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28 October 2014
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Cheltenham Film Studios
Cheltenham Film Studio
Arle Court is a grade II listed house.

Founded in 1995 Cheltenham Film Studios (CFS) is a self-contained media village set in 200 acres of beautiful surroundings.

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Cheltenham Film Studio


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Fact file

+ Cheltenham Film Studios were first founded in 1995.

+ The concept was to provide a location for media industries as an alternative to London.

+ The site has two fully equipped sound stages with production offices, make up rooms and green rooms.

+ CFS currently has 30 companies on site providing a rich skills base.

+ Based at CFS Red Collar is the animation company that created the pre-school series, Merlin the Magical puppy.

+ CFS has serviced four feature films on site including ITV's adaptation of Cider with Rosie

 

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Cheltenham Film Studios were first founded in 1995 when current chairman David Bill, wanted a new site as a location base for films that were coming into the Gloucestershire and Bristol area.

The concept was to provide a location for media industries as an alternative to London.

The whole of the CFS site could be a film backdrop in itself. With its 19th Century Gothic mansion, beautiful landscaped gardens, lake and woodland area, it is a stunning location.

Gardens at CFS
Landscaped gardens at CFS have been used as set locations.

According to Mr Bill: "It's not just used for its soundstages it has also been used as a location for films, fashion shoots and car launches."

The site has two fully equipped sound stages with production offices, make up rooms and green rooms.

CFS currently has 30 on-site companies providing a rich skills base including production companies, such as P4 films and Blue Bug TV.

Soundsatge
One of the soundstages at CFS.

Supporting these is an eclectic variety of companies such as independent film producers, animators, model makers, lawyers and arts and crafts businesses.

The Little Entertainment Company is the animation company that created the pre-school series, Merlin the Magical Puppy.

Based at the studios, Merlin is filmed in a 6,500 square foot state-of-the-art studio with some of the largest and most detailed sets ever built for pre-school stop-frame animation.

Merlin was commissioned by CiTV in the UK, and Entertainment Rights PLC has taken the series to a worldwide audience. It is hugely popular and a second series is in production.

""Although we are a haven for excellence, we don’t want to be seen as an elitist centre for film making. We are more a home for the creative to be stimulated and to be energised""
CFS chairman, David Bill.

The Little Entertainment Company are also working on a new children’s project for the BBC, but the title is being kept firmly under wraps.

Other companies include two documentary companies, a commercial company, a set construction company and IT and virtual reality businesses.

Mr Bill believes the studios have developed organically rather than being chairman led.

His initial concept was to emulate the style of the Bauer house, with a vast mixture of skill bases brought together under one roof.

"We are what’s known as a cluster group. We have a vast mixture of all disciplines that you would meet in every day life. Financial services, IT companies, training companies, and we want to encourage creative people to come here."

Chairman David Bill
CFS chairman David Bill.

The whole atmosphere at CFS is very cosmopolitan and has the air of an university campus.

With an onsite bar and restaurant, financial whiz kids and information techies can mingle with artists and sculptors in a relaxing and supportive environment.

"Although we are a haven for excellence, we don't want to be seen as an elitist centre for film making. We are more a home for the creative to be stimulated and to be energised."

CFS has serviced four feature films on site including ITV's adaptation of Cider with Rosie and a couple of childrens' films.

Recently the studios were involved in the film adaptation of Spike Milligan's book Puckoon, which was previewed at the studios in mid April.

Cider with Rosie
Cider with Rosie

First published in 1963, Puckoon was about the partitioning of an Irish village, and when he wrote it, Spike Milligan had never even been to Ireland.

Although made in Ireland CFS had a small financial investment in the film.

"You don’t have to be sitting in Cheltenham to be making Cheltenham films," said Mr Bill.

The film which stars Sean Hughes, Richard Attenborough and Elliot Gould will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

CFS have many more films in the pipeline but David Bill is remaining tightlipped over what they are. All he will say is: "Watch this space."

Go to our film reviews and maybe you could be the next Jonathan Ross.



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