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Image of event Amma Asante and Sadiq Khan

Mayor sets out vision to make London world’s most film-friendly city

Date posted: 31.01.2017

Sadiq Khan has set out his vision for London to become the world’s most film-friendly city, announced at a screen industry round table co-hosted by Film London and the Mayor of London, and held at Double Negative Visual Effects.

Sadiq said: “From upcoming films Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Mummy to the recent successes of Bridget Jones’ Baby and Brotherhood, the capital’s film industry is currently enjoying record investment and I’m committed to making sure that it continues to flourish, making London the best, most inviting place for film production in the world.”

This will include a raft of new measures to invest in talent, skills and infrastructure, ensuring the capital’s film industry is able to continue on an upward trajectory. The plans were discussed with the leading lights of London’s screen industries at the round table, also looking at the challenges facing the sector and reaffirming the Mayor’s commitment to the creative industries.

A leading city for filmmakers

Prior to the film and TV roundtable, Sadiq was invited to visit the studio of multi award-winning director Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom). Amma is currently in post-production on her forthcoming film Where Hands Touch, making good use of the capital’s world-class post-production facilities and filmmaking infrastructure.

Amma said: “I'm always proud to come home to London to tell my stories - for its locations, talent, skilled crews and post-production facilities, London is one the best cities in the world to work as a filmmaker. I'm a big supporter of the Mayor's plans to open up opportunities for new talent but also enhance London and support it in becoming even stronger as a leading city that attracts filmmakers and film productions.”

A record-breaking year for London’s film industry

Figures released last week show that the UK film industry has enjoyed a record-breaking year with inward investment in 2016 reaching £1.35 billion – an 18 per cent increase on the previous year. Approximately three-quarters of the UK’s film industry is based in and around London, meaning that it contributed roughly £1.2 billion to the capital’s economy in 2016.

The creative industries account for one in six jobs in the capital and are a major area for economic growth, with culture and the creative industries worth £35 billion to the capital’s economy..

The capital’s world-class crews, locations, talent and competitive tax reliefs have sustained London’s position in the top three cities in the world for film production (after only Los Angeles and New York), which also means demand for studio space is incredibly high.

Building skills and studios

Looking to build on this success and ensure future growth, Sadiqannounced plans to work in partnership with Creative Skillset and Film London to deliver a new skills strategy. This strategy will identify skills shortages within the capital’s film industry, develop routes into the sector for talented creatives, and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to enter the screen industries.

The Mayor also announced that he has appointed consultants SQW, BBP Regeneration and Richard Miller from the University of Hertfordshire to deliver the feasibility study for the London’s largest new film studios in London, to be situated at Dagenham East.

A new film studio complex in Dagenham would enable London to bid successfully for more overseas film productions, benefitting not only the capital but the rest of the UK. It would also create a range of permanent jobs in the East End with ambitions to diversify the industry’s workforces with broader skillsets that are necessary for film production,from carpenters to sound technicians.

Working together for film and TV

The Mayor will also commission Film London to review the London Filming Partnership, which is a group of over four hundred organisations committed to making London as film-friendly as possible.. The Partnership includes organisations as varied as transport bodies, the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Parks.

The recommendations from his review will feed into the world’s first ever Cultural Infrastructure Plan – a Mayoral manifesto commitment that will identify the assets and skills that are needed in order to sustain London’s future as a cultural powerhouse. This plan is due to launch in 2018.

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “This is a pivotal time for London’s screen industries. In terms of skills, talent, studio space and sheer creativity we’re very much at the top of our game and in high demand from major productions who want to base their film and TV projects here. I’m proud that Film London is working with the Mayor on such a far-sighted and comprehensive set of proposals which will deliver a city that meets the needs of our vibrant film and TV industries and pave the way for the next generation of creators, craftspeople and storytellers to the significant benefit of London and the UK.”   

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