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Made in Dagenham: Mayor hails Dagenham East as the future destination for world-class film

Date posted: 30.10.2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, have announced plans for Dagenham East to become a world-leading destination for the production of blockbuster movies, as an expert study shows how the area is the ideal location for Hollywood-style studio space.

The study outlines how Dagenham East represents a rare chance to build a world-class film studio in London. This will support the long-term success of the UK's booming film and TV production industries, bolster Film London's work in attracting major new projects to the capital while also contributing to the regeneration of east London and supporting the Mayor's ambition for creative production along the Thames Estuary.

Key findings of the study

  • Demand: Due to the city's world-class skills, locations, crews and expertise, demand for studio space has never been higher. The value of feature film production spend in the UK in 2016 was £1.6billion, an all-time record. The large majority of this sum was associated with inward investment feature films, most of which are big-budget US-financed pictures. Much of this growth is focused on studios in and around London.
  • Capacity: Trends in the film and TV markets currently favour large, permanent studio spaces. Big-budget productions typically look for at least 125,000 square footage of stages, which this study demonstrates Dagenham East can accommodate. Other successful UK film studios are planning expansions but will not meet growing demand on their own, with modelling suggesting that the UK could need a further 800,000 square feet to 1.22m square feet of studio space by 2032.
  • Jobs: A studio of this size at Dagenham East could generate around 780 full time jobs in the local area and £35million for the economy.  
  • Location: Barking and Dagenham is well connected, and the proposed site is midway between the City and the M25. It's directly opposite the tube station and close to the A13 and M11 motorways, providing excellent transport links for cast, crew and industry professionals. Its location would provide a clear trajectory for studio South East,

Barking and Dagenham Council is now inviting expressions of interest from investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to create the huge studio space and will start the formal tender process in 2018. The potential site for the new studios at Dagenham East is located in front of Londoneast-UK business and technical park and was scoped out because of its significantly large size, which presents the opportunity to build a new, bespoke facility.

Local and global benefit

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London is a global capital for film - from Bond to Bridget Jones, and Star Wars to Paddington - our capital is world-renowned for its film industry and has at least 40 crews out on London's streets filming every single day.

"But we mustn't rest on our laurels. I want London to be the most film-friendly city in the world and today's study demonstrates the huge demand for large- scale film studios in the UK.

"I am determined to do more to support economic growth and create new jobs across London. A new film studio in Dagenham East will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, benefiting everyone from carpenters to camera operators."

A golden era

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: "This is a golden era for London's screen industries, and the city's success helps drive growth in film and TV production across the UK as a whole. However, such success brings its own challenges, and if we're to maintain our position then we need to make sure we can continue to remain competitive and meet global demand. Film London does everything it can to facilitate major filming, from supporting expansion plans to unlocking 'alternative' studio space. New, purpose-built facilities in Dagenham promise to be a tremendous boon for our industry and cement our status as one a global centre for content production. I'm looking forward to working with the Mayor and Cllr Rodwell to make this project a success, and, ultimately, bring jobs, investment and the biggest names in entertainment to this part of east London."

Barbara Broccoli OBE, producer, said: "The demand for studio space in the UK has never been higher and the creation of these studios offers a fantastic opportunity for our industry. East London is a hub of creativity with a strong arts and culture sector and I also believe this studio will offer a new and exciting prospect to the young people of Barking, Dagenham and beyond."

Production boom

Stephen Woolley, producer, said: "The UK is witnessing a real production boom for film and TV and it shows no signs of slowing, so new studio space to complement sites like 3 Mills, Pinewood and Shepperton is terrific news. When we shot Made In Dagenham we actually had to film part of it in Wales - if this site had been an option maybe we could have made the whole film in east London!"

David Parfitt, producer, said: "Film is a global business, and the projects we work on take Trademark Films all over the world. London will always be our base, however, not only because it's our home, but because we want the best talent, the best crews and the best facilities. Extra studio space here in the capital is something the international industry is extremely hungry for, and new facilities in east London would serve as a tremendous shot in the arm for a city that's already at the top of its game."

Iain Smith OBE, producer and Chair of the British Film Commission, said: "Many of the world's biggest blockbusters of the past few years were either made entirely in the UK, took advantage of our VFX expertise or relied on the brilliance of our crews who excel at everything from set construction to costume design. Of course this didn't happen by chance: it's thanks firstly to the phenomenal skills and talent of our crews, but is also the product of the vision, determination and sheer hard work of the wider industry. Increasing stage and studio space is absolutely core to maintaining this cutting edge internationally, and this announcement couldn't have come at a better time."

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