It has been a busy year for production in the East Midlands, with high-budget projects including the period movies The Other Boleyn Girl, The Young Victoria and The Duchess.
The Young Victoria producer Graham King, who was born in the UK but has worked in Hollywood for more than 20 years, was convinced that shooting his film, about Queen Victoria, in his home country was the right decision. 'I'm a Hollywood guy, but I'm English. We've got amazing talent (in the UK),' he insists. 'It's cost us a little more than we wanted, but I wanted it to be authentic.'
The Duchess' production manager Ben Gladstone is also convinced of the benefits of shooting at the real locations. 'Because we were in stately homes, we were quite self sufficient,' he says. As a result he did not require the services of EM Media, the regional agency responsible for film activity.
Nonetheless, it has been a good year for the Nottingham-based agency. With a $12m (£6m) production fund secured from European Regional Development sources from 2006-08, EM Media's investment strategy saw high-profile returns this year, including Shane Meadows' This Is England, Anton Corbijn's Control and Anand Tucker's And When Did You Last See Your Father'
For all the projects she invests in, EM Media's production fund head Lizzie Francke explains she is 'looking for viability in the marketplace but also for cultural worth too. We want titles that enhance what EM Media does.'
In terms of raising the profile of the East Midlands, she says: 'It's about making people aware of our good crew base; and it's about nurturing talent in the region.'
Neighbouring West Midlands hosted some scenes for Working Title's Atonement last year, with the local agency Screen West Midlands providing location support. The film's director, Joe Wright, is a strong supporter of the local industry, insisting he wants to continue 'making films in Britain about the British experience for British audiences, using British cast and crews.'
However, after a notable 2006, that also included The Road To Guantanamo and Confetti, it has been a relatively quiet 2007 for the Screen West Midlands (SWM) agency and the West Midlands region, taken up with securing further financing. This year saw the filming of Coventry-based writer Geoff Thompson's debut feature Clubbed, directed by Neil Thompson, and the autumn shoot of Faintheart, a collaboration between Screen WM and Myspace. David Williams' comedy Bono, Bob, Brian And Me shot in the region, using Screen WM's locations services, but there have been no major studio productions. Having secured $8m (£4m) over the next two years, Screen WM will have a maximum individual investment of $1m (£500,000).
Key agencies: EM Media, Screen West Midlands
Contacts: Lizzie Francke, firstname.lastname@example.org, (44) 115 934 9090
Kate Brannan, email@example.com, (44) 121 265 7120