Isle of Man Film Gets a Makeover

The Isle of Man Government has continued to make progress towards its digital media aspirations over the summer, by securing some interesting new projects.

One of these is a new twelve-part TV series which is being produced on the Island by the newly founded Formatzone IOM Ltd. The production ‘Laurence of Suburbia’ stars Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, best known for his BBC series Changing Rooms and DIY SOS. It takes a fresh approach to the TV makeover format, featuring houses where the history of the house and the location inspire the design. The first two episodes are based on the island.

The Island’s media cluster, Isle of Media, an industry-driven Public Private Partnership with the Government which has been tasked to grow the digital media industry on the Island, has been very instrumental in securing this production for the Island. CEO Stuart Semark has been talking to producer Mark Rowland for some time about the possibility of bringing Formatzone to the Island and when the opportunity of basing the production of ‘Laurence of Suburbia’ here became realistic, he engaged the Department of Economic Development and Treasury to see if they were prepared to support the project.

The DED and Isle of Media have worked together for several months to enable this production to happen and to secure the long-term commitment of Formatzone on the Island. We are optimistic that this will be a very successful series in the international TV market and that Formatzone’s presence here will attract other significant companies in the future.

Formatzone was established by Mark Rowland and its MD, Ben Robinson, to create television formats for the international marketplace. Both highly respected TV industry executives with extensive experience in format development TV production and international distribution – previous international hits include ‘Supernanny’ and ‘Robot Wars’. The concept for ‘Laurence of Suburbia’ was a collaborative effort with Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen.

‘Laurence of Suburbia’ will be launched by Sky Vision, the international distribution arm of Sky TV at MIPCOM, the annual international TV Market in Cannes, France in October where the first two episodes featuring the Island will be shown to international buyers.

The Production has just wrapped and employed over 25 local people including producers, researchers, camera and sound, and because it’s a home makeover format designers, builders, electricians and decorators too – all working together to a tight deadline.

This collaboration between IOMG, Isle of Media, Formatzone and Manx crew and services has gone extremely well and we all look forward to the next production and a long successful future for Formatzone on the Isle of Man.

Another exciting project heading our way in September is the DR1 Championship Series, sponsored by DHL, which sees the Isle of Man hosting the groundbreaking new sport of drone racing. Production company DR1 will be shooting some of the world’s best drone pilots as they compete on the specially designed track along Marine Drive. Eurosport and Fox Sports will both show the 2017 DHL DR1 Champion Series in the Autumn.

With more TV features over the coming months, the Isle of Man is enjoying a strengthening of its reputation as a filmmaking destination for the future.

The Isle of Man plays its favourite role as host…

2017 so far has been a showcase year for the Island, with several productions which shot last year airing on British TV. Well-known BBC TV series Top Gear and Countryfile both featured the Island, as well as ITV’s Britain’s Best Walks with Julia Bradbury.

The Pinewood comedy feature film Mindhorn, shot in the Summer of 2015 on the Isle of Man, was also released to great reviews. While Manx locations have featured in numerous movies, never has a film actually been set here – until now! The cast and crew – including writers and stars of the film Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby plus its director Sean Foley – returned “home” to the Island for a special premiere screening on 27th April.

The following week we welcomed the Celtic Media Festival to the Villa Marina in Douglas, the annual three-day celebration of broadcasting, film talent and excellence from the combined Celtic regions. Hosted in stunning weather, over 200 visitors to the Island enjoyed media forums and panels and great networking and parties.

With TT and plenty of Summertime productions coming up, there will be no slowing down for Isle of Man Film this year!

Pinewood feature film wraps on the Isle of Man after a successful shoot

The latest feature film to shoot on the Isle of Man – Where Hands Touch – has wrapped on the Island following the December-long shoot. Filmed on location in the North of the Island, the film is the latest project by writer-director Amma Asante.

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and George MacKay (Pride). Abbie Cornish and Christopher Ecclestone also star in the wartime drama.

Set in Berlin in 1944, Where Hands Touch follows a bi-racial German teenager (Stenberg) who begins a friendship with a member of the Hitler youth (MacKay).

BAFTA-winning Asante, who writes and directs this project, has filmed on the Island before (for the hugely successful Belle in 2012) and was instrumental in bringing Where Hands Touch here. Her latest film, A United Kingdom, has just been released in UK cinemas to critical acclaim.

The Pinewood Pictures production shot the first half of the film in Belgium before moving to the Isle of Man at the beginning of December. A Second World War workers camp was constructed from scratch on Jurby Airfield, and there was additional filming at the nearby studios at Mountain View Innovation Centre (formerly Island Studios) and also at Knockaloe near Peel.

Over a hundred local background artists were employed by the production during the shoot, many of whom were asked to shave their heads for the roles. The Island’s extras agency Ex-Isle had the challenge of sourcing people (mostly women) for the film and the local community embraced both the long hours and difficult working conditions to take part in the harrowing camp scenes.

Where Hands Touch is the 107th feature film to shoot on the Isle of Man since the start of the film industry here in 1995. It is due for release in late 2017.

A busy October for TV production on the Isle of Man

The Island has enjoyed an exciting month with two notable TV projects shooting on location.

At the start of the month, Outdoor Productions visited the Island and shot an episode for a new walking series presented by Julia Bradbury which is expected to screen on ITV1 in February 2017. The 22-minute programme will focus on the Laxey area and the visiting crew were able to take advantage of some unseasonably fair weather as the walking route incorporated sights such as the mines, Dhoon Glen, and the iconic Laxey Wheel.

The great weather continued to allow well-known BBC show Top Gear to showcase the Island’s stunning coastline and mountain region for last weekend’s 4-day shoot. Top Gear has shot on the Island before, but this was the first time with its new presenter Matt LeBlanc, for their upcoming 2017 series which will screen in the Spring. Profiling the Russian eight-wheeled Avtoros Shaman vehicle, the large prodcution team filmed in various locations around the Island and seemed to have a great time doing so.

‘Mindhorn’ premieres at the London Film Festival

Last Sunday 9th October, Mark Robson and Zoe Guilford of IOM Film attended the World Premiere of ‘Mindhorn’, the latest feature film to be shot on the Isle of Man in association with Pinewood Pictures.

Reviews for the film (and for the Island itself where the comedy is set) have emerged from the London Film Festival and have been very positive, with The Guardian calling ‘Mindhorn’ a “creation to savour”. The Hollywood Reporter notes that “credit is due to the Isle of Man’s majestically rugged coastal scenery, proudly playing itself after decades of standing in for more exotic locales. The eternal bridesmaid of movie locations finally gets its glorious day at the altar.”

Shot over 5 weeks on the Isle of Man in Summer 2015, ‘Mindhorn’ is a comedy written and starring Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ fame about a has-been actor who returns to the Island to solve a crime. It’s the latest production from Scott Free Productions, directed by Sean Foley.

Studio Canal are distributing the film which is set to be released early next year, and an Isle of Man screening is being organised to tie in with this.

Isle of Man to host next year’s Celtic Media Festival

With the dust now settling on this year’s Isle of Man Film Festival (held on 5-11th September 2016), the Celtic Media Festival has announced that it will hold its next annual 3-day event on the Island on 3-5th May 2017.

The Celtic Media Festival promotes the languages and cultures of the Celtic Nations and Regions in media. It combines a major conference of seminars and master classes with presentation of coveted prizes in an international competition across all the main content genres in TV, radio, film and digital media. 2017 will be the first year the Island hosts the Festival with over 500 people expected to attend.

Entry for the awards has opened now and submissions are accepted for until the end of October, so interested parties should take a look at the award categories now to see if they have any suitable projects for nomination.

Visit http://www.celticmediafestival.co.uk/ for more information.

New film manager appointed

Mark Robson, Head of E-Gaming at Isle of Man Department of Economic Development, has assumed responsibility for the Isle of Man Government’s film and media entertainment portfolio. Mark brings a wealth of experience in technical development of gaming and entertainment technology, and will look to maximize the Island’s opportunities for creative and digital diversification.

Mark can be contacted at t: + 44 1624 682365 e: mark.robson@gov.im

Congratulations to the winners of Pitch Fest, Isle of Man Film Festival 2015!

On Friday 14th September a panel of judges met with twelve filmmakers, some from the Isle of Man and others from the UK and Ireland. After a tremendously difficult decision process the winners of the competition were announced at the Isle of Man Film Festival awards ceremony held at the Broadway Cinema, Douglas on Sunday 13th September.

On offer was potential match funding of up to £7,500 per project for the best short film ideas and packages. The winning filmmakers for the awarding round 2015/2016 are:

  • Jean (Dir: Sonya Quayle) (DOP: John Craine)
  • Touchpaper (Dir: Patrick Hopkins) (Prod: Joel Stokes)
  • No Man is an Island (Dir: Lance Nielsen) (Prod: Nicola Gregory)
  • The Last Confession of Illiam Dhone (Dir: Jim Hampton) (Prod: Ady Hall)

Isle of Man Film’s short film funding scheme is delivered in partnership with Mannin Shorts, a short film training scheme. with the aim of developing local talent and emerging filmmakers, along with developing industry links between the Island and its neighbouring countries.

Making Movies for Twenty Years

Happy New Year to everyone! We can’t believe that twenty years have past since Isle of Man Film (then known as Isle of Man Film Commission ) first dipped its toe in the movie business with The Brylcreem Boys, starring Gabriel Byrne.  It’s been quite a ride!

Here’s to the next twenty years. Your Island, Your Movies..

TAKE DOWN now shooting on the Isle of Man

Breaking news: TAKE DOWN now shooting on the Isle of Man. 

The feature film will star Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl, J. Edgar) Jeremy Sumpter (Into The Storm, Friday Night Lights), Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals) and rising star Dominic Sherwood (Not Fade Away, BBC’s The Cut).

TAKE DOWN is an action packed thriller that takes place on a remote island.

Story overview:

“A group of reckless sons and daughters of international billionaires are sent to an exclusive, tough-love boot camp to learn basic survival skills in the hope it will teach them to take responsibility for their lives. When they are taken hostage and held for a billion dollar ransom by a group of sophisticated kidnappers, the captives are forced to use their limited wilderness training to survive.”

An outdoor thriller, TAKE DOWN is being shot on many of the Island’s coastal and woodland locations.

visit www.isleofmanfilm.com