Private Viewing: Suffolk could contribute to Britain’s growing film success

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech and Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech and Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the British film, "The Imitation Game." The film was nominated for a Bestr Picture Oscar with acting nominations going to Cumberbatch and Knightley. (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Jack English) - Credit: AP

British film remains a great export. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke looks at how this creative industry continues to thrive

This image released by Focus Features shows Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in a scene from "The T

This image released by Focus Features shows Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in a scene from "The Theory of Everything." The film was nominated for an Oscar Award for best feature on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. The 87th Annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Focus Features, Liam Daniel) - Credit: AP

Looking at the movie nominations flying around this week, the British film industry appears to be in good shape. This is heartening news for a creative business which has weathered dire predictions of its imminent collapse for the past 40 years.

British film is the ultimate big screen survivor. It’s been killed off more times than a Saturday matinee hero but like James Bond or Indiana Jones (a British film industry success story) whenever it’s knocked over, it manages to haul itself back on its feet, dust its self down and come back for more.

Britain remains a great movie-making nation. Film production is a global industry and Britain continues to play a hugely influential role.

Not only do we make our own films, awards season dramas like The Theory of Everything and The Testament of Youth, but we also host huge international blockbusters.


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British film-making survives because we not only have top-class studio facilities – Leavesden, Pinewood and Shepperton – but we also have a broad range of skills. We have great actors, which are employed in leading roles both here and in Hollywood, producers and directors, first-rate special effects houses like Framestore and, most importantly, we also have more than our fair share of great writers.

This bank of expertise allows us to not only turn out home grown films, movies like the forthcoming Alan Bennett film The Lady In The Van with Maggie Smith and Suffragette with Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Whishaw but also big global blockbusters like Into The Woods, Gravity and the ever-popular Star Wars saga.

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International productions are drawn to Britain because of the creativity of our backstage staff as well as the brilliance of our actors.

This week has been a wonderful week for British film. The Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Oscars have rightly nominated the best of British. Films like The Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch as World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing, and The Theory of Everything, which tells the story of the early career of physicist Stephen Hawking are wonderful adverts not only for British film-making but also for British ingenuity.

Eddie Redmayne must be considered a front runner for the Best Actor Oscar for his wonderfully robust and unsentimental portrait of Hawking but don’t rule out Ralph Fiennes’ comic tour-de-force in The Grand Budapest Hotel which could snatch the trophy from under Redmayne’s nose at the last minute.

Other Brits which are in the running for BAFTA and Oscar success are: Felicity Jones as Hawking’s wife in The Theory of Everything, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods, Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl, Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, Imelda Staunton for Pride, along with James Marsh for his direction of The Theory of Everything, Dick Pope and Roger Deakins for their cinematography for Mr Turner and Unbroken.

It could potentially be a fantastic year for British film if all the awards we are nominated for come our way.

The British film industry is clearly in rude health so we now need to invest in the future. We can’t allow the film industry to remain London-centric.

Last year a team of regional film professionals launched Film Suffolk to promote Suffolk and East Anglia as a film-making centre. They are in the process of compiling a register of film professionals who work in the region: writers, production designers, make-up & wardrobe staff, cameramen and stunt teams as well as film-friendly locations and temporary studio facilities like the former Bentwaters air base.

Their aim is to show how easy it is to make films in Suffolk and visually the landscape, the light and the big skies, which have inspired artists for years, work just as well on the big screen.

Just to prove the point Suffolk film-maker Daniel Simpson is about to release his new science fiction thriller The Rendlesham UFO Incident into cinemas in the next month. Shot completely on location, the film combines the found footage feel of The Blair Witch Project with the paranoia of The X Files.

Suffolk has to get behind these projects because we have a lot to offer an industry which has the capability of breathing new life into our economy.

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