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May

Image of London College of Communications in Still interview scene

London College of Communication in Still

Date posted: 01.05.2015

Established shorts writer and director Simon Blake makes his feature debut with thriller Still.

Starring Aidan Gillen, Still is a low budget feature telling the story of one man's downward spiral. Following the death of his teenage son, the film follows a distraught Tom Carver (Gillen) trying to overcome his grief. The heart-stopper screened in the Breakthrough strand at London Screenings last year, and comes to cinemas on 8 May.

Light and Space

A low budget film, Still needed flexible and fit-for-purpose locations. After searching various art gallery-style spots in Shoreditch and Hoxton, the production found the London College of Communication (LCC) suited many of their needs.

"Film is at the heart of LCC," says Rachel Bilson, Projects Manager at the LCC. "From Hollywood to Bollywood our award-winning alumni are at work all over the world, and we are also home to the Stanley Kubrick Archive."

"The location is also beautifully designed with great lines and differing levels and perspective," lauds director Simon Blake.

Efficiency was the order of the day, given time and budgetary constraints. "The beauty of LCC was that it was one building for all of the three scenes we needed to shoot," commends Blake. The LCC was used for an interview, an opening night of an exhibition and a rival gallery scene. "We were able to find all three spaces in the same single location."

"We shot on a Sunday afternoon so we pretty much had the place to ourselves," adds Blake. Up to 5,000 students occupy the building during the week, so filming over the weekend allowed the production sole use of the location.

Additionally, Bilson adds: "we also supplied LCC's handy and helpful Estates Assistants who were around during to assist with lifting and shifting."

The gallery exhibition scene involved three main actors and 20 extras, as well as crew. Blake remarks on the style of the building, saying, "the space where we shot the opening night exhibition has a huge ceiling with walkways that wrap around it."

The production was also able to use the photography work from the students of the college which were already on display, making life easier for the Art Department.

Location Inspiration

For Blake, there was an unscripted moment with Carver and his girlfriend Rachel that stands out for him. He explains, "Andy Parsons my DOP had a brilliant idea to set up a fixed shot in the corridor looking through the doors of the gallery space." This culminated in Carver's girlfriend Rachel berating him for his drinking habits at the gallery.

At this point, Blake says: "we didn't need dialogue to show that as she was literally talking to a slab of bricks as Carver had disappeared behind a wall." Blake sees it as a "great example of visual storytelling" and goes to show how a location can inspire an alternative take on a script. 

Blake was pleased with the filming outcome and the many ways in which the production were able to use the location. Bilson attests that "filming ran smoothly, finishing on schedule" and was able to accommodate and facilitate the filming request accordingly.

About the London College of Communication

Based at Elephant and Castle since 1964, the LCC was formerly known as the London College of Printing. It is now a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, currently ranked in the top-ten globally for art and design

As well as offering a professional location hire service the LCC can give filmmakers the opportunity to collaborate with 5000 creative and motivated students.

photo credit Phillip Reed

The venue's specialist spaces available for location hire include:

  • TV studio: 10x10m studio with Tungsten Fresnel studio lighting
  • Photography studios: Four large studios that can be combined to make one large space with green room
  • Radio and Foley studios: Kitted out for 1990s
  • Commercial print room: Heidelberg Lithographic printers from several different eras
  • Design studios and Mac and PC suites: Up to 24 machines
  • Journalism newsdesk: Screens for rolling news, glass partitions
  • Digital Space: In the style of a internet start-up with break-out areas and work "pods"
  • Gallery spaces with white walls and high ceilings
  • Stanley Kubrick Archive: A futuristic space with futuristic, mobile shelving

photo credit Casey MacKenzie Johnson

The LCC also has a number of features that are of frequent interest to location managers:

  • Views from a 14 floor tower with 360 degree views including Elephant and Castle roundabout, Parliament, Crystal Palace, the Shard
  • 1960's Design School: feature roofs and windows
  • Elevators, goods yard and outdoor stairwells
  • Classrooms, offices, reception desk, library and kitchens
  • Four storey atrium

Parking is available on-site for a limited number of cars and filming on Sundays and overnight is possible by arrangement. 

To find out more about filming: http://www.arts.ac.uk/lcc/business-and-innovation

Or contact Rachel Bilson, Projects Manager at r.bilson@arts.ac.uk