£5.76 million film studio complex for Cornwall
A £5.76 million project
to build the first film studio complex in the South West got underway
today (July 19), promising state-of-the-art production facilities for
the film and television industry.
The project, at St Agnes in Cornwall, is believed to be the first purpose-built
film studio constructed in the UK since 1923 and is expected to generate
more than £10 million a year for the local economy.
The South West is the most commonly used location for filmmaking in the
UK, and Cornwall is the most popular area in the South West, but until
now has never had studio facilities of its own. Major feature films recently
shot in Cornwall include the next James Bond film, Die Another Day, which
used the Eden Project and the North Cornwall coast, and Johnny English,
a £30 million production in which Rowan Atkinson reprises his Barclaycard
role as an incompetent diplomat who is mistaken for England’s greatest
spy. The film, due for release next year, used St Michael’s Mount as a
The new studio complex has come about thanks to a multi-million investment
by South West Film Studios (UK) Ltd, a company set up by London-based
film producer Alex Swan and Objective One funding.
The new facilities will enable Cornwall’s talented but disparate film
industry companies to come together under one roof and offer visiting
productions a complete package of services. The nature of the film industry
means that production companies, which are predominantly based in and
around London, spend as little time as possible on location to minimise
costs. Their pre-production, production and post-production activities
tend to be done elsewhere, which means much of the economic benefit is
lost to the South West.
By offering everything they need under one roof in Cornwall, the St Agnes
studio will retain a lot of that spend – estimated at 75% - in the local
economy. It will also provide filmmakers with more flexibility by offering
two covered sound stages for indoor work, so productions needn’t grind
to a halt when the weather is unsuitable.
Mr Swan said: “Our research shows that there is a clear need for quality
studio facilities in the South West, and regional studios are being strongly
promoted by the British Film Commission.
“Cornwall, with its costal scenery, gardens, villages and country houses,
as well as it’s unique light, is a filmmaker’s paradise, which is why
in any one year you can expect to see 12 feature films using it for location
work, not to mention all the commercials and television activity that
“What we’re offering is a home from home for the production companies,
but at considerably less cost.”
Film industry-related companies in Cornwall have already expressed an
interest in working from the new St Agnes studio, and the intention is
to create a cluster of expertise that offers core services like catering,
lighting and cameras full-time. Production companies would then book space
to use the studio and its support facilities as a base during the period
Mr Swan said just two or three feature films would keep the studios at
capacity throughout the year, supporting anything between 50 and 200 jobs
depending on demand, while the complex itself would have 10 full-time
staff, not including staff employed by companies that chose to relocate
The hope in the future is to build links with Falmouth College of Arts
and the new Combined Universities in Cornwall to retain filmmaking skills
in Cornwall by creating more opportunities for graduates.
Matthew Taylor, Liberal Democrat MP for Truro and St Austell, who launched
the project today with an official groundbreaking ceremony, said: “Cornwall
already has an enviable reputation as a location for film production,
and today’s announcement can only reinforce that reputation while retaining
a much higher percentage of film budgets within the county.
“I have been helping this project secure its funding over several months,
and so I am particularly glad to help launch it today.”
The £5.768 million project has been supported with a £2 million grant
from the European Regional Development Fund under Cornwall’s Objective
One funding programme. The remainder of the funding has come from the
Objective One programme director Bill Bawden said: “This project has
real potential to position Cornwall as a centre for filmmaking excellence,
and will reinforce the opportunities being presented by another Objective
One project, the Cornwall Film Fund, which is supporting film production
in the county. This is all part and parcel of growing the arts sector
Sue Craig, Film Liaison Manager at South West Screen, the newly formed
regional body for the funding and development of film, video and the moving
image in the South West, said: “South West Screen welcomes this exciting
initiative to build a film studio complex in Cornwall. We believe it will
be a valuable addition to the infrastructure of support for film and television
productions coming to the region and wish South West Film Studios every
Steve Norris, head of the British Film Commission, said: “As part of
the Film Council, the BFC and the Regional Screen agencies aim to ensure
that any film that can be made in the UK is made in the UK, and that the
necessary infrastructure is in place to support it. The fantastic development
of this new studio in the South West of England brings us one step closer
to making this aim a reality.”
Work on the new film studio complex begins today and is expected to last
14 months. The studios are being constructed on the site of the former
St Agnes leisure park and model village.
For further information contact:
South West Film Studios (UK)Ltd.
Tel: 01872 554131
Photograph’s from today’s groundbreaking ceremony are available direct from Apex Photo Agency (tel. 01392 824024).
An Architects impression of South West Film Studios has been provided by Cornwall Architectural Design (detailed planning application will be made shortly).
Feature film activity in Cornwall
Please find attached a list of feature films and television dramas filmed in Cornwall in recent years. The list was compiled by what was formerly known as the South West Film Commission and is now part of Screen South West.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
provides £314 million of European funding for projects that help
boost the prosperity of the county. The money must be match-funded
and the whole programme, which runs from 2000 to 2006, is estimated
to be worth £800 million in total. For more information visit www.objectiveone.com
Cornwall Film Fund
The Cornwall Film Fund, part financed through the Objective One programme, provides film makers with loans for production of short films and development of major film and television projects, subject to Cornish participation (and/or content and match funding). Writers in Cornwall can also benefit from cash grants for writing new scripts. For more information contact Cornwall Film Fund director Colin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org; call 01872 322886 or visit www.cornwallfilm.com.
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD