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20/01/2004

Statistics reveal 2003 is busiest year in Liverpool Film Office’s history

New figures show that Liverpool's film and television industry broke all records in 2003.
Statistics from the city council's Film Office reveal it organised the equivalent of 612 days of filming during the year - the highest since the department was formed back in 1989.
It smashes the previous record of 502 days, which was set in the year 2000 when Samuel L Jackson was in the city filming his Hollywood blockbuster 'The 51st State'.
Productions shot in the city in 2003 included two feature films - 'Millions', a black comedy starring James Nesbitt about two youngsters who find £1 million, and 'Digital Jesus' which saw locations such as Stanley Dock, Exchange Flags and Old Hall Street double as New York.
One of the world's hottest film stars - Jude Law - spent a day in Liverpool filming a re-make of the 1960's movie 'Alfie'.
Nine network television programmes were also shot in the city, including: BBC One police series 'Mersey Beat' - which is shot entirely in Liverpool; CBBC's 'Grange Hill' - shot on location at Mersey TV headquarters and in Norris Green; ITV1's drama 'To Kidnap a Princess' about the attempted kidnap of Princess Anne - which used Sefton Park to replicate The Mall in London; ‘Red and Blue’ - a BBC One drama about the demonstrations outside Holy Cross school in Belfast; And ‘Pleasurelands’ - a coming of age drama for Channel 4.
The Film Office estimates that hundreds of people were employed on the productions, giving an estimated £15 million boost to the local economy and benefiting businesses such as hotels, taxi firms and caterers.
And 2004 looks set to be an even better year because the Film Office and North West Vision- the organisation that promotes filming in the region - have successfully bid for £6 million from the Objective One fund to develop and encourage new talent, and strengthen the crew, facilities and filming infrastructure across Merseyside.
Film Office manager Lynn Saunders believes the future is looking good: "It's a really exciting time for the film industry in Liverpool. The Liverpool Film Studios have firmly established themselves as a production base within the city, and the Objective One cash means we can invest in the next generation of filmmakers to bring on new talent.
"Liverpool is now known as a city that welcomes film makers with open arms and does all it can to accommodate them. The word is spreading among producers and directors that whatever location you need, Liverpool can provide it."
Cllr Warren Bradley, Executive Member or Leisure and Culture, added: "Liverpool has a fantastic reputation within the film industry for providing great locations and logistical support for film makers.
"There is a phenomenal level of interest in using Liverpool for making television series and feature films, and with the European Capital of Culture win our profile is set to grow even further over the coming months and years."
Later this year, 'The Virgin of Liverpool', a comedy feature film starring Ricky Tomlinson and Johnny Vegas, shot entirely on location in the city, will go on general release and it is thought it will generate more interest from filmmakers wanting to come to the city.
(GB)
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