Move over hollywood
In this month’s ‘Notes on a Screen Door‘, ESSEX FILM COLLECTIVE’S founder Lily Streames explores what it means to be a creative from Essex and how we should be proud of where we come from.
I’m from Essex and, let’s face it, when you mention Essex and TV in the same sentence only one show springs to most people’s minds. Like some reality TV Voldemort, he who shall not be named (in my blog, anyway) paints Essex to be some kind of fake tan orange clown fest. But what I came to realise, not that long ago, is that Essex is full to the brim with creatives working across all areas of the film industry.
I used to think that to become anything in this industry I had to flee, as fast as I could, to London, where the real artists lived and people would take me seriously.
It has taken me 6 years and a global pandemic to realise that Essex is AWESOME. There is so much passion and fire and talent. The people of Essex are creative to their core, we are unapologetically loud, we have so many stories to tell and let’s face it, we are a little bit weird. But that’s OK!
As a filming location, Essex makes sense.
Over the years, numerous blockbusters have shot scenes here, from James Bond’s ‘Goldfinger’, to ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Paddington’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘World War Z’. With it’s close proximity to London, it’s amazing landscapes and historical places, Essex is a fine choice for movie making.
I’m excited for what the future holds, what opportunities develop and how the industry’s perception on this wonderful county evolves.
And let’s not forget TV. The new Star Wars series ‘Andor’ has had scenes filmed at the former Coryton Refinery site in Corringham, and, recently, ‘The Essex Serpent’ (starring EFC members David Streames and Robin Berry) is shooting in Maldon, a small historic town just 40 miles from London; a world away from any hustle and bustle. In a statement, Maldon District Council said “We have an enviable reputation for being extremely film friendly and this production follows in the footsteps of many others who have filmed here.”
Essex offers so much, but it’s not just about the stunning rural locations and beautiful medieval towns. There’s no denying that London is the main hub for filmmaking in the UK (and that’s likely to grow even more in the upcoming years, as more and more productions take place in and around the capital) and with the development of talent on these shores, it’s Essex that can provide the highly-skilled workforce, the technically skilled crew, the fantastic actors, the expert writers and directors…all within a short train journey away.
Film production in the UK is growing, and growing fast. News of a huge film studio being built in Dagenham further propels the idea that the south east is the place to be for producing new film and TV content, and Essex will play a vital role. I’m excited for what the future holds, what opportunities develop and how the industry’s perception on this wonderful county evolves. The pejorative stereotypes inhabitants of Essex have had to endure in recent times appear dated now, in my opinion. There’s so much creativity happening right now that I’m proud to wave the Essex flag, to stamp out the crass Essex clichés and be part of this exciting growing industry.
Now is the time for Essex to be taken seriously. That is the only way.
Written by Lily Streames
Essex Film Collective