Hertfordshire Film Office launched - your partner in film!


From budget to blockbuster, Bovingdon to Broxbourne, Hertfordshire is working hand in hand with the creative sector to drive future growth...

Hertfordshire Film Office (HFO) has officially launched its website to act as a gateway for productions looking to film in the county and promote the value of the multi-billion sector to the rest of the UK.

Hertfordshire is now a leading destination in the UK for film and TV - home to a world class cluster of renowned studios, on a par with Hollywood. There are currently 13 major film studios around the capital, with all but two either in south west Herts or west of London. Elstree Film Studios is the oldest studio in the county and also the only set of studios owned by a local authority – Hertsmere Borough Council.

Recent investment in the sector has cemented the county’s reputation, with potentially thousands of new jobs in the pipeline. This includes the UK's newest state-of-the-art film and TV studio now operational at Sky Studios Elstree with 12 sound stages and £3bn of production investment from Sky and sister company NBC Universal, both part of Comcast Group.

Earlier this year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt welcomed the announcement by Warner Bros. Discovery that it would be pumping significantly more investment into Warner Bros Studios Leavesden (WBSL). In a huge boost for the film and TV production sector, WBSL will become the production hub for DC Studios, increasing the total stage count from 19 to 29 and the overall production space from 1.14m sq. ft. to 1.78m sq. ft.

Two of the top three performers at the UK and Ireland box office were produced at WBSL, which is situated just outside Watford. According to the British Film Institute (BFI), Barbie earned £95.6m in box office revenue, while Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet and Olivia Colman came in third, grossing £58.4m.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer stated in response: “Hertfordshire is the jewel in the crown of the British film industry. Millions of pounds are spent on film and high-end TV production in Hertfordshire each year and the county’s success lies in its attractiveness to world-renowned studios and its highly talented workforce.”

Hertfordshire has long understood the scale of the opportunity, with the Film Office providing a ‘Mission Possible’ approach to increasing film and TV production and screen tourism in the county.

Powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with funding from Hertfordshire Growth Board and district councils, the Film Office is testament to how local government is working with the creative sector to make it easier to do business here.

HFO provides a one-stop-shop service to support all film and TV-related activity across the county. It positions Hertfordshire as the premiere filming destination of choice in the UK, offering a bespoke concierge service to help location managers and production companies to quickly and conveniently source film locations, crew, industry suppliers, highway filming permits and more.

HFO has assisted with nearly 250 production enquiries since April 2023 and generated over £5.2m of estimated local spend for Hertfordshire. This is all the more staggering given the impact of Hollywood strikes which saw spend on UK’s film and high-end TV (HETV) reaching over £4.23bn in 2023, 32% down on 2022, according to the BFI.

The HFO website was officially launched at two Creative Roadshow events which took place at Ashridge House, Berkhamsted, on 27 February and Knebworth Barns, Knebworth, on 6 March. These were aimed at ensuring places, people and businesses are aware of the scale of the opportunity. Companies were also invited to apply for the Government’s Create Growth Programme, delivered locally by Hertfordshire LEP. This provides SMEs already within the county's booming film and TV sector or those looking to join its supply chain with specialist business support to secure new commercial opportunities, launch high-value products or services, and get investment-ready.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, Leader, Three Rivers District Council, and Chair, Hertfordshire Growth Board’s Film and TV Steering Group, said: “Two out of three of the biggest UK and Ireland box office hits, Barbie and Wonka, were made here. With the scale of investment planned, Hertfordshire must be ready to respond. Hertfordshire Film Office streamlines enquiries from production companies, no matter how big or small, making it easier to find fabulous locations and access talent to bring creative visions to life. It’s fantastic to hear of HFO’s success so far – now it can widen its reach even further thanks its new website.”

Elected Mayor Peter Taylor, Leader, Watford Borough Council, and Vice-Chair, Hertfordshire Growth Board’s Film and TV Steering Group, said: “Hertfordshire’s world-leading film and TV studios are driving an appetite to invest. This creates huge opportunities for young people to enter the screen industry and those with transferable skills in, for example, carpentry, hairdressing or digital artistry to retrain. The Film Office is a great example of how local government is working hand-in-hand with industry to make a real and tangible impact.”

Cllr Richard Roberts, Leader, Hertfordshire County Council, and Chair, Hertfordshire Growth Board, said: “Hertfordshire has a rich heritage in film-making from Star Wars to Paddington, Saving Private Ryan to Band of Brothers. This is the golden age for Hertfordshire, spearheading skills development and driving job creation. It takes an army of different tradespeople and a diverse range of talent to produce a film. Thanks to our co-ordinated approach, working hand in hand with industry, we can ensure our residents and businesses are poised to benefit.”

David Conway, CEO, Pinewood Group, and Chair, Hertfordshire LEP’s Film and TV Industry Panel, said: “Film and TV production is a global industry and productions have choices, so we need to make it as attractive and as easy as possible for them to film here. The Hertfordshire Film Office is a catalyst for just that and I am delighted we are now in a position to launch its new website, which will act as a gateway to this vital service to the benefit of the county.”

Hollywood – watch this space!

Visit the Hertfordshire Film Office: www.hertfordshirefilmoffice.co.uk

For more information on the Create Growth Programme and how to apply, visit the Business Pages of www.hertfordshirelep.com

Published: 28th February 2024

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