Burgess Park in Red Bull X Fighter campaign
Date posted: 01.08.2010
Getting from one side of London to the other, in the rush hour, in a hurry, is a challenging prospect to say the least. That's why it's especially useful if you can get a lift from a Red Bull X-Fighter freestyle motocross racer with a taxi sign on his back. The new viral campaign from the Red Bull X-Fighters, designed to promote the London leg of their new European tour, demonstrates how this approach deals with the predicament perfectly...
A challenge of similar proportions to the rush-hour jam faced the creative team behind the film, who were given just 3 weeks to organise the low-budget shoot. They wanted to use the capital as a backdrop for Red Bull X-Fighter, Chris Birch, to show off his stunt riding skills, but also required a controlled and safe environment.
Producer Richard Landy admits to being anxious about the project at first, though his concerns were quickly allayed after a series of very successful meetings with Film London - providing him with realistic suggestions and folios of images of locations to consider. This was reinforced by a conversation with Southwark Council's Andrew Pavord, who suggested Burgess Park as an ideal location for part of the shoot.
"It was actually very easy in the end. Andy [Pavord] was very helpful and really took on board the problems we had with budget and time restrictions. After running through the regular protocol of risk assessment and notifying police, he pretty much gave us the freedom of the park to go and film as we wished. We had a full day shooting which went smoothly and we wrapped up on time. The client were very happy with what we delivered in the end, to be honest I think we exceeded their expectations for the budget provided."
A park might seem a strange location for a shoot seeking an urban London setting, though Burgess Park has a unique selling point in this respect. "The idea is that the biker takes a shortcut down a back route. Even though it's essentially a park, we found plenty of great things to shoot. Railway arches, footpaths, lake, steps and even fully marked out roads which were closed off to external traffic."
Andrew Pavord recognises the wealth of benefits this location affords: "Film teams like the abandoned roads within the park boundaries, which mean that car stunts and shoots involving traffic can be shot in a controlled area without the need for road closure orders. These streets (Loncroft Road, Calmington Road, Neate St and New Church Rd) also make very useful unit bases."
'We have many film teams that use the park on a regular basis, especially Kudos, for productions like Ashes to Ashes, and Spooks. It's near their production base, and the park management are happy to process applications with little or no lead in time (which is important for TV drama). The views from the park looking north towards the enormous 70s housing blocks of the Aylesbury Estate give a very inner city look. However, looking south and west towards Addington Sqaure, the views are quite different - with large well appointed Georgian houses overlooking the park.
"The park has much to offer. There are several listed buildings, remnants of the streets which once occupied the site: a lime kiln, the library, baths and wash houses and a delightful café. There are also several bridges going nowhere, which once use to cross the canal. As well as this we also have Chumleigh Gardens, near the centre of the park, which is a beautifully planted World Garden, with plants and landscaping designed to reflect the diversity of the surrounding population of this highly cosmopolitan portion of London.'
For more information about Burgess Park, contact Andrew Pavord at Southwark Film Office on 0845 833 1524.