LucasFilm’s Willow highlights continued Welsh production boom
Among the high-profile roll call of major inward investment projects to have chosen Wales as their key location is LucasFilm’s much-anticipated sequel to Willow, that began filming in early summer last year with support from Creative Wales.
The series, which offered 25 paid placements for trainees during production, has just launched on Disney+. ~
Lynwen Brennan, the executive vice president of Lucasfilm, said of filming Willow in Wales: “The industry is really booming right now, and Wales has this amazing combination of assets. We’ve got these great stage facilities, beautiful landscapes, and this great talent in Wales, which of course - me being Welsh - I was thrilled to see.”
Wales now has a combined 822,705 sq ft of shooting space across the country’s seven studios, along with highly-experienced crew and a huge variety of locations including the only coastal National Park in the UK and a plethora of historic landmarks including hundreds of castles.
Brennan continued: “With Creative Wales we [Lucasfilm] have the same goals. We want to grow the industry here; we want to grow skillset. There are many, many options in the film industry whatever your skillset is. Whatever you’re interested in there’s probably a place for you in the film industry. Keep knocking on that door, because it is available to you and it’s available to you right here in Wales.
Other high-profile projects to have shot in Wales recently include Havoc with Tom Hardy, the third series of His Dark Materials and the fourth run of Sex Education, which began a six-month shoot in July.
In the last two years, Wales Screen, Creative Wales’ location service, has received over 900 production enquiries from film and TV crews, and in 2021 alone, the Welsh screen sector saw a turnover of £575 million, a 36% increase from the year before.
Deputy minister for arts and sport, Dawn Bowden, commented: “This eagerly awaited series offers another excellent opportunity to showcase Wales on a global level. I’m delighted we’ve been able to support LucasFilm to bring the production back to Wales.
"We can’t wait for the world to see Wales on screen - and this has been such a fantastic opportunity for the trainees who have gained invaluable experience on a large-scale production.”
Sex Education image via Sam Taylor/Netflix; HDM via BBC; Willow via Creative Wales.
Also on The Knowledge
Development and finance company Anton has launched a TV production arm in London to consolidate its producing credentials as an independent scripted studio.
A new report has found that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have the potential to become a “screen cluster of national significance”.
?Entertainment Partners and Netflix have each pledged £250k to form a new £500k Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) Talent Development Fund, that will support the development and progression of film and HETV production talent across the UK.
Production has begun on new ITVX comedy Ruby Speaking, starring Jayde Adams and Katherine Kelly.
Netflix has bought its first Welsh-language-only drama, Dal y Mellt (Rough Cut), a 6 x 60 series from Vox Pictures that is adapted from the novel by Iwan Roberts.
The government has been accused of a “baffling” failure to capitalise on the thriving creative sector by the Lords Communications Committee as it warns the UK risks being overtaken by other countries.