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Image of Cinderella descending steps, directed by Kenneth Branagh

London film gets the red carpet treatment in Berlin

Date posted: 04.02.2015

The Berlin International Film Festival starts tomorrow, bringing with it its characteristic mix of auteur-driven arthouse and crowd-pleasing blockbusters. In true Berlinale style, the festival will provide a sneak peek at what the rest of the world has coming up in film over the next year, from big upcoming releases to industry events.

London-shot films headed for the silver screen

This year's edition will see Berlin audiences get a first look at three upcoming London-shot productions. Simon Curtis' Woman in Gold and Bill Condon's Mr. Holmes are set to receive their world premieres at the festival, while Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella will screen for the first time outside of the US.

Based on true events, Woman in Gold follows Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) as she returns to her native Austria at the end of the 1990s to reclaim a priceless artwork stolen from her family by the Nazis - Gustav Klimt's famous Woman in Gold. Also starring Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl and Katie Holmes, the film will screen as the Berlinale Special Gala.

While the film's action takes its characters from Los Angeles to Vienna, some key scenes were filmed here in the capital. "London locations such as the Royal Institute of British Architects, Mansion House, Goldsmiths Hall, One Great George Street, Blythe House and the Rosewood Hotel doubled for Viennese and LA locations, as well as the Supreme Court in Washington and legal offices in Downtown LA," location manager David Broder explains.

Meanwhile, Ian McKellen steps into Sherlock's shoes for Mr. Holmes, an adaptation of Mitch Cullin novel A Slight Trick of the Mind. Set in 1947, the film catches up with the iconic detective in his twilight years, with a Sherlock who's 93 years old, long-retired and jaded by his legendary status. When he is invited to Japan by the Umezaki family, Mr. Holmes sees him set out on one last adventure.

Bill Condon's film shot extensively around London, including locations in Lincoln's Inn, Tavistock Place, Princelet Street and Conway Hall. Location manager Richard George describes the location they picked for the exteriors of Sherlock's famous central London residence: "Baker Street is one of the finest streets in London and it's an iconic location for Sherlock Holmes. We chose Bedford Row, which had the advantage of being very, very quiet on the weekend. We were able to close the street and transform it into period London for a flashback sequence - with horse, carts and all."

Finally, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella promises sumptuous, saturated visuals and picture-perfect sets for its live-action retelling of the Grimms' fairytale. The film boasts a raft of British acting talent including Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter and Holliday Grainger, with Downton Abbey's Lily James as the underdog heroine and Game of Thrones' Richard Madden in the role of the affable Prince Charming.

While much of the film was shot outside of the capital, the production made use of the imposing Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich for a royal sword training scene at the King's palace. "The scale and opulence of the Painted Hall gave the producers the perfect setting for this sequence," location manager Emma Pill explains. "The exuberant wall and ceiling paintings are stunning. It's always a pleasure to film at this location."

Gearing up for the Production Finance Market 2015

While the fruits of the industry's labour are setting the city alight on the big screen, Film London will be there to set the wheels in motion for the films of the future.

This Saturday at DFFB - Sony Center, we will be giving European producers a look at what is to come in the next year at The International Film Finance Marketplace, a seminar which will provide an insight into the changing financial landscape of the international marketplace, covering budgets, packaging and new revenue streams.

Participants will also be given an introduction to the Production Finance Market (PFM), Film London's two day annual event which focuses on connecting international producers and financiers to encourage new film financing relationships. Register now for your place at this free event.

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