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2012: A Gold Medal Year for the Capital

Date posted: 19.12.2012

Going for Gold

In a year that saw the capital come alive with sporting cheer for the extraordinary London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Film London ensured filming continued and remained stronger than ever in the capital. From large feature films through to international news crews, the agency made sure productions could capture the best of the city in the run up to and during the Olympic Games.

The strength of the feature film production in the capital was reflected in Film London's announcement during the Olympics revealing a number of blockbusters shooting in the capital in the latter part of the year.

At an event co-hosted with the Mayor of London and London & Partners, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, Adrian Wootton, revealed that Fast and Furious 6, Ridley Scott's The Counselor, Kick-Ass 2 and Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan would film in London in the second half of 2012, taking in iconic locations including King's Cross, Wembley and Canary Wharf.

The 2012 Olympic Games was a unique opportunity to showcase the city's greatest assets to the world. At the event Wootton added, "with the success of the Olympics we have an incredible platform to build on and Film London is working to ensure we keep the momentum up and continue to drive vital investment into the UK through film and TV production."

Also during the Games, Film London supported the world's media at the London Media Centre, advising how to best capture the capital while giving practical recommendations and troubleshooting any potential issues.

Meanwhile the Mayor of London's 2012 Business Programme, delivered by London & Partners, was hosted to coincide with the Olympics Games and Film London contributed an inspiring series of film events and tours for international film and television producers.

London Blockbusters and Record-breakers

Bond was back in London in 2012 with Skyfall, which went on to become a record breaker and is still going strong at box offices across the globe. Assisted by Film London, the production undertook a number of complex and ambitious set pieces on location in London. Of the shoot, Craig, said "it's very exciting to get out on the streets and show London for what it is" explaining the capital is "Bond's home."

The Dark Knight Rises, one of the year's most anticipated releases, was partly shot in the capital with support from Film London and marks the epic conclusion to film-maker Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy.

BIFA-winner Berberian Sound Studio was one of a number of films that kept London's world class studio facilities busy throughout the year, whilst Bollywood's latest romance, Jab Tak Hai Jaan shot in the capital, also with support from Film London, and sadly marking the end of Yash Chopra's legendary career.

Other London-shot feature films assisted by Film London and released in 2012 include The Iron Lady, featuring Meryl Streep's astounding portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, Madonna's feature directorial debut, W.E, Fast Girls, The Sweeney and The Gambit starring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz.

Growing London's Film Audiences

In support of the capital's film exhibition offer across the whole of the city, Film London most recently awarded seven projects funding through the Community Pilot Fund. The funding - worth a total of £21,000 - aims to grow access to cinema for under-represented audiences and encourages projects in areas of London that are not currently served by film exhibition.

In March, Film London presented Cultivate: Inspiring Future Audiences, the first ever in depth training for film educators within the exhibition sector. The nationwide course, which received excellent feedback from participants, saw a wide array of specialists presenting case studies and participating in panel events over three days.

On the back of its success in 2011, the Cultural Film Exhibition Fund (CFEF) returned, awarding a number of funds to larger film exhibition projects in the capital. DocHouse, Scala Beyond, the East End Film Festival, the New Black and London Comedy Film Festival, were recipients, delivering projects that increase audiences for British and World cinema, celebrate otherwise unrepresented groups and sustain a rich viewing culture in London.

As students went back to school in September, the Barbican, with support from Film London's Children's Cinema in London Award, launched Framed: Cinema for a New Generation. The new year-round multi-strand programme for young people, also included the Framed Film Festival in November as its centrepiece.

September also saw a unique collaboration between Film London and Haringey Council, with support from the Mayor of London, who joined forces to invest over £10,000 in Tottenham through an innovative film showcase. After 2011's riots, Project Tottenham aimed to unite the community and rejuvenate the area's cultural offer, providing new community activity along with training to boost local expertise and deliver a lasting legacy in a borough without an independent cinema.

Results from a major survey conducted by Film London on behalf of London's Screen Archives show a huge appetite for connecting London audiences with their film heritage. The survey also revealed that many organisations in the capital have benefitted from investment through the recent Screen Heritage UK programme, administered for the capital by Film London.

