Busy autumn as South West Film Studios
announce three film productions secured for Cornwall
It's the news that Cornwall's been waiting for St
Agnes based South West Film Studios have secured a series
of three films which will commence production in Cornwall
this autumn. The films, with total production budgets in excess
of £15 million, will star Hollywood idols Eddie Griffin
and Max Von Sydow as well as the popular Vinnie Jones and
Ronan Keating in his acting debut and are scheduled to start
pre-production at the studios within days.
Already there's news of a requirement for 500 extras, and
the hope is that more and more jobs for locally qualified
film crews and other professionals will be created by the
influx of films to the South West Film Studios.
The three films are: 'Guns, Money and Home Cooking', 'Heidi'
and 'Irish Jam'.
'Guns, Money and Home Cooking' is a comedy thriller which
stars Vinnie Jones and Ronan Keating who is making his film
debut. The film, with a production budget of £5.5 million,
will be using the studios and locations around Porthleven,
and is already in pre-production.
'Heidi', being produced by Piccadilly Pictures, is the story
of Heidi and currently started filming in Slovenia, but will
be coming to the film studios shortly, with a production budget
of £4.5 million.
And finally, 'Irish Jam' starts pre-production at the studios
this week. The film stars Eddie Griffin who is a big star
in America where his last film grossed over $40 million. The
£5.5 million production will be filming in studios and
locations around Cornwall.
Alex Swan, Managing Director of the film studios has been
cautious about making any announcements of confirmed film
productions until they are underway, but is now confident
that the studios are on a roll, with many more films lining
up to use the studios.
"It's been a tough time in the film industry," comments Alex. "Changes in Government regulations on
tax breaks put back a lot of films which had to renegotiate
finances. But we're on our way now!"
The £6 million studios are based on a 10 acre site
in St Agnes and currently offer two sound stage studios together
with a suite of offices for the pre-production work to take
place prior to filming, post production facilities, catering
and other on site services. The studios provide a base for
filmmakers carrying out location shoots as well as fully sound
proofed stage facilities.
Work on the studios, which have yet to be completed, stopped
earlier this year while necessary re-financing was undertaken,
primarily due to an increase in building costs. It is hoped
that final construction activity will recommence shortly.
'Guns, Money and Home Cooking' is already in pre-production
at the studios and will be until filming starts at the end
of October with a scheduled completion date in early December.
The comedy thriller tells the story of a female lighthouse
keeper in her 70s who has a surprise visit from two men who
have just robbed a local bank, one of whom is Ronan Keating.
Vinnie Jones' character is in hot pursuit, although the robbers
have enough on their hands with the old lady lighthouse keeper.
Filming will be taking place at the studios and around Cornwall,
although locations are still being finalised. 500 extras will
be required for the film to take place in the rather idiosyncratically
named 'spinsters and bachelors race', details of which will
soon be publicised.
The £5.5 million production is due for release in the
summer of 2005. Film Producer, Phillip Emanuel says: "The
story is set in Cornwall and I believe it is vital to film
in authentic locations so it makes perfect sense to
do our studio work close by; we can do the least travelling
possible while we are shooting, with the option of studio
work if the weather is bad.
"The facilities are superb and the staff have been really
helpful, especially with location work."
And another film start into pre production at the studios
next week; Irish Jam, also with a production budget of £5.5
million, will be filming at the studios and locations around
Cornwall which have been identified as being similar to Ireland.
'Irish Jam' tells the story of the fictional Irish village
of Ballywood which is held to financial ransom by a nasty
English land owner who wants to build a theme park on the
village. The villager's only chance of keeping their homes
is to use their pub, the only part of the village not owned
by their greedy landlord, as a prize in a lottery.
A larger than life character and con artist from Los Angeles,
Jimmy 'The Jam' McDevitt is always looking for ways to make
a fast buck and uses his skills at cheating to win the pub
believing that it will be an island paradise.
When he arrives in the fictional village of Ballywood, shot
on location in Cornwall, his dreams are shattered along with
the expectation of the locals who were looking for a knight
in shining armour to save the day.
Comedy ensues as Jimmy 'the Jam' and the villagers adjust
to each other, with Jimmy finding some good in his personality
to change his ways and look out for someone other than himself.
The film will have its first showing at Cannes in May 2005.
Film producer Tom Mattinson said: "Cornwall's landscape
has many similarities to the fictional village in Ireland
which the film is set in. It's really useful to have a production
resource that is close to our location filming so Cornwall
and the South West Film Studios was an obvious choice. It
is exciting that we can potentially source so many of the
things we need to make our film from one place. Over the coming
weeks will be in talks with the studio to try and exploit
as many local resources as possible."
The classical children's tale of 'Heidi' is being retold
in a new production by film Director Paul Marcus, whose credits
include Prime Suspect, Break-Up, Murder Rooms, Emperor Nero.
The producer is Martyn Auty, a well known TV and film producer
whose work includes Heartbeat and a Touch of Frost. The production
company is Piccadilly Pictures whose previous film, The Truth
About Love, was shot earlier this year in Bristol.
Set in the Swiss Alps 100 years ago, Heidi is the story of
a young orphan girl who is sent to stay with her grandfather
in the High Alps. A tale of the indomitable spirit of children
amid the hardships of an adult world, Heidi has been a favourite
childhood fiction for generations around the world.
The movie stars Emma Bolger in the title role - Emma's first
film was the multi-award-winning 'In America' directed by
Jim Sheridan, which she made when she was 7 years old. Now
at nine, Emma is taking on one of the great children's roles
and her co-star is Max Von Sydow (as Grandfather) who first
impressed movie-goers in the mid-50s with his iconic role
in Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal' and is also famously
known for playing Father Merrin the priest in the cult film
Other leading actors in the production include Geraldine
Chaplin and Dame Diana Rigg.
Given its Alpine setting, the exterior scenes for Heidi will
be shot in the real Alps, in Slovenia; the exteriors of 'Frankfurt'
will be shot in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. The interior
sets will be built and filmed at South West Film Studios in
South West Film Studios will be providing local expertise
and talent as required by the production and it is planned
that shooting will take place from 22nd November to 10th December.
It is expected that a small number of local extras may be
used but the main cast for shooting in Cornwall are the principal
actors Emma Bolger, Max Von Sydow, Geraldine Chaplin and Diana
Content International will be releasing the film in the UK
sometime in 2005.
Details of how local people can apply for jobs in films being
shot at the studios, for example as extras, will be published
shortly in the local press.
For further information:
Deborah Clark and Associates
Tel: 01872 276276
Mobile: 07867 592506
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991
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