Pinewood Studios to create ‘world class studio’ in Wales

February 17, 2014

The studio behind the James Bond franchise has revealed plans for the development which could generate £90m and 2,000 jobs. Iconic film company Pinewood Studios is to create a ‘world class studio’ in Wales.

Pinewood Studio Wales will be created at the former Energy Centre building at Wentloog, Cardiff, and will form part of Pinewood’s global network of film studios.

A number of potential undisclosed projects have already been identified, with a view to the Pinewood Wales Studio being operational later this year.

Pinewood and Shepperton Studios have been home to more than 1,500 films in more than 75 years, including the James Bond franchise and Carry On series.

First Minister Carwyn Jones unveiled plans for the 180,000 sq ft development at a press conference with Economy Minister Edwina Hart, who struck the deal, and Pinewood Shepperton plc Chief Executive Officer Ivan Dunleavy.

The deal between Welsh Government and Pinewood could generate an estimated £90m spend with Welsh businesses and support 2,000 jobs over the next five years.

Actors Michael Sheen and Matthew Rhys welcomed the Pinewood Studios Wales opening as an opportunity for Welsh talent to work in Wales.

Rhys said: “This is more good news for Wales, and recognition of our place on the world stage as a destination for film and television drama production. Pinewood is a massive name in film and it’s great that more of the many talented people in Wales will now have a chance to ply their trade at home. Having a studio like this on their doorstep will also inspire a new generation of actors and film makers from Wales.”

Sheen said: “This appears to be great news for Wales and a logical next step building upon the huge success of the revitalized Welsh entertainment industry. It’s always a precarious business to attempt such a large undertaking, but it points to the confidence, the expertise and the creative spirit of the people of Wales and I hope it can help the country come closer to realising its hopes for the future.”

As part of the deal, the Welsh Government is providing £1m towards a £1.8m fit out of the studio that will provide four stages. It has also set aside £30m for a new investment fund to invest in projects filmed there, whether high end television or film projects.

Investments from the television and film investment fund, which will be made on a case by case basis, and on the condition that the 40% of the production spend is with Welsh-based creative industry films and the wider supply chain.

Under the terms of the deal Pinewood will receive an annual fee and transaction based advisory fees from the fund, as well as being responsible its promotion and marketing.

Pinewood has entered into a minimum five year lease on the studio site, which the Welsh Government recently acquired in a £6m deal.

In cases where the fund, which could provide mezzanine and debt, provides equity, the Welsh Government will share in any commercial upside from film or television projects; whether in box office receipts or where television programmes are distributed globally.

There are over 241 independent, media related companies based at Pinewood and Shepperton’s Media hub.

Announcing the deal, the First Minister said: “After the glitz and glamour of last night’s BAFTA awards, I can reveal that the Welsh Government has secured one of the biggest prizes in the British film and television industry. This deal with Pinewood is a major coup for Wales.”

He said: “Attracting such an iconic global brand as Pinewood is wonderful news for Wales. Pinewood is synonymous with world class British and international productions, including the James Bond film franchise and is home to some of the most successful feature films ever made.

“This high-profile investment is of significant economic value to Wales while the partnership between the Welsh Government and Pinewood offers a priceless opportunity to promote Wales as a world class location for film and television production.

“This is a great example of how we are proactive in attracting business to Wales. We approached Pinewood when we heard they faced a lack of studio capacity and seized this opportunity to bring this world class brand to Wales.”

Mrs Hart had led a trade visit to Los Angeles last year to raise the Welsh profile in Hollywood.

She said: “It also opens the door for further, future investment providing additional growth opportunities.”

Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer, Pinewood Shepperton plc, said: “We are delighted to have agreed with the Welsh Government to advise it on its television and film funding initiative. This builds on our success with Pinewood Pictures and managing the Isle of Man Treasury Film and Television Fund. Our combined advisory investment funds now total £55m making them one of the largest investment portals for new British television and film content.

“The new fund together with the new facility will do much to boost the Welsh film and television sector. The fund is also another step forward for creating a sustainable UK film and television production centre”.