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A Year of Capital Film Achievements

Date posted: 15.12.2010

Another year is almost gone, leaving the aftertaste of a successful twelve months - during which film has been top of the cultural agenda.

Closing with the recent appointment of the BFI as the strategic body for film in the country and with Film London leading a new public-private partnership to stimulate inward investment in the UK, 2010 will go down in history as a year of changes and successes in the capital. Read on for a round-up of some of the highlights.

Welcome to London

Following on from the outstanding figures for inward investment recorded in 2009 -when the value of foreign productions attracted to film in the country doubled from the previous year- top names from the international film industry visited The Big Smoke in 2010.

Martin Scorsese swapped the all familiar streets of New York for London for his adaptation of Hugo Cabret and Clint Eastwood was spotted earlier in the year finalising scenes for his Matt Damon-starrer Hereafter, which will be in cinemas in the UK in January 2011. Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger all chose London as the set for their adventures over the summer. Similarly, Disney trusted the capital to handle its upcoming 3D sci-fi adventure John Carter of Mars, whilst Warner Brothers brought Guy Ritchie back on board for  the anticipated sequel to Sherlock Holmes, which is currently shooting in London. On the small screen, ABC's long-running show Ugly Betty moved to London over Easter to set and shoot the series' very final episode, which is due to air in the UK before Christmas.

Meanwhile, UK cinemas welcomed a collection of titles also shot in the capital in recent times, including Christopher Nolan's thriller Inception, Jude Apatow's wild comedy Get Him to the Greek, Paul Greengrass's Green Zone, horror tale The Wolfman and Pinewood-shot effects-laden Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans. November also marked the start of the end for the Harry Potter franchise with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, which came accompanied by the news that Warner Bros is investing heavily in Leavesden Studios, just outside the capital, as its new permanent home in the UK. Finally, hitting screens later this month is Twentieth Century Fox's re-imagination of the classic Gulliver's Travels starring Jack Black, shot in London and the South East and releasing on Boxing Day.

I Would Like To Thank

The year that ends was also one in which home-grown talent graced podiums and gained worldwide praise. In February, BAFTA® recognised London-shot Fish Tank and The Young Victoria with awards and kick-started an unstoppable trail of acknowledgements for London-born Carey Mulligan. In two firsts for Film London, director Eran Creevy was nominated for a gong for his 'outstanding debut' for Film London Microwave's Shifty and Martina Amati's I Do Air - a short produced through the digital shorts film-making scheme, PULSE - was announced as the winner of the BAFTA® for Best Short Film.

The 82nd Academy Awards® in March continued to celebrate local produce with nominations for nine London-shot films, including An Education, The Young Victoria, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

In July, Film London's annual Best of Boroughs Film Awards (BoBs) crowned Assessment and Physical Education as the best short films in the capital, alongside Crazy in Barnet - the winner of the first Film London in 90 Seconds competition.

Film London's Jarman Award in October put a spotlight on artist film-making and named Emily Wardill as the winner of this year's £10,000 cash prize, as well as a unique broadcast commission with Channel 4. Later in the same month, another artist film-maker supported by Film London, Clio Barnard, was recognised with two awards at The 54th BFI London Film Festival for her innovative debut feature The Arbor.

Collaborative Thinking

In March, Film London and Screen South announced a ground-breaking new partnership to facilitate filming services in the area. The Filming Partnership: London and the South East was then born, creating a one-stop-shop for productions and streamlining the support for filming in the vast array of the region's locations, as well as Pinewood and Shepperton Studios.

The arrival of the Cannes Film Festival in May was marked with the announcement of a new international agreement between Paris's Ile de France Film Commission and Film London - a commitment to share best practice and facilitate the flow of talent amongst the two capital cities.

In the summer, the capital hosted the seventh London UK Film Focus, presenting British films to international buyers and the outreach activity continued in September with 'London in New York'. Over a series of events which included a talk with veteran director Mike Leigh, 'London in New York' showcased London's cinematic kudos to audiences in The Big Apple in association with the New York Film Festival.

Back in London, this time in association with The 54th BFI London Film Festival, Film London staged the fourth Production Finance Market in October. Introduced by Oscar®-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, the annual two-day event gathered around 150 international film producers and financiers to discuss projects with a total value of almost €230m.

Making Noise

During 2010, Film London continued to build on its commitment to nurturing and developing up-and-coming talent and offering opportunities for long and short form works.

Following the announcement of its extended partnership with BBC Films, Film London's successful micro-budget film-making scheme, Microwave, saw the theatrical release of Kolton Lee's teen romance Freestyle in February. Over the course of 2010, three new micro-budget features also completed production. Strawberry Fields, a coming-of-age tale directed by Frances Lea, the directorial debut of musician Ben Drew (aka Plan B), ill Manors, and Jes Benstock's The British Guide to Showing Off are set to grab the headlines in the New Year.

A Family Portrait
, a PULSE short by film-maker and animator Joseph Pierce, enjoyed a year of extraordinary achievements, which included a nomination to the prestigious European awards Cartoon D'Or and an award for best British animation at Encounters International Film Festival.

Other tales of success from PULSE alumni in 2010 include Tom Harper, who saw the theatrical release of his critically acclaimed debut feature The Scouting Book for Boys in March and Debbie Tucker-Green, whose Film London-produced short Heat led directly to a broadcast commission by Channel 4.

Finally, in what has become a key annual date for short form in the capital, a selection of shorts from Film London's film-making schemes was showcased at the sell-out London Calling screening during The 54th BFI London Film Festival.

A Year of Firsts

The capital also celebrated the first ever London Film Day. Presented by the Mayor of London and organised by Film London, on 21 March audiences across the capital attended fifteen simultaneous premieres of Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and enjoyed workshops, activities and prizes in the first city-wide celebratory feast of film and cinema-going.

In another first for multiple simultaneous premieres, The 54th BFI London Film Festival hosted the first ever 'simulcast' of the Centrepiece Gala presented by the Mayor of London. Mike Leigh's Another Year was enjoyed by audiences in over 30 venues across the country via a live satellite link during a festival that attracted record numbers for audiences.

Continuing with the celebration of cinema in the capital, this year Film London launched its banner for film tourism activities, Love from London. The first initiative under the banner was the Online Movie Map, which included hundreds of spots of cinematic interest in the capital. Following shortly after was Love from London: A City of Stars, a free photographic exhibition, launched in association with Getty Images, which offered Londoners and visitors a unique glimpse into the lives of Hollywood stars captured spending time in the capital.

In a similar vein, in association with the BFI and Transport for London, Film London launched the first ever Underground Movie Map, a playful take on the classic tube map design which lists films shot in or around London Underground stations.

Other reasons to commemorate the year included the Centenary of one of the oldest cinemas in the UK, The Phoenix in East Finchley. Supported by Film London through the Digital Film Archive Fund, the cinema launched a programme of activities including a series of screenings to mark the site's 100th year.

With the capital and surrounding area marking itself apart as a key destination for world-renowned film-makers, for international recognition for local talent, the success of new and established film initiatives and new industry strategies, 2010 will be remembered as a year of transformation. With the Golden Globe nominations just announced, led by British drama The King's Speech, comes an early promise of another exciting year for film.

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