London: The Modern Babylon is just one example of film digging deep into the cultural roots and fantastic archive of the capital. On the back of footage catalogued and digitised through SHUK, Film London supported the production by providing access to archive films from London's borough collections.

Artist Film-makers

Film London Artists' Moving Network (FLAMIN) enjoys the growing success of FLAMIN Productions, the unique production scheme for artist film-makers. Highlights in 2012 included the theatrical release of the award-winning Two Years At Sea and the announcement of the Turner Prize for Elizabeth Price, who was nominated on the strength of a major solo exhibtion which premiered her ambitous FLAMIN-Productions commissioned work, West Hinder. Three of the four artists nominated for this year's Turner Prize, including Price, were FLAMIN-supported artist film-makers.

From Shorts to Features

Following another successful instalment of the annual Best of Boroughs Film Awards, Film London launched a new pan-London Short film fund initiative in October. The London Borough Film Fund Challenge provides production funding, alongside mentoring and a training programme for the selected film-making teams.

2012 was a busy year for Film London Microwave, with three new films announced during Cannes whilst Borrowed Time premiered at Edinburgh.

Following iLL Manors successful nationwide theatrical release with Revolver, the debut feature from award-winning rapper Ben Drew (aka Plan B) went on to be nominated for three British Independent Film Awards. Meanwhile Strawberry Fields was distributed in the UK by Soda Pictures as part of its New British Cinema Quarterly. The film's star, Christine Bottomley, was recently named as one of the year's best performances by The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw. Both iLL Manors and Strawberry Fields are now available on DVD.

To round off a busy year for Microwave, its latest production, Lilting, starring Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) and Cheng Pei Pei (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), began principal photography in early December. As part of the groundbreaking training through production scheme, award-winning film-maker Michael Winterbottom is writer/director Hong Khaou's mentor whilst producer Buchanan is receiving guidance and support from his mentor Ken Marshall. Lilting is the eighth feature on the Microwave slate.

Developing Film Businesses in London

Film London's successful London UK Film Focus retuned in 2012 for the 9th year, seeing international film buyers acquiring British feature films to bring them to an international audience.

The 6th annual Production Finance Market took place in October in association with the BFI 56th London Film Festival. The market has successfully continued to diversify and increasingly attract delegates from a wide range of territories with the aim of promoting international co-productions and cross territory relationships, including their first partnership with India.

Film London visited India with the Mayor of London in November, as part of the Mayor's trade mission to the country. At a film summit in Mumbai co-hosted by Film London's Chair David Parfitt and attended by top film and TV producers, the Mayor announced two new Indian feature films will be shot in London in 2013. 

In May, Film London was awarded a highly competitive Interreg IVC grant worth €1.9m to launch EuroScreen, a project which aims to capitalise on the major economic and cultural opportunities presented when cities are seen on screen.

BFI London Film Festival

Film London, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, continued to support the BFI London Film Festival in 2012, investing £60,000 to support the festival's crucial industry offer and the annual Mayor's Gala, as well as presenting a series of events including the sixth Film London Production Finance Market and Market Place Live.

London shot films also opened and closed the Festival. Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, shot entirely in London's 3 Mills Studios, whilst LFF-closer Great Expectations shot on location in the capital.

Dickens 2012

Great Expectations was produced to coincide with the bicentennial celebration of Dickens's birth and as part of Dickens 2012 and features an all star cast including Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.

2012 has been a busy year for Film London with a number of successes, not least with Dickens 2012, of which the agency was a coordinating partner. Marking the bicentenary of Charles Dickens's birth, the campaign celebrated the author's life and work with events all over the globe throughout the year.

The National Remit

The British Film Commission (BFC) was awarded an additional remit to promote the incoming TV tax relief, through a strategic partnership with UK Trade and Investment. Ed Vaizey announced details of the partnership which sees the BFC receive an additional £400k over the next two years allowing the agency to effectively extend its remit to global territories and capitalise on potential opportunities with the emerging markets.

Thank you

Film London thanks its valued partners and funders including the Mayor of London, the BFI, DCMS, Arts Council England, Creative Skillset and UK Trade & Investment, for their ongoing support to ensure the agency can work to deliver for film and film-makers in the capital and beyond.

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