ExCeL London has opened its doors to film and TV productions, offering more than 1 million square feet of space for filming until April 2021.
Working in partnership with its filming agents, Location Collective, ExCeL will make the space available in the interim between live events, which will recommence at the Centre from October.
"One major US Studio has already taken space for a well-known show, and a number of further blockbuster features and HETV shows are in discussion”, the companies confirmed in a statement.
KFTV has learned that one of Sky’s leading UK comedy series is set to shoot at the ExCeL this month.
Having successfully hosted location shoots in the past across film, TV and music video, the venue has re-opened the 1 million sq ft of space, which is 33ft high to rigging point, with drive-in access, unlimited connectivity, separate office space, green rooms and production areas, as well as optional on-site crew catering, VIP, hospitality and retail.
James Rees, executive director at ExCeL London, said: “We quickly realised we were in the very unusual position of a perfect storm: we have a large amount of space to offer, space that exactly meets the requirements of an industry who are in need and able to get back to work.”
“Of course, we are itching to get back to ‘our day job’, hosting world-leading, organised events but it’s fantastic that a challenge that we face short-term has put us in the privileged position to support another industry going through its own post-lockdown challenges. It’s been a great case study in how we can work collaboratively to reignite our economy.”
The move is part of efforts to encourage major projects to shoot in London, and the rest of the UK, rather than venture abroad, as productions start up again. It follows the announcement in June by Location Collective that it was opening OMA Film Studios in Enfield, comprising four sound stages totalling around 90,000 sq ft. Plus NEC Arenas in Birmingham exclusively revealed to KFTV in July it was opening its doors to film and TV projects.
A recent report published prior to the pandemic by property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton estimated that an additional 1,900,000 sq ft of studio space was needed in the UK to satisfy demand. These latest moves certainly help reach that target.
Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, added: “It’s fantastic to see a venue like ExCeL becoming available to the film industry under such extraordinary circumstances, boosting East London’s hub for production. It demonstrates once again what a great city London is, and always will be, for filming and how versatile and adaptable the city is. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK screen industries were enjoying record growth. As UK film and TV production safely restarts, I am confident we shall return to those levels, and exceed them, in coming years, playing our part in the capital and country’s recovery. We welcome additional space opening up to further bolster the UK’s world-class studio offer and support economic growth.”
Antony Iredale, managing director of Location Directive, says: “We instantly knew that ExCeL would generate a huge amount of interest; the space ideally fits what our film industry customers are looking for in the current climate.
“We are fielding a lot of calls from productions who can’t believe this space is available, such is the shortage ordinarily in London, including almost daily enquiries from the US. Shows that would conventionally be US based have been looking at how to adapt to London, as the UK is a less turbulent place to shoot right now. The feeling is that producers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure content gets made and shows are produced.”