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‘Swallows And Amazons’ brings investment to local communities

S&A_02-07-15_ND_00326[T]he release of the new film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s classic, ‘Swallows And Amazons’ this Friday sees locations in Yorkshire and the Lake District brought to the big screen.

Swallows And Amazons’ is in cinemas nationwide from Friday 19th August and the cast includes Rafe Spall (BFG, I Give it a Year) as ‘Captain Flint / Jim Turner’, Andrew Scott (“Pride”, TV’s “Sherlock”) as Lazlov, Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) as ‘Mrs Walker’, Jessica Hynes (TV’s Up the Women, Shaun of the Dead) as ‘Mrs Jackson’ and Harry Enfield (TV’s Bad Education, Kevin and Perry Go Large) as ‘Mr Jackson’.

The production, which filmed for over eight weeks on location during summer 2015, took in locations from Coniston Water and Derwent Water in Cumbria to Heptonstall, Wakefield and Wetherby in Yorkshire with some iconic scenes shot at Plumpton Rocks near Harrogate and at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway at including Keighley, Oakworth and Oxenhope stations.

Film and television production is a great driver of economic investment into local communities. Creative England estimates that large scale productions can spend up to £35,000 per day filming on location.

In addition, regions benefit from the tourism interest generated by being featured on screen. According to a report by Creative England in association with Visit England and Olsberg SPI, international screen tourism was worth up to £140 million in 2014 alone.

By filming on location in Yorkshire and Cumbria and by using local crews, facilities and accommodation, Creative England estimates Swallows and Amazons will have contributed over £700,000 to the local economies over the course of the 43 day shoot.

The effect on tourism is yet to be seen but Welcome to Yorkshire is expecting an upturn.

Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “Film tourism is continuing to grow in Yorkshire with visitors enjoying exploring the fantastic locations where their favourite movies and TV shows were made and I know this will certainly be the case with ‘Swallows and Amazons.’ I’m delighted that Yorkshire’s eclectic landscape continues to be a magnet for film and TV makers across the world.”

The production, which is the feature debut of BAFTA-winning director Philippa Lowthorpe (TV’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Call the Midwife, and Jamaica Inn), tells the classic tale of the four Walker children, who take over a lake island during their summer holiday, before finding unexpected rivals in the shape of the Blackett sisters: the “Amazons”. It filmed partly in Yorkshire as a result of investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.

Creative England’s Production Services team supported production company, Secret Harbour Films, to secure key locations and carry out vital liaison work with local authorities, such as enabling roads to be closed to allow filming to take place. The support started when Secret Harbour Films were looking for Yorkshire villages that could double as the Lake District. Chris Hordley, Creative England’s Production Liaison Manager for Yorkshire provided package of location images for a range of Yorkshire villages, including Heptonstall Village in Calderdale which was secured for the film.

Chris went on to host a site meeting with the film’s Location Manager and Calderdale Highways Department, and worked with Creative England Filming Partners, Calderdale Council, to enable the high-street to be closed, the removal of modern day street furniture and the temporary re-routing of the local bus service to enable filming to take place over two days in August 2015.

In addition to suggesting locations and assisting on traffic management, Creative England worked with the production by helping with the search for accommodation for crews. With filming taking place during the busy summer months, inexpensive accommodation is at a premium and the team were able to suggest options for the crew to use.

Creative England’s crewing team also worked closely with Secret Harbour Films’ production team to help source local crew for the shoot both in Yorkshire and the Lakes. The team used  the national crew database  and our job posting service and was able to secure several crew both main team and dailies for Swallows and Amazons, including assistant directors, costume department , art department, props , production , location, accounts and camera team.

Creative England is funded by the British Film Institute to promote and support film production in England, outside London. By promoting the economic and tourism benefits of being featured on the big – and small – screen, Creative England’s Production Services team encourages local authorities to sign up to its Filming Partnerships Network, whereby it shares location enquiries with local authorities and works with them on smoothing out the often demanding logistics surrounding a film shoot.

Creative England works on productions of all sizes and budgets to enable filming to take place throughout the English regions. Some of the major productions it has supported recently include feature films: My Cousin Rachel, A Monster Calls and Me Before You and some of Britain’s most popular TV dramas such as Poldark, Peaky Blinders, Wolf Hall, Grantchester and The Hollow Crown.

Kaye Elliott, the Head of Production Services at Creative England, said: “It’s fantastic for both Yorkshire and Cumbria to take centre stage in what will, I’m sure, be one of the hit films of the summer. The quality of this productions is another illustration of how the North of England has the crews and facilities – as well as stunning locations to make world class features.”

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