Sadiq Khan has set out his vision for London to become the world’s most film-friendly city announcing a raft of measures to invest in talent, skills and infrastructure.
New figures show that the UK film industry has enjoyed a record-breaking year with inward investment in 2016 reaching £1.35bn – an 18% rise on last year.
Approximately three-quarters of the UK’s film industry is based in and around London, meaning that it contributed roughly £1.2bn to the capital’s economy in 2016.
On the back of these findings, the mayor has brought together the leading lights of London’s screen industries to discuss the challenges facing the sector and to reaffirm his commitment to the creative industries.
In an address to industry leaders at the world-renowned Double Negative Visual Effects in Fitzrovia, Khan said that although the UK continued to attract international film and TV projects in 2016, it cannot be complacent in times of unprecedented political and institutional change and global competition.
London is the third busiest city for film production in the world after only Los Angeles and New York. The capital’s world-class crews, locations, talent and competitive tax reliefs have sustained London’s position in the top three cities - and that also means demand for studio space is incredibly high.
Looking to build on this success, Khan announced 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 just 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, recognising broader skillsets that are necessary for film production – from carpenters to sound technicians.
Khan 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.
“In order to achieve this, we need to ensure we continue to attract the brightest, most diverse creative talent to London and we need to invest in the kind of physical infrastructure that will ensure our city remains competitive on the global stage.”
BAFTA award-winning director Amma Asante agreed with Khan, saying: “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.”
The creative industries account for one in six jobs in the capital and are a major area for economic growth. Culture and the creative industries are worth £35bn to the capital’s economy and the Mayor has made the sector a top priority for his administration.
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