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12.03.03
Action! - cement mixers turn for Cornwall's first film studio

Building work on an Objective One funded multi-million pound project to create Cornwall's first film studio is now well underway.

Contractors have moved onto the South West Film Studios site at St Agnes and are now busy putting in the foundations for the £5.76 million development.

The man behind South West Film Studios, film producer Alex Swan, said he is delighted to see work now moving ahead at full speed.

He said: "We formally launched the project in July. Clearing the site ready for construction took us up until the autumn and we then had some final design work to complete."

Alex said that over the next few months, people will be able to see the film studios really starting to take physical shape. Once the foundations are completed, the steel work will follow and then the fabric of the buildings themselves.

Alex added: "This is a really exciting moment for us and I'm delighted that we can get on and that the studios are now taking shape.

"This is a great moment not just for South West Film Studios but also for the St Agnes and Cornwall as a whole. We believe that our studio will be the first purpose-built studio to be created in the UK since 1923."

He explained: "Cornwall is already an extremely popular location for filmmakers big and small. Having state-of-the-art pre-production, production and post-production facilities here at St Agnes will much more of the work to be done here – and keep a much bigger share of the spend in Cornwall.

"We estimate that once the studio is up and running, it could generate more than £10 million a year for the local economy, both through extra direct spending and through the business opportunities that it will bring for firms providing support services for the film and television industry."

The first part of the new complex to be built will be a workshop. That will then be followed by two actual studios – one featuring a water stage, offices and buildings housing a range other facilities, including make-up rooms, wardrobes, art departments etc

The workshops should be finished by the late summer, with the other buildings due for completion early next year.

Alex said: "Completing the actual fabric of the buildings will take around six months. We'll then need to get the studios fitted out and we expect the entire project will be complete – with the studios ready for their first production – by early next year."

For further information contact:
South West Film Studios
Tel:01872 554131
www.southwestfilmstudios.co.uk

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Editor's notes:

Background

South West Film Studios is believed to be the first purpose-built film studio to be constructed in the UK since 1923.

The studios are being developed by South West Film Studios (UK) Ltd, a company set up by London-based film producer Alex Swan, whose credits include:

• Executive producer Relative Values (1999 feature film starring Colin Firth, Stephen Fry, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Julie Andrews – gross to date £3.9 million)

• Producer and executive producer of Married 2 Malcolm (feature film starring Mark Addy, Josie Lawrence, Hwyel Bennett – gross to date £3.1 million)

Position and connections

The studios are being built on a 10-acre site at St Agnes in Cornwall (previously home to a model village tourist attraction that closed some years earlier). The studios will be approximately four miles from Cornwall's main road link - the A30 trunk road.

St Agnes is about seven miles from the historic county town of Truro, which has direct rail links with London and the rest of the UK.

A private airfield at Perranporth (approximately four miles away) provides facilities for light aircraft, while Newquay Cornwall Airport (15 miles) provides BA flights to London Gatwick and a service from budget operator Ryan Air to London Stansted.

Location

South West Film Studios will provide an excellent backdrop for film shooting – surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens and only minutes away from a stunning coastline of ragged rocks, secluded beaches and crashing waves.

Further inland, Cornwall offers unspoilt countryside, the vast wilderness of Bodmin Moor, old towns, pretty villages, famous gardens and historic country houses – plus the decaying mine sites, industrial wastelands and urban decline that tourist brochures don't show.

As a region, the natural beauty and charm of the South West – Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset – has made it a popular location to shoot feature films, including scenes for the most recent James Bond movie.

Facilities:

South West Film Studios will provide both a base for filmmakers carrying out location shoots across the South West of England and facilities for production and post-production work.

The development will include

• Workshop space

• Conference hall, 20 office spaces and producers/directors' offices

• Two sound stages – one of which can be flooded to provide a 70ft by 70ft water stage

• Make-up rooms, green rooms, hairdressing rooms, wardrobes, dressing rooms, and art departments

• Post production facility

• Creche, café, restaurant and bar

For more information see www.southwestfilmstudios.co.uk, call +44 (0)1872 554131 or email info@southwestfilmstudios.co.uk

Film industry-related companies in Cornwall have already expressed interest in working from the studios and it is intended to create a cluster of expertise that offers core services such as catering, lighting, prop and set building and cameras.

A wonderful place to work!

As well as excellent, state-of-the-art facilities and services, South West Film Studios will also offer a wonderful place for filmmakers and their crews to base themselves.

The picturesque and friendly village of St Agnes provides a range of accommodation options, good pubs and local shops – while the immediate surroundings offer first-class surfing, fantastic beaches and stunning cliff walks!

Other world-class attractions close at hand include the Eden Project, the Tate St Ives and the new National Maritime Museum at Falmouth. For sailors, the sheltered waters of the Fal Estuary provide great opportunities.

Quality hotel, shopping, dining and leisure opportunities are also provided in Truro and other nearby towns.

Cost

The construction of South West Film Studios will cost £5.768 million. Private investors are providing the majority of that finance.

An investment of £2 million will also come through Cornwall's Objective One Programme, which was set up to provide European funding for projects that will boost the prosperity of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Construction timetable

Work on site began in July 2002, when local MP Matthew Taylor launched the first phase of the development (site clearance and digging foundations).

The first phase was completed in autumn 2002 and the main construction programme began at the end of February 2003.

The workshops and other facilities are expected to be complete by the end of 2003 and the studios will be fully operational by early 2004.

Endorsement

In addition to gaining European investment, support for South West Film Studios has also come from bodies responsible for developing and supporting the film industry.

Endorsement has come from both the British Film Commission and South West Screen, the regional body for the funding and development of film, video and the moving image.

Developing talent

South West Film Studios is working closely with agencies and other bodies set up to develop the creative industries in Cornwall and the wider South West region, including:

• Cornwall Film Fund – an Objective One project set up to provide funding for new scripts, project development and short film production.

• Falmouth College of Arts – part of the developing Combined Universities In Cornwall initiative, courses offered by the college include filmmaking and it is hoped that the presence of the studios will help retain skills in Cornwall by providing more opportunities for graduates.

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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