London simplifies shoot

Partnership backed by helmers, police, industry at large

Film London will today unveil what it’s billing as a “revolution” in shooting in the U.K.’s capital.

The new London Filming Partnership will radically simplify the notoriously complex logistics of making a movie in London.

The result of a 12-month consultation process chaired by David Puttnam, it is backed by every organization in any way involved with shooting in the capital — from the 33 boroughs, the police and the transportation authorities to industry bodies such as PACT and the Guild of Location Managers.

“The London Filming Partnership will make London one of the best, easiest and most efficient places to film in the world,” said Adrian Wootton, chief exec of Film London.

Among the new initiatives:

  • The Metropolitan Police is setting up a dedicated film unit.

  • A transparent fee structure for filming across the 33 boroughs, with services charged at cost.

  • Free use of Film London location scouts for major movie projects.

  • A single online portal to cut through red tape in arranging filming permits.

  • Discounts on hotels, parking, transportation and location fees.

  • A new mediation service to resolve disputes.

  • No local authority charges for shorts and student movies.

Directors Stephen Frears and Gurinder Chadha will be on hand to support the launch of the initiative in Cannes. Frears was fiercely critical of the bureaucratic problems he encountered shooting “Dirty Pretty Things” in London, but has had a much smoother ride with his current movie “Mrs Henderson Presents.”

Wootton acknowledged that London, with its confusing patchwork of local authorities, has historically been seen as a particularly awkward and expensive city for filmmakers to navigate.

But Film London has already taken steps to improve that that perception since the org was launched a year ago, and Wootton argues that the latest initiative will deliver an even more dramatic transformation.

Working Title co-chair Eric Fellner commented, “I feel that the Film London Task Force, which I am pleased to be a member of, is genuinely succeeding in improving things to make London a more film-friendly and thus more competitive place to make movies.”

Puttnam, chair of the Film London Executive Task Force, commented, “We’ve had an incredible level of co-operation from all involved in the process — from those who represent the citizens of London, form the industry and from private sector organizations. I’m confident that the work of the Task Force will deliver significant benefits.”

“This agreement will make sure that film continues to deliver massive cultural and economic benefits to the capital,” said mayor Ken Livingstone.

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