20 Years of Film London

Foreword by Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London

I’m proud to be celebrating two decades of supporting our capital’s screen industries, talent and culture. And what an incredible 20 years!

London is renowned as a global hub for film, television, VFX, animation and video games. Our talent, in front and behind the camera, consistently wins awards. Alongside the other regional clusters, our skills and training work is helping address crucial skills gaps and diversify our workforce. We are supporting London’s cinemas to reach audiences in a changing market. And constant innovation, from archive film to video games, is merging worlds, forging exciting new directions for London and the UK’s screen culture, industries and audiences.

Film London forged an early reputation as a trail-blazer. Established in 2004, we swiftly changed the face of filmmaking in the capital, opening up the visual vocabulary of London, widening the palette available to film-makers. Always proactive, we’ve seen opportunities, areas needing support to sustain and develop our creative communities. Then we’ve got to work. Working collaboratively with partners, we’ve taken risks to solve problems and change things, fundamentally rewriting how film and television is regarded in the capital. That’s how we created the London Filming Partnership in 2005, bringing together leading City agencies to ensure filmmakers could shoot almost anywhere.

We have a legacy of championing ground-breaking talent. From Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) to our Microwave funding scheme, the first low-budget feature programme in Europe, to our Breaking the Glass Ceiling programme, I’m immensely proud of our role in discovering and developing some of the UK’s most exciting talent.

Film London brokers connections between talent and industry to get films made and seen. Over the last decade, Film London’s Production Finance Market has introduced 647 projects to financiers, studios and sales agents, Slate Days has seen 224 distributor slates presented and London Screenings has helped UK sales companies to generate over $50 million in sales.

Innovation is at the heart of our mission. In 2015, with the Mayor of London, we established Games London, creating the London Games Festival in 2016. This year, over 100,000 people attended. From 2016, we also housed the British Film Commission, overseeing a significant increase in the number of inward investment films and High-End TV productions choosing to film in the UK.

To address our sector’s skills issues, we’ve established a new Skills department, securing funding to run the Mayor of London’s Creative Skills Academy in 2022 and, in 2023, the BFI’s Metro London Skills Cluster supported by National Lottery Funds.

We’re a cultural charity; any growth has to support our city and our society. That principle threads through every strand of our work, from our Equal Access Network, now with over 9,000 members from all London’s communities, including those previously under-represented, through to our new Undocumented project, bringing more black archival footage to London’sScreen Archives. We’re working to build more diverse audiences and help cinemas programme more diverse films. We’ve introduced talent programmes for young black-identifying animators through FLAMIN Animations. And we’re changing our own organisation to ensure we truly reflect the city we serve.

Environmental sustainability remains at the core of Film London’s values. From our ‘Grid Project’ to promoting steps to Net Zero for ourselves and our industry, we’re pressing ahead with local measures to address the global climate emergency.

At the same time, our work with European and international partners continues to spark genuine creative collaborations and draw in new funding to benefit London’s creative communities.

Now and in the future, Film London will continue to champion new generations of story-tellers in London. Whether that’s ensuring our training features the very latest video game engine skills, or tailoring programmes to support creators through challenges like Artificial Intelligence, we will nurture those finding new ways to realise their stories and bring them to life on our screens. And we’ll ensure Londoners and our international production partners can benefit from the UK’s newly enhanced Tax Credits, along with the game-changing new Independent Film Tax Credit.

In celebrating the past, present and future of Film London, this 20th Anniversary celebration shows my and my entire team’s commitment to ensuring all Londoners can access the life-changing opportunities and support they need to continue innovating and delivering world-class films, television, animation and video games.

I hope that you find it as inspiring as I do!

Messages from the past, present and future of Film London