Surrey has been a popular place for film and TV over the years, but until more recent years, it wasn't being actively managed or promoted. Regional film offices were starting to develop widely across the UK, in line with increasing demand from the film industry, and Surrey County Council saw this as an opportunity to create the Surrey Film Office, which launched in 2016.
The purpose of the film office was to provide a central hub for the film industry; working in conjunction with Surrey's district and borough Councils and key organisations, to actively promote Surrey and to encourage inward investment into the local economy, while ensuring that Surrey residents and businesses continue to benefit from filming in the county.
Surrey makes an ideal location for filming, offering a wide variety of stunning and diverse filming locations, from historic houses and rural villages to urban city centres and high-rise buildings. Not forgetting the breath-taking scenery of the Surrey Hills and abundance of woodland, as England's most wooded county. Home to two major film and TV studios,
Surrey is also conveniently located on London's doorstep, making it a desirable choice for the film industry. Surrey has hosted a number of major feature films and TV dramas over the years, including Beauty and The Beast, Skyfall, The Holiday, Wonder Woman, Gladiator, and The Crown, to name but a few.
Most recently Ridley Scott's latest film, Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix has hit cinema's. The film's production team scouted across England and Malta, with most of the filming taking place in England across the East Midlands and South East including right here in Surrey! Both Bourne Woods and Hankley Common near Farnham were used to recreate epic battle scenes. Hankley Common was even turned into a freezing Russian Tundra for Napoleon's Army to cross in retreat, whilst pursuing the Cossacks!
With two Surrey locations featured in the film, the team at Surrey Film Office were delighted to welcome the production to their county. Film Officer Vicki Brown comments:
"We've seen a variety of productions take place across our Surrey woodlands and it's always a pleasure to see the locations on screen. On this occasion, both Bourne Wood and Hankley Common were transformed into a snowy battlefield, setting the scene for Napoleon. However, this isn't the first time we've seen Ridley Scott in Surrey; With Bourne Wood being chosen for the opening battle scene of Gladiator (2000), which set the path for all future filming at the Forestry England site."
The film office actively promotes the Surrey locations featured on screen by maintaining a 'MovieMap', which provides an opportunity for film and TV fans to explore the locations and encourages the ongoing economic investment that screen tourism brings to local businesses.
Find out more about the work of the Surrey Film Office.
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