Film London has started talks with the city’s locations and boroughs as part of a move to make the capital cheaper and more accessible to productions.
The regional film agency says the review is a “priority” for the next three to six months and has been prompted the current economic crisis.
Sue Hayes, film commissioner at Film London, said: “There just isn’t the money around that there was. So we are saying to leading London locations, you want film crews to use you, so let’s look at reviewing your prices.”
The agency has already met with the 33 London boroughs and key locations as part of a ‘cost forum’ to review the price of shooting in London. Last month, it met a second time with key staff at the boroughs to discuss bringing in a consistent pricing structure across all areas of the city.
According to Film London, 115 films were shot in the capital last year bringing in a total of $402.5m (£268.5m).
The review has been welcomed by the London boroughs, who are keen to standardise costs and licensing to make it easier for productions to budget for shooting across several different boroughs. Michelle Myril, operations manager at Tower Hamlets Film Office, said: “In this climate, we know we need to consider costs, we are looking at making filming easier while not putting ourselves out of pocket.”
At present, every borough charges a different rate for filming; some councils charge administration fees for dealing with enquiries and others charge for building scenery. It is understood that Film London has suggested the boroughs bring in a flat fee of $375 (£250) for a day’s filming. This is currently the cost of half a day’s shooting in some of the popular boroughs, such as Lewisham.
Somerset House, which also attended the forum, and was used as a location in the 2007 film The Duchess, has since introduced a flexible charging policy, reviewing each filming request according to the production’s budget. Film London said hoped to see similar strategies adopted by other key locations. A spokeswoman added: “It is all in the early stages and decisions have not yet been made, but the good news is that the conversations have started.”
The review is part of the London Filming Partnership, which includes key public and private organisations including the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London, as well as locations and borough film offices. The partnership, which was set-up in 2005, is not legally binding, but the signatories are expected “to make their collective best efforts to ensure that London is film-friendly and provide the appropriate human and financial resources to make that happen.”