The UK gets a boost with the launch of new studio facility, Black Hangar Studios, which includes a 32,000 sq ft sound stage, water tank and onsite production services and will be targeting British film and television productions who are unable to get into Pinewood and Shepperton.
The UK’s latest studio facility, Black Hangar Studios, has officially opened for business, although it has already played host to a number of shoots including Salmon Fising In The Yemen and Indian sci fi movie Ra One.
The 32,000 sq ft studio facility is located at Lasham Airfield, 40 minutes outside London and features a 5000 sq ft outdoor water tank – designed by Oscar winning art director Peter Lamont - which was used in Salmon Fishing.
As well as offering studio space, the facility includes a Special FX department headed up by Oscar nominated Harry Potter special effects supervisor Digby Milner and its own art department run by Simon Lamont, as well as a number of flexible office spaces and a built in hair and make-up area.
It will be able to supply services directly, including agencies and casting, animation, props, camera and lighting, catering and events, costume, insurance and legal, post production, transport and visual effects, whilst offering “more favourable rates than other UK studios,” according to the studio’s chairman Alex Worrall, who is hoping to attract a combination of big US studio shoots and UK film and television productions, games and commercials.
The studio is now in final talks to secure a major US sci fi film and a World War 1 feature.
Worrall decided to set up the studio after spotting what he saw as a gap in the market. “The film industry seemed liked a cottage industry to me. Britain has a huge pool of talent, but I couldn’t see why we couldn’t put them all together under one roof,” says Worrell, an entrepreneur whose past ventures have included owning motor racing teams and radio stations.
“We are trying to be a flexible offering. We can provide as much or as little as people want. If people want us to be a one stop shop we will be, if they want to do everything themselves, they can do it. We can take the overspill from Pinewood,” adds Worrall, who also has plans to expand the facilities. “We have the space to expand, we have the capability to do it,”
He also has plans to turn the studio into a centre of excellence for training crews in the long term. “It’s about making money and being sustainable.”
Black Hangar Studio’s CEO is Carole Siller, who previously consulted at Reliance and has worked in the international film business for over 20 years. She is hoping that the studio will be able to accomodate those British productions which struggle to compete with the big international shoots coming to film in the UK.
“There are a lot of amazing filmmakers in the UK who often don’t stay because they cant get into the better stages in the UK. I would really like them to come and feel like they can have a new home here and that people can feel like it’s their office.”
“I’d really like to work with some of the British broadcasters. We are sending so much work to South Africa because they feel like the only thing they can afford to do is location work in the UK. I would really like to target that business.”
Siller is now liaising with UK organisations including the British Film Commission, Film London, Creative England to get them onboard the project.
Black Hangar is also sponsoring this year’s UK pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival.
Producer and distributor Hamish McAlpine, who will act as a consultant to the studios, told Screen: “There is an under capacity in the UK at the moment. The US studios, let alone the English are having enormous problems scheduling their films into Pinewood and Shepperton. Our sound stage is almost as big as the James Bond stage at Pinewood. Our water tank is the second biggest in Europe. We are capable of accommodating really major studio films here and are able to charge substantially less than Pinewood or Shepperton while offering the same physicality of scale.”