Welcome to Southwark Film Office
Managed by FilmFixer
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Q How can I get involved in filming?
We are committed to making sure that filming is something that can benefit the entire community. We therefore work to facilitate things like set visits, work placements as runners or marshalls, work experience and industry events. If this sounds like something you'd like to be involved with, please do get in touch. Take a look at our Training page for more information.
Q What's in it for me if there's filming in my neighbourhood?
We encourage filmmakers to speak with the local community to reach agreements before filming. Often these agreements involve donations to local community spaces like parks and schools, to local charities, or to local associations of residents and traders. Filming in your borough is a source of revenue for the Council and boosts the local economy through use of local services like catering and accomodation providers. We also facilitate opportunities for local individuals through work placements and training.
Q How can I make my voice heard about filming in my neighbourhood?
You are welcome to share any concerns about filming directly with us via our Contact Information listed below. We are all ears to any concerns, complaints or aspirations for the borough that you might have. If you would like to be directly involved in the consultation process on a regular basis, we recommend that you join (or create) your local residents' or traders' association.
Q What can I do if my business has suffered because of filming in the neighbourhood?
Filmmakers are expected to contact business owners in advance of planned shoots through letters and Q&A sessions. This consultation process allows measures to be put in place to minimise or mitigate any impact on your business. If you believe your business is suffering and you did not agree to the filming, please contact us via the Contact Information below (using our 24-hour emergency phone number if necessary).
Q What can I do if filming personnel are being rude or antisocial?
We expect film crews to film and act responsibly, and we consider any rude or antisocial behaviour to be unacceptable. If you were consulted about filming via a resident's letter, you should have the production's contact details to allow you to contact the filmmaker directly. If this does not resolve the situation, you can call us on 0207 620 0391 (or on our 24-hour emergency phone: 07919 002 115) and we will immediately contact or visit the set. If a filmmaker or their crew does not act responsibly, it will count against them in future applications to film.
Q What do I do if filming activity is restricting access or blocking my route?
Filmmakers may not block access to your house or business without your permission. Neither may they block a pavement or highway while it is in use. In some cases, we might close off an area of a public street or pavement for filming purposes. This sort of measure is agreed in advance with local residents and buisnesses through letter drops and Q&A sessions. If you have not been informed of planned closures or if filmmakers are blocking your route without permission, please let us know via the Contact Informaiton below and we we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation.
Q What can I do if filming activities are causing excessive noise or light?
The majority of filming is only licensed between 7am and 11pm to minimise the disturbance this might cause. If we think a planned shoot is likely to cause significant disturbance, we make sure that the filmmakers come to an agreement in advance with people in the neighbourhood. We can include any agreed conditions (such a the provision of blackout blinds) in the license and can take deposits from the filmmakers, which may be donated to local causes if the conditions are breached. We also have a 24-hour emergency number listed below. You can call this number if you are being disturbed, and we will immediately contact or visit the set to resolve the situation.
Q Why do you need to close roads for filming?
Closing roads is sometimes unavoidable for health and safety reasons - for example if there are dangerous stunts being filmed. It might also be necessary to close roads for things like period films so that the aesthetic can be controlled. Road closures for filming have strict lead-in times so that the proper consultation can take place and you will always be given advance warning.
Q Why do you need to suspend parking bays for filming?
Parking is often needed for support and technical vehicles during filming or to keep the road clear for