Esin #6: London’s Future With Films

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Posted 20/10/14
By Esin Huseyin

With BFI’s London Film Festival coming to a close with the premiere of Fury last night, it is no surprise that London is gaining not only a bit of weight, but also speed in films.

I’ve carried on the theme with this week’s London Five post, by highlighting some of the more famous locations for films shot in London.

So, lets start from the beginning; BFI’s London Film Festival is actually on it’s 58th year, and it screens features, documentaries and shorts from over 50 countries. Okay, so it’s no Canne’s, but I think that’s pretty bluddy impressive. It first began as a “if they do it, why shouldn’t we” follow up festival – Cannes (obviously), Venice, and even Edinburgh had their own festivals.

But, the famous Sundance festival, which is usually hosted in Utah (America), has been hosted in London for the past two years running now. Okay, Canne’s is something that we can’t measure up to, literally, as it’s at a pretty high altitude, but Sundance is America’s biggest film festival. It does usually showcase more of the American films, but it was the first time that I personally saw the impact that London had on the film industries worldwide.

As I said previously, I did write a little piece about some of the most iconic film locations in London – but I’m aware that all of those films were made by British film companies. But, in the last year films such as Thor 2, Fast & Furious 6 and Guardians of Galaxy have been shot in London. I believe one of the many reasons is because of our rich heritage. In London you stumble across old victorian cobbled sidestreets, and beautiful buildings all the time – why wouldn’t a film crew want to capture that?

Trying to ignore our city with hidden depths of locations, we also have some of the best film crews to work with; as a country we have injected funds back in to training, making sure that we’re at the top of our game. It is of course no surprise then, that Soho houses six of the eight most successful visual effects companies in the whole world. Yup, I’ll give you a second just to digest that…

It is then of course of no surprise  then that with the locations and post-production at the best it can be, what about our actors? In 2013 several British actors were nominated for best male/female actor and supporting actor/actress; including Chiwetel Ejiofor for his performance in 12 Years A Slave – he was actually the first black actor to be nominated for this category. Slowly the industry is finally catching up to society’s ideals, and it’s these last couple of years that I feel the industry has changed the most.

I was discussing this post with an actor, who actually educated me on the tax breaks for the studios that choose the UK; in laments term the tax reliefs allow the studios a higher amount of expenditure, but, at least a quarter of the expenditure has to relate to activities in the UK. Having read up on the tax breaks a little before writing this, it was interesting to see that low-cost films were categorised as being under £20m in funding – crazy! This means that they can claim a tax relief of up to 25%. A business is a business, and where they can save money, they will. But, I believe there is so much in this growing cosmopolitan that keeps them coming back time and time again.


What are your thoughts on the British Film Industry? Have you been involved with any filming or post-production in London? Let me know in the comments below.