Industry Briefings: May 2024

Posted on Apr 25, 2024 by Samara Husbands

New releases and developments from the world of Film and TV

OMA V Film Studios launches in Hertfordshire 

Location Collective, a major UK studio owner-operator, has announced the opening of OMA V Film Studios: a new, purpose-built space for high-end TV shows and feature films.

Located in Hertfordshire, the launch comes hot on the heels of the Spring Budget, which revealed a series of landmark new tax and business rates relief packages in recognition of the film and TV industry’s importance to UK growth. 

The first high-spec studio facility in the St Albans area, the new studio offers easy access to the M25 and 65,000 sq ft of high-specification sound stages (one 32,000 sq ft stage and two 16,500 sq ft stages), fully soundproofed to industry standard NR25 level.

The facility also boasts 35,600 sq ft of production office and support space, while a power upgrade ensures the facility can run from renewable stage and house power. 

Antony Iredale, founder of Location Collective, comments: “We are hugely excited to be launching our third studio in such a prime location for film and TV production, and proud to have created the first high-specification film studio in the St Albans area, at such a pivotal moment for our industry. We look forward to welcoming our first production onto the stages at OMA V, and delivering the same quality of service customers are already experiencing at our currently operational facilities.”

OMA V joins Location Collective’s growing portfolio – including flagship sites OMA One, OMA X and OMA V film studios – a group whose recent credits include Napoleon, The Crown, Black Mirror and The Boys in the Boat.

Sky champions diversity in new initiative 

Sky has pledged to ‘widen the playing field’ with a new initiative geared towards supporting diverse-owned and led production companies in creating content for its factual channels.

The move aims to ensure Sky hears from ‘a diverse range of voices as they pursue best-in-class boxsets and premium feature documentaries’.

Sky is inviting companies to apply for the opportunity to access a minimum of £15,000 towards enhancing their development slate, with ideas directed towards Sky Documentaries. 

The pick of the ideas will go on to a fully funded development. Interested parties must meet the criteria of having founders, owners or senior management creatives who are members of ethnic minorities, deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent, with the three successful companies receiving financial backing and a six-month partnership with Sky Documentaries. 

Poppy Dixon, director of documentaries and factual at Sky, said: “I’m thrilled to introduce our initiative supporting diverse-owned production companies. Sky is committed to fostering inclusivity in the industry. This opportunity is a commitment to mentorship and ongoing dialogue, with the goal of ensuring underrepresented voices stand out.”

For further information, email [email protected] with the subject heading Diverse Indies Development Initiative.

Boiling Point director steams ahead with new production company 

Philip Barantini, director of the lauded Boiling Point TV series and 2021 film, has joined Samantha Beddoe (exec producer on the show) to launch freshly minted indie, It’s All Made Up Productions.

With offices in London and plans to expand into their home city of Liverpool, the duo already has an impressive slate of productions in development, with a focus on drama and documentaries.

Bringing a combined 35 years of industry experience, they have vocalised their commitment to championing under-represented voices. Barantini, who began his career acting in acclaimed dramas Band of Brothers and Chernobyl, moved behind the camera on Boiling Point, before going on to direct shows including BBC’s The Responder and Netflix feature The Accused. His upcoming crime thriller Adolescence – written by Stephen Graham and Jack Thorne, and produced by Warp Films, Plan B and Matriarch Productions for Netflix – is currently in pre-production. 

“We want to tell powerful stories which resonate through film, drama and documentaries on the biggest scale possible,” he comments. “I am deeply passionate about the industry and where I come from, and to work with my close friend and long-time collaborator, Sam, is a dream come true.”

Best supporting role 

It’s been revealed that ARRI tech and services were behind the scenes in six out of ten best picture nominees, while three of the five films nominated for best cinematography were captured with ARRI cameras.

As a camera manufacturer, ARRI pays close attention to the achievement in cinematography award (as do we!), and the team is naturally delighted that the majority of contenders in this category chose ARRI cameras for their masterpieces.

These films were El Conde, filmed by DOP Edward Lachman, ASC; Killers of the Flower Moon, lensed by Rodrigo Prieto ASC, AMC; and Poor Things shot by Robbie Ryan BSC, ISC. Hoyte van Hoytema NSC FSF, ASC, won the Oscar for his outstanding work on Oppenheimer.

Shepperton Studios expansion off to a flying start

The expansion at Shepperton Studios in Surrey is now open, making the facility as a whole the second-biggest film and HETV studio in the world.

Amazon MGM Studios and Netflix are both in residence already, taking full advantage of the expansion’s amenities – which include an additional 17 sound stages, 548,000 sq ft of production and workshop spaces as well as two backlots.

The whole site now covers 1.5 million sq ft. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who recently visited the studios, commented: “The two largest content producers in the world have chosen Shepperton as the base for their global productions. Netflix have taken possession of 17 new state-of-the-art sound stages at Shepperton Studios, making Pinewood Group the biggest studio complex in Europe.”

Short takes

Andrew Tiffen named president of The Tiffen Company  

Andrew Tiffen has been named president and COO of The Tiffen Company, marking three generations of family ownership for the firm, which specialises in accessories for the imaging, motion picture, TV and broadcast industries. 

All new at Azimuth

Post-production company Azimuth has relocated from Holborn to Soho, revealing a new base with seven floors of cutting edge tech. With Yives Reed and Carl Grinter at the helm, the site has been custom-designed with all-new infrastructure, offering robust on-prem and in-cloud workflows. 

Visual Impact updates 

Visual Impact, a leading supplier of broadcast equipment for the production community, has bid a fond farewell to Rob Newton, business and marketing manager at the firm for two decades until his recent retirement.

An industry veteran, Newton started his career at Sony in 1982.

There, he spearheaded expansion into the broadcast sector, before joining Visual Impact where he would go on to play a pivotal role in shaping business strategies, enhancing brand presence and integrating group marketing activities. The company now has two new onboards, marketing manager Niki Esmaili and Luke Tait, senior sales and business development.

Diary Dates

1-10 May, Jeonju, South Korea, Jeonju International Film Festival

With a focus on indie and experimental cinema, JIFF launched in 2000 and has a reputation as one of the most important film festivals in Asia. The programming spans feature films, animation, documentaries and more, with awards up for grabs including the grand prize and special jury prize. 

14-25 May, Cannes, France, Cannes Film Festival

The world’s most prestigious film festival returns to the Riviera for its 77th year, bringing star-studded premieres, networking opportunities and glittering galas. Alongside the famous fest runs the Marché du Film – a major film market and hotbed of big deals and key players.

21-23 May, Dubai World Trade Centre, CABSAT

An annual broadcast digital media and satellite expo, CABSAT is a platform for the global media, entertainment and technology industry. In addition to almost 400 exhibition stands, highlights will include the Virtual Production Studio and the Content Congress, delving into creating, connecting and monetising the content lifecycle.

28 May-2 June, Vienna, Austria, Vienna Shorts

Now in its 21st year, this celebration of short-form filmmaking spotlights works of under 30 minutes, attracting submissions from around the world. The festival normally offers a diverse, excellently curated series of screenings, as well as various prizes, panel discussions, industry events and more.

This piece was first published in the May 2024 issue of Definition.

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