Working with Unique Locations

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One of the joys of working across the Film Offices of Northern Boroughs is getting to assist Location Managers and their productions in bringing brilliant, oft-overlooked locations to life through film. Each location has its unique qualities and challenges that makes working with every production a fascinating experience. One such location is the mysterious hidden gem that is Kingsway Tram Tunnel in Camden, another is the Scandinavian inspired Haringey Civic Centre near Wood Green Station. Both have been gaining steam over recent years for their distinct yet artistically flexible features, attracting a combination of feature films, TV series, adverts and music videos.

Kingsway Tram Tunnel is a fantastic grade II listed subterranean location in the heart of Camden that was a functioning tram tunnel between 1906 to 1952, maintaining much of its character to this day. We have worked with Camden Council’s Structures Team to invite Location Managers for visits where we can discuss the possibilities. Considerations that have arisen over the course of multiple projects include troubleshooting crew and vehicle, organising surveys, contracting works, and a host of unique requests. It is this ever-changing landscape that makes on-location filming so interesting to help realise. After numerous visits to the tunnel, watching the location artistically transformed in Jetta’s recent music video shoot highlighted how such forgotten locations often just need an artistic vision to showcase their qualities.

Haringey Civic Centre is another wonderful location that was built in the post-war period with a Scandinavian architectural approach, which placed value on open spaces and large swathes of light. Over the past few years, it has hosted The Crown as well as more recently being transformed by a major comedy feature film and TV drama. As the building has winding office spaces, long corridors of multi-purpose rooms, an old registry office as well as a court room, the possibilities are vast. I found working with multiple Location Managers, the lovely staff and the Haringey Council a pleasure across these large-scale shoots. It is always a fascinating journey accompanying Location Managers through the building for initial recces all the way to visiting fully realised sets that have transformed the space in its time-period and even country.

The dynamic and changing nature of unique locations is something that brings real intrigue as a Film Officer and has emphasized to me the magic of ‘on-location’ filming. The specific needs of a location also mean that building relationships, working closely with Location Managers, understanding the needs and priorities of the production and locations stakeholders, discussing logistical plans, art department statements and on-site visits all count to a successful shoot that benefits the surrounding communities and Film & TV productions alike.

By Luke Wilson