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Bristol wins City of Film award at 2024 Global Production Awards

May 23, 2024

Bristol has won the coveted City of Film Award at the 2024 Global Production Awards, presented on Monday 20th May during Cannes Film Festival. 

The annual awards held by leading film trade publication Screen International, took place at Mademoiselle Gray d’Albion Plage, Cannes, recognising outstanding and sustainable work in the world of film and TV production, locations and studios. Bristol saw off competition from fellow shortlisted cities Limerick (Ireland), Sofia (Bulgaria), Tulsa (US) and Zagreb (Croatia), to take home the City of Film award.

Judges said* that Bristol had “ticked the boxes for significance to film and TV in all forms from the past to the present day”, citing in its pitch Stephen Merchant’s crime comedy TV series The Outlaws, the BBC Natural History unit, Sir David Attenborough, Aardman Animations, Bristol-born actor Cary Grant and 19th-century motion-picture pioneer William Friese-Greene.

The combined work of Bristol Film Office (established in 2003) and The Bottle Yard Studios (established in 2010) was noted by judges for an ability to attract a steady flow of film and high-end television productions to the city. One judge heralded Bristol as being “deliberate in its efforts to growing the screen industries for social and economic value, as demonstrated through its offering.” Another judge said Bristol flagged “future growth and sustainability for emerging areas of global focus”.

“Bristol is doing all the right things,” said one judge. “While it remains a destination for lower budget or regional projects and there is room for crew and infrastructure to expand, the work at Bottle Yard is a high point.”

Cllr Tony Dyer, leader of the Council said: “Winning the City of Film Global Production Award is a fantastic accolade for Bristol and our city’s creative sector. The Bottle Yard Studios and Bristol Film Office have played a vital role in the growth of film and TV production in Bristol, and it’s fantastic for our city to be recognised as a world-leading location which has helped deliver for the industry. Huge congratulations to the teams who have contributed to this success. As one of Bristol’s fastest growing business areas providing jobs, boosting skills and securing investment for our city, both the studio and the industry continue to make a significant contribution to the local economy.”

Katherine Nash (Business & Operations Manager – The Bottle Yard Studios) and Laura Aviles (Head of Film, Bristol City Council) with Bristol’s City of Film Global Production Award

Collecting the award on behalf of the city, Laura Aviles, head of film, Bristol City Council, said: “We are so delighted to receive this award. Bristol has long been a City that’s home to an exceptional film & TV production sector. With success stories in animation, unscripted and, of course, the world’s best natural history producers, it’s little wonder we were named a UNESCO City of Film in 2017. For the past decade and a half, the work of The Bottle Yard Studios, alongside Bristol Film Office which turned 20 last year, has elevated scripted High-End TV and film production to an entirely new level. 

“Today we’re a leading regional hub for production, a tried and trusted filming destination for producers with an incredible local crew base. And with clear objectives set out in our City of Film Action Plan, Bristol is making sure that film and the business of filming remains at the heart of the city’s future growth, with a focus on local skills development and employment, sustainability initiatives and supporting storytelling from regional voices. Thank you to the judges for this fantastic recognition.”

Natalie Moore, Bristol UNESCO City of Film manager, says: “What an incredible achievement for the many companies, organisations and individuals working in different screen sector fields across the city. We were already a designated UNESCO City of Film, now we are proud to be an award-winning City of Film. Our work continues to strengthen the local sector, focusing on skills and workforce development, regional storytelling and on-screen representation, environmental action and climate content and international engagement and collaboration.” 

It’s the second year in a row that Bristol has featured at the prestigious international film industry awards. The Bottle Yard Studios won the 2023 Sustainable Initiative Award for the 1MW rooftop solar array at its new TBY2 facility.

Film and TV production at The Bottle Yard Studios and/or supported by Bristol Film Office was worth £20.1m to the city’s economy in 2022-23, the second consecutive year that this value exceeded £20m. The 2022 ‘Go West! 2’ report from UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre showed that the turnover of Bristol’s wider screen industry increased by more than 100% between 2016 and 2021, from £147.7m to £288m. The number of independent production companies increased from 131 to 189, demonstrating the economic significance of the industry to the region. The report found that Bristol is home to the largest independent television production sector outside London.

Recent productions filmed in Bristol include the upcoming third series of Stephen Merchants’ comedy-thriller The Outlaws (beginning on BBC One on 30th May and Amazon Prime Video on 31st May), upcoming Jilly Cooper adaptation Rivals (Disney+), series three of Alex Rider (Amazon Freevee), Boarders (BBC Three), Truelove (Channel 4) and Rain Dogs (BBC One/HBO Max). The Forsyte Saga, a major new reimagining of John Galsworthy’s Forsyte novels produced by Masterpiece PBS and Mammoth Screen, began filming earlier this month at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location in Bristol.

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