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Profile: The Hollywood of Hengrove - Bristol's Bottle Yard Studio.

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Written by:   | Posted 06-June-2014 9:19

The Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated film and TV studio facility in the South West. It is run in a partnership initiative with Bristol City Council.

The site, for more than 50 years a former winery and bottling plant, is providing a new home for UK film and TV production and aims to attract major UK and overseas productions of all sizes.

The Bottle Yard Studios has 300,000 square feet of empty space which includes a large back lot.

The Bottle Yard Studio, which is housed in a former wine warehouse, was touted as the future of the film industry in the South West when it first opened for business four years ago.

And it seems the team behind the ambitious project had every right to believe they were in prime position to attract some of the top talent in the TV industry.

TV is fast catching up with the world of the big screen in terms of standing and critical acclaim, thanks in large part to changing viewing habits.

This year two major productions are to be made at the Bottle Yard and a leading industry company has signed a deal which see it open a new base in South Bristol.

And there are high hopes that the Bottle Yard could have the same kind of economic impact on Bristol that the filming of the TV series Game of Thrones has had in the Belfast area.

This year Poldark and Wolf Hall will be filmed in Hengrove, featuring some of the biggest stars currently working in TV including Homeland star Damian Lewis and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss.

There is also talk within the industry that a TV adaptation of JK Rowling’s recent adult novel The Casual Vacancy is likely to be filmed in the Bristol area.

And most exciting of all, a few months ago the pilot for a new TV series from the American broadcasting powerhouse ABC Studios was filmed at Hengrove.

ABC Studios and Rhode Island Productions chose The Bottle Yard to shoot a pilot called Galavant – a fairytale musical comedy starring Joshua Sasse which involved a 150-strong cast and crew.

The rise in activity in the last 12 months has led to the arrival of Filmscape Media, a leading supplier of film and television equipment in the UK.

The camera, lighting and equipment rental company is expanding and has opted to come to Bristol. This week the firm moved into its new offices at The Bottle Yard Studios, its first ever home outside the capital.

Originally specialising in digital cinematography equipment, the company recently launched its new lighting rental division, It is this lighting division that Filmscape Media will develop from its new base in Bristol.

As well as hosting a number of functions a small community of TV based firms has started to build up at the Bottle Yard. Filmscape Media is the tenth tenant to set up a permanent base at the Hengrove studios.

Renos Louka, technical director at Filmscape Media, said: “We wanted to establish a base in Bristol from which to serve the West of England region and develop our lighting division.

“We feel that The Bottle Yard Studios are a crucial driver of industry growth in the region and so in our view they were the perfect match to help realise our ambitions.

“Our new base enables us to serve the local area as well as be on hand at the Studios to offer our services, so it’s the ideal location for us.”

Fiona Francombe, the Bottle Yard’s managing director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Filmscape Media to our tenant community, and proud that they have chosen to open their very first regional office with us as they develop their lighting division further.

“They join our existing business tenants Visual Impact and 180 Rental to further strengthen our offering of high standard specialist audiovisual services. With every new company that joins us, The Bottle Yard’s creative hub grows stronger, which is great to see.”

Filmscape was founded in 2007 by film school graduate Kevin Harvey, who started out with one camera with the aim of supplying the latest digital technology to a new generation of digital filmmakers.

Today, the company has grown into a multimillion pound rental business working across camera, lighting, grip and studios services in the UK and internationally.

Filmscape Media’s recent credits include the six part series Mr Sloane which aired on Sky Atlantic starring Nick Frost and OliviaColman.

The company also worked on a four part comedy drama A Young Doctor’s Notebook which aired on SkyArts starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.

The Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated film and TV studio facility in the South West. It is run in a partnership initiative with Bristol City Council.

The site, which was for more than 50 years as a former winery and bottling plant, is providing a new home for UK film and television production and aims to attract major UK and overseas productions of all sizes.

The Bottle Yard Studios has 300,000 square feet of empty space which include a large back lot, workshop areas, production offices, private roadways and parking, storage and locations.


RECENT productions at The Bottle Yard include, pictured from top:

BBC Two drama Wolf Hall

BBC One drama Poldark

Channel 4 Restoration drama New Worlds (April 2014)

Two part ITV drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies (due for broadcast later this year)

Hit Channel 4 gameshow Deal or No Deal (showing now)

The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box

Sky 1 comedy Trollied (series 1-3, 2011-13)

BBC four-part drama Inside Men.

Other shows produced at Bottle Yard Studio include the second series of Channel 4 comedy The Mimic (due for broadcast later this year); Channel 4 four-part drama The Fear; BBC six-part drama Frankie.

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