The makers of Secret Service, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth, are giving 10 young people from Lambeth the chance to break into the film industry. Those involved admit the industry can be a very closed network, doors opening thanks only to contacts, and that the industry could do with some fresh blood.
FilmFixer organised the Secret Service shoot on the Ethelred Estate in Kennington during November and December, asking, as part of the package, for the producers to back a community engagement programme.
The estate is owned by Lambeth Council and run by residents.
Andrew Pavord, director of FilmFixer, which manages filming in Lambeth on behalf of the council, said: “The production team agreed immediately – in a brilliant gesture of respect for the neighbourhood that was hosting them.
“Next time filming happens on the Ethelred Estate we’d love to see some local young people working on the set.”
Cllr Sally Prentice, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “I’m delighted that major film producers are keen to shoot in our borough and welcome this effort to directly benefit some of our young people.”
Secret Service, directed by Kick Ass director, Matthew Vaughn, is based on a Marvel comic book. The cast is rumoured to include Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Adele and Elton John.
Its producers have provided funding that allows trainers from Calltime Company to run three sessions starting this month. Afterwards, Calltime Company will arrange work experience, followed by possible job openings, for interested students.
Calltime Company director Vicki Allen said: “If it’s suitable we’ll give our trainees a foot on the ladder. That’s if we haven’t put everyone off by the time we’re done, talking about the early mornings and the long hours in the cold.”
Calltime Company trains and supplies the film industry with entry-level staff, such as runners and locations marshals. Runners help everything to run smoothly, in every area of film production. Calltime Company will be working with young Ethelred residents who are on a media training programme called Creative Sparkworks.
Ms Allen said: “Aside from looking for young people with degrees, often filmmakers fall back on old contacts. It’s great to open the door to talented people who might not have been offered a chance.
“And it’s important for the whole industry to be open-minded about this. You’d think it was impossible for a young person to get to, say, Pinewood Studios (in Iver Heath) for a 5.30am start, but you know what, if young people are determined they will do it.
“This is a fantastic way for the big film makers to give something back to the community – and this approach is so productive.”