.

 

 

Fellner, who has produced films such as Love Actually, Hot Fuzz and Les Misérables, said: “We are incredibly excited that we have been awarded the funding to deliver an ambitious and inspiring programme which is of scale, reach and quality. It is a substantial commitment by the BFI to film education and to future generations of young people.”

Film Nation UK will work with First Light and FILMCLUB and will launch with a full board in the autumn, at which point more details about the programme will be announced. What we do know so far is that the film scheme programme will ensure a UK-wide reach will be achieved, thanks to collaboration with the BFI’s strategic partners, Creative Scotland, Creative Skillset, Film Agency Wales and Northern Ireland Screen.

The Knowledge was lucky enough to attend the premiere of the BFI Film Academy residential films, and, if the quality of the films shown is anything to go by, the announcement of the new education programme is great news for young aspiring filmmakers.

 

 

 

110 Years Of Ealing Studios

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Ealing Studios is the leading independent British studio that produces and distributes feature films and provides over 100,000sq ft of stages, facilities and offices to the film, TV and media industry, writes Simon George, Director Of Finance and Operations, Ealing Studios. 

The oldest continuously working film studio in the world, in its 110 years Ealing Studios has produced films ranging from the lavish Henry VIII (1910), the first screen version of Hamlet (1912), through the 1940s’ and 1950s’ classics, such as The Ladykillers, The Dead of Night and The Blue Lamp, to today’s hit movies, for example the St Trinian’s franchise.
Will Barker, a pioneer of British cinema, originally acquired the site in 1902 and built Ealing’s first stage, which looked much like a greenhouse. Basil Dean, owner of Associated Talking Pictures, took over from Barker in 1929. In 1938, Michael Balcon joined and started to release films under the name Ealing Studios, and thus a golden era of British film-making began.

 

 

This fabulous period of creativity started with a series of real-life dramas, such as Went The Day Well (1943) and Nine Men (1943), which helped sustain Britain during the war. As Britain laboured under post- war rationing, Balcon and his team produced a series of classic comedies that captured the spirit of the age. The audience saw themselves in films such as The Ladykillers (1955), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Man in the White Suit (1951) and Whisky Galore (1949), and they thronged to see them.

Balcon presented his idea of the British character: Britons as individualists who were not averse to joining up with each other to battle against a common cause; a tolerant, if eccentric nation, but determinedly opposed to anything anti-social. His films celebrated initiative, spirit and personal achievement and contained recurring themes which resonated with the social upheaval that followed the war: the little people up against the establishment; an anarchic whimsy that was born often out of real events; a cast of characters drawn from the confusion and moral ambiguity of the times: a soft spot for raffish charm. The Ealing Comedies of the 1940s and 50s remain a high point of British cinema celebrated worldwide to this day.

The BBC bought the studios in 1955 and spent the next few decades creating ground-breaking television productions such as Cathy Come Home, Colditz, The Singing Detective and Monty Python. At the end of the 20th century, the studios were briefly owned by the National Film and Television School. A new century has brought renewed vigour, when the studios were acquired by the current owners.

As well as the movie-making with which it is synonymous, Ealing Studios is today home to some of the most innovative and hi-tech companies in the world of film and television, as well as some of the leading educators of the next generation of film-makers. For example:

The Imaginarium is a world-class studio applying all aspects of performance-capture technology to the creation of new- generation storytelling in film, television and games. It provides consultancy and production services to film studios all over the world, as well as developing and producing its own work.

Timeline TV is a leading provider of broadcast technology and services with an enviable portfolio, including live and post- production facilities, flyaway production units, temporary tapeless productions systems and RF links. Timeline is the industry’s principle authority on shared-server systems and specialises in the delivery of IP Director networks.

Vizrt provides real-time 3D graphics and asset management tools for the broadcast industry — from award-winning animations and maps to online publishing tools. Vizrt’s products are used by the world’s leading broadcasters and publishing houses, including: BBC, BSkyB, ITN, Times Online, The Telegraph and many more.

The Met Film School is an innovative film school where students learn the practical skills of film-making by making films — and award- winning ones at that.

A £50m redevelopment and refurbishment programme was initiated, which both preserves the Grade II listed film stages, whilst adding world-class facilities for the digital age. Our recent production credits include the phenomenally successful St Trinian’s franchise, with two instalments out to date and another now in development; the recent black comedy Burke & Hare starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis and directed by John Landis; the film adaptation of the classic novel Dorian Gray with Colin Firth, Ben Barnes and Rebecca Hall; Easy Virtue starring Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth; and Wilde’s much loved The Importance of Being Earnest, featuring an impressive ensemble cast including Rupert Everett and Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Dame Judi Dench.

Upcoming Ealing Studios productions include Nina, a moving and poignant love story based on the troubled high priestess of soul, Nina Simone, written and directed by Cynthia Mort (The Brave One); the third installment of the St Trinian’s franchise; The Long Shot, a funny yet touching and uplifting tale of a father and son in the wake of divorce; and action-packed thriller Vanished (directed by Pete Travis, Vantage Point).

The stages, built in the 1930s, are steeped in history having survived the onset of the talkies, the depression, wartime, post-war austerity and, more recently, advances in digital film and TV. The stages are constantly in demand ~ Dorian Gray, Gambit, and Downton Abbey have all recently been filmed on the lot as have productions by Sir Richard Eyre and Stephen Poliakoff.

Sometimes a great history can obscure a great present and today, with some 500 people based at Ealing Studios, we are busier than we have ever been. We are proud of our contribution to British culture over the course of the last century, but we want to still be contributing 110 years from now, so we are not stopping there. We will grow with the continuing modernisation and development of the studios, adding new state-of-the-art stages, production facilities and offices, ensuring Ealing Studios continues to be a world-class facility.

Read the article in the online edition of Regional Film & Video here.