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Hopes that Birmingham might become a major centre of movie production move a step closer today – and it’s all thanks to Stirrer blogger and Forum regular Jonathan Stuart Brown.

A delegation representing the Indian film company Medient and two venture capitalists from the UK is visiting the city today for a series of meetings organised by Cllr Martin Mullaney, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture.

He’s brought together Advantage West Midlands, Screen WM and Locate in Birmingham to show the company three potential venues for permanent studio facilities.

These are:

  1. The NEC – ideally located for the airport and motorways, and looking for means to expand its business model. Drawback could be aircraft noise.
  2. Longbridge – site of the former Rover car factory, where one of the world’s top gig lighting companies PRG has a base, and is looking to create a “studio” style environment where bans can come and design their stage shows before going out on tour.
  3. The disused warehouse in Digbeth, where Birmingham Opera Company staged its most recent production.

Medient is planning to make six horror movies a year, starting in September, but hopes to expand into more general film-making once its UK base has been established.

They’ve already explored options near London at Elstree but were rebuffed because Warner Bros has taken a two-year block booking; and also investigated a former Rolls Royce factory near Liverpool.

Thanks to Stuart-Brown’s persistent campaigning via The Stirrer, they've been alerted to what Brum has to offer - and have now been persuaded to come and have a look for themselves.

We can only wish them well. In the short term, the deal holds out the prospect of skilled jobs in the film industry coming to the West Midlands; and then acting as a magnet to draw in other productions.

Birmingham – the movie capital of the UK? Remember, you heard it here first.



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