The atmosphere was positively charged and upbeat at the pre BFI London Film Festival event we hosted last night. Producers, film makers, investors and advisors to the film industry gathered at The Union Club to hear Adrian Wootton, OBE and CEO of Film London and The British Film Commission talk about the success of the film industry in London, and the UK.
Prior to his current role Adrian was acting Director of the British Film Institute (BFI), in addition to having been the Director of the London Film Festival (LFF), the National Film Theatre (NFT), Head of BFI Exhibition and Director of the crime and mystery film festival, Crime Scene. He was awarded an OBE in 2017 for his services to film.
Adrian spoke about London as a hub of great talent, expertise and creativity and the BFI London Film Festival as a platform to celebrate opportunity, collaboration and inclusivity in the film sector; a stage where huge stars and filmmakers merge.
The BFI London Film Festival goes from strength to strength, the exciting film and events programme which was unveiled earlier this month includes this year's Mayor of London Gala, supported by Film London. The film selected for the gala is Tom Harper's The Aeronauts. Tom is an alumnus of Film London, having made two shorts Cubs and Cherries with support from Film London. Two Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network Productions features have been selected to screen in the Experimenta strand of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. Roz Mortimer's The Deathless Woman and Noor Afshan Mirza & Brad Butler's Ruptures will have their world premieres at BFI Southbank.
This year also sees Film London’s Production Finance Market (PFM) strengthen ties to the LFF Industry programme. PFM facilitates over 800 face-to-face meetings between producers and financiers from the international marketplace, to foster relationships and source financing for new projects. Film London will also host their regular London Calling event at the festival, showcasing a selection of new BFI NETWORK shorts from some of the capital’s most exciting upcoming filmmakers.
At a time of feelings of uncertainty in the economic environment, doom and gloom is misplaced when it comes to film was Adrian’s message, loud and clear.
The UK film industry has never been busier, he confirmed, with talent and crews in the greatest demand they have known. Studios are always busy, but never full thanks to new and exciting studio developments across the UK.
It was reassuring to hear that no matter what happens over the next few months, UK film tax reliefs aren’t going anywhere. The Government has identified the film sector as bigger that pharma and growing faster than any other sector in the economy.
History has shown us that creative by nature, filmmakers and producers will always find a way of working together, no matter what challenges they face. The film sector is resilient.
On a larger scale Disney is at Pinewood, and Netflix is at Shepperton; huge global names expanding into the UK and using UK talent and technology. These are the strongest signals to the UK film industry that the sector is attracting international investment, and endorsement.