A View into Pinewood Studios

The Salon at The Relais Henley recently hosted an audience with Andrew Smith OBE DL, Corporate Affairs Director at Pinewood Studios. Providing a brief history of Pinewood and sharing his insights into the UK film industry, Andrew also spoke of the future of the industry together highlighting what makes Pinewood special.

Andrew Smith said “The story of Pinewood, given its calibre, has created memories for many,” and everyone enjoyed a short film reminder of the wide variety of iconic films that Pinewood has been involved in, including Star Wars, James Bond, Marvel Films, and Superman.

Mr J. Arthur Rank, an industrialist in the early 1930s, was the instigator behind Pinewood, who wanted to build a studio that rivalled Hollywood. With Charles Boot, Heatherden Hall in Buckinghamshire was bought in 1932 and due to the number of pine trees in the area and the second syllable of its US competitor, the name Pinewood was created.

Whilst the war put UK film production on hold, films with comedic value quickly became popular when the war ended.  Cheap and cheerful homegrown films were made in Pinewood, which delivered some classics, including the 32 ‘Carry On” films. In the 1960s, Pinewood commenced the Bond films, which became cinemas most longest-running and financially successful franchise with 25 films made, with 23 filmed at Pinewood, which now houses Europe’s largest bespoke stage.

In the late 1970s UK film production was at an all-time low, but Superman was instrumental in saving Pinewood Studios. However, the UK Film Industry’s reputation was still at its peak with Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire, and Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, both of which dominated the BATFAs and OSCARs. Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and James Cameron’s Alien.  The comic book world also had a positive impact on cinema with the filming of Batman in The Dark Knight and The Joker and the Studio continues to grow with plans to expand its global footprint to the Dominican Republic and Toronto.

UK film industries including film and TV have added £108 billion to the UK economy. This growth is set to continue as partnerships develop with Amazon, Disney, Lucas Films, Marvel, Netflix, and MGM. One of the key factors in this has been the change in government fiscal policy that has become the cornerstone of the film industry and has allowed Pinewood to become a world leader in film production.

Planning permission has also been granted to build an additional 21 stages at Pinewood which will also create new jobs.

Looking to the future, Pinewood is aiming to increase its employees and has launched an initiative called “Set for More” and a “Futures Festival” is due to take place in 2024 over two days encouraging people locally and from various government opportunities programmes, to come together to see and experience what goes on behind the scenes. If anyone wants to register you can via https://pinewoodgroup.com/pinewood-today/futures-festival

A question and answer session took place however Andrew gave no secrets away on who the next James Bond will be, but did say that it will be a couple of years before the next film goes into production.

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