Weightmans Wednesday – Wednesday 16th March 2016

Last week, I attended the first Weightmans Wednesday of 2016. This featured a talk by Jacqui Rafferty and Kevin Bell, from Liverpool Film Office. The purpose of this was to explain how Liverpool has become a popular location for filming.

Founded in 1989, Liverpool Film Office has proved to be a major success for the city, by providing the city council’s liaison for TV and film production in the Liverpool region. To give you a background of the Film Office’s success, I have included some facts below.

1. Liverpool has hosted 6,000 productions.
2. It Is the most filmed UK city outside of London.
3. In 2015, there were 229 productions in Liverpool, bringing in £11.2 million into the local economy.
4. TV productions have included Brookside, Hollyoaks, Boys from the Blackstuff, Bread and Cilla.
5. Film productions have included The 51st State (a favourite film of mine!), Fast and Furious 6, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America and The Dark Knight.

Before the talk, I took the opportunity to network with fellow attendees and engage in conversation. An example was Maureen Sinclair from Clapperboard UK, which is a non-profit and charitable film production organisation. I listened eagerly to Maureen talking about Clapperboard’s work with young people and the community, enabling them to tell their stories from script to screen. It was such a pleasure to hear Maureen’s Clapperboard story, that I watched some of the videos on their website after the event.

The talk began with Jacqui and Kevin playing a showreel of Liverpool’s achievements in the TV & film industry (you can view the showreel here). I had seen the showreel beforehand, but watching it again was a joy, as it reminded me of the city’s film success.

Following this, Jacqui and Kevin talked about the work of Liverpool Film Office. Both explained the massive planning involved for each production, and of what needs to be done in future for Liverpool to meet increasing filming demands. In addition, I also learned how they worked closely with other council departments, agencies, production companies and crews, to ensure they have a positive experience of filming in Liverpool. This means that production crews are more likely to return if they have a positive experience, when filming in the city.

To conclude, I was impressed with Jacqui and Kevin’s talk, and of the incredible work the Film Office has done for Liverpool. I am looking forward to see what future productions are to be made in Liverpool, in addition to growing the infrastructure to accommodate future TV & film production. This is because more filming brings increased revenue into the local economy, and further enhances Liverpool’s reputation, as an international filming location.

I would like to personally thank Jacqui and Kevin for sharing their unbridled enthusiasm, their warm anecdotes, and for their excellent work for the Film Office. I would also like to thank Maureen Sinclair, for sharing me her story of Clapperboard’s work, and to Weightmans for laying on an excellent event with drinks and canapés, especially the pizza and warm popcorn!

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