Pride of London!
Date posted: 10.09.2014
Marching to a screen near you this weekend, Matthew Warchus' Pride is a joy-filled, heart-melting tale of the LGBT activists who raised money to help families affected by the 1984 Miner's Strike. It's a journey that takes the activists to a remote mining village in Wales, and the residents of that village back to London - where they attend their first Pride march.
Based on a true story, it was essential to get the locations right, and London stepped up: bridges were closed, parks doubled up and one street in Kilburn was completely transformed.
Film London's leading role
With a stellar cast including Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, Pride is set to take the UK by storm.
But it nearly didn't happen as planned. Director Warchus and location manager Pat Karam decided their ideal place for a key scene was the Aylesbury Estate, where productions had not been able to access for some time. With assistance from Film London and the CEO of the London Borough of Southwark, the production was able to use the location.
"[I]t went brilliantly on the day" said Karam, adding "We have Film London to thank for making that happen".
Pride makes us proud: London-shot production uses locals on set
Not only did the locals welcome the production, Proud Films, the company behind Pride, made a £1,000 donation to the Aylesbury Residents' Association and worked with the Southwark Film Office, managed by FilmFixer, to secure work placements with a number of local people.
The donation also supported training delivered by The Calltime Company to eight residents of the Estate - including two set visits during which location manager Karam provided an insight into his profession.
Interviewed in May, FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord praised the production for their approach: "It's really important to see film crews respecting and supporting residents. I take my hat off to Proud Films and their location manager Pat Karam in particular, for everything they did".
Stopping the traffic
Telling a true story, Pride doesn't have an entirely positive start. When the activists first offer their donations to the National Union of Mineworkers they are rejected - the Union is concerned about the PR repercussions of being openly associated with an LGBT group. Undeterred, the activists take matters into their own hands and deliver the money in person, to a remote mining village in Wales.
Relations are rocky at first but the meeting ends up forging long lasting and powerful connections that lead to members of the Welsh community heading to London to soak up the nightlife and go on a Gay Pride march.
In a powerful scene, the march crosses Westminster Bridge – a location that could have proved a logistical nightmare. But location manager Pat Karam worked with TFL and Westminster to ensure that the traffic could be held, praising both as being "fantastic to deal with. -Really positive and helpful."
To continue the perfect recreation of the Pride March, Karam worked with The Film Office to transform Victoria Park into a 1980s Hyde Park providing a more than convincing double.
And the transformation didn't stop there with Karam explaining "FilmFixer were terrific helping us recreate 1980s Bloomsbury in a forgotten parade of shops in Kilburn." This set included the bookshop in the film, Gay's the Word, and the production shot there with a road closure for three days.
As Karam sums up: "All great examples of London filming."