Film news

Because you’re gorgeous – our estates renaissance

13th October 2016
Pic: Mary McCartney
Pic: Mary McCartney

Increasingly, London’s housing estates are a canvas for uplifting, even gorgeous imagery. At last the film industry is seeing our homes through the loving, creative and aspirational eyes of those who grow up there.

Thamesmead in Bexley in particular has been brought to life in the new IKEA ad, the Lucozade ad, and Selfridges’ Shakespeare celebration.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Bexley Council, Peabody Trust – which manages Thamesmead – and Kingston Council, home to the Cambridge Road Estate that also hosted the IKEA filming.

FilmFixer director Karen Everett said, “For decades we’ve been asked for access to estates for grim dramas, and although residents have been happy to accommodate filming, particularly if it involves a celebrity they love, the end product simply hasn’t reflected the truth about the warmth, love and joy in these communities.

“The comedy Chewing Gum, shot on Islington’s Andover Estate, has been a lovely departure. And this month we’ve been particularly impressed by the beauty depicted at Thamesmead.

“These are commercial filmmakers who’ve grasped the consumer value of positive imagery. And they’ve gone one step further, in making positive benefits available to residents.”

The new Lucozade ad Made to Move brings Thamesmead alive with running, bike stunts, boxercise, zumba, a spin class and so much more – as a cast of 250 break a sweat across the estate to that pumping tune by Kideko.

Thamesmead resident Jenny Lam landed a job on the shoot. Jenny’s studying Film and TV locally at the University of Greenwich.

When she received a consultation letter about the filming, she contacted Location Manager Guy Weller-Poley, explaining that, as a third year film student, any opportunities for work experience would be welcome.

Guy went one better and offered Jenny a job, and in mid-August she was right there as a runner – while her estate was transformed for the ad.

“It was a bit mad to see all this going on outside my home,” Jenny says. “There were lots of cast members – it was very big. I really enjoyed it.

“I was mostly looking after the equipment for the art department. I learned a lot, particularly seeing how the Lucozade prop was used.”

“Guy was really nice about getting it set up for me because that sort of experience looks great on my CV,” she says, “I’m really lucky.”

Karen Everett continues, “We were delighted that a local student was able to benefit – it’s just the sort of thing we encourage, particularly from a big three-day shoot like this. In fact, two more residents on the estate joined in as extras.

“Together with IKEA and Selfridges, these ads become a fantastic showcase for housing estates.”