Mayor of London supports film in the Capital
Mayor of London pledges his support for film in the capital
Boris Johnson meets with key players from London’s production industry, announces plans to bring more film to all Londoners and welcomes pioneering legislation by London Councils and Transport for London
Mayor of London Boris Johnson today held his first meeting with prominent figures from the film, television and production industries. The film summit hosted in City Hall saw the Mayor appraise the achievements of the capital’s production industry and identify the challenges it faces moving forward.
Outlining his commitment to supporting film in London, the Mayor announced a new set of priorities for Film London, the capital’s film and media agency, including new legislation to make it easier to film around the capital and greater investment in developing grassroots film-making talent. He also revealed plans for the London Film Day, a new campaign to provide all Londoners with more opportunities to enjoy film.
Major industry figures taking part in the discussion at City Hall included directors Michael Winterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo, A **** and Bull Story) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice); producers Tim Bevan (Frost/Nixon, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Andrew Macdonald (Trainspotting, The Last King of Scotland); representatives from TV – Stephen Garrett of Kudos Film and TV (Spooks, Life on Mars); and commercials production – Barnaby Spurrier of Tomboy Films (Somers Town); with Film London Chief Executive, Adrian Wootton and key cinema exhibitors and leading post production houses in the capital.
Since Film London was launched in 2004, there has been a massive 40 increase in filming in the capital. The screen industry employs 100,000 people in London and visiting productions generate revenue for local councils and businesses; for instance, this year Kudos Film and TV produced 60 hours of television in 12 months with a total budget of over £50 million, most of it based here in the capital. Images of the capital on screen also encourage tourism, with one in ten tourists citing film images as a reason for travel.
Boris Johnson, whose Mayor of London Gala screening of Michael Winterbottom’s Genova is tonight, said: “The film industry – arguably more than any other – has simultaneously brought the world to London and put London on the world map. Few cities can compete as an iconic backdrop, and it’s no surprise that our capital has become on of the top production centres in the world. My job is to help keep it that way and I’m determined that this film summit will signal the start of a highly productive relationship with a sector that has brought income, jobs, and a lot of pleasure to London.”
Mr Johnson also welcomed new powers in the London Local Authorities and Transport Act 2008, jointly promoted by London Councils and Transport for London, which help make the capital more appealing for film-makers by minimising traffic disruption during shoots. This legislation, the first of its kind in the UK, will make London an even more competitive filming centre bringing financial benefits directly into the city and individual boroughs. London local authorities will monitor the effectiveness of the scheme.
The Mayor also pledged to double the funding for the London Borough Film Fund Challenge to £100,000 increasing grassroots film-making opportunities across London. Through the London Borough Film Fun Challenge, Film London has successfully worked with 15 boroughs to discover and support new talent, so far making over 100 films. With additional funding and the ongoing support from London Councils this scheme will expand to include all 33 London local authorities. Many of the shorts have won or been shortlisted for numerous awards such as Ralitaz Petrova from Tower Hamlets receiving the best short film award at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival. Countless up-and-coming film-makers have used the London Borough Film Fund Challenge to launch their career and begin working in the production industries.
The Mayor is also backing the London Film Day, a campaign being developed by Film London. The London Film Day is a one day celebration dedicated to film, giving Londoners of all ages and across all boroughs more opportunity to engage with film with a range of exciting screenings and special film and educational events.
As well as supporting this year’s Mayor of London Gala at the London Film Festival, the Mayor, in conjunction with Film London and the LDA, is also hosting ‘London Loves’; a programme of free film screening on Trafalgar Square on 23 and 24 October. This will include classic British silent films with a live piano accompaniment, plus rare films about London from the capital’s film archives and the BFI National Archive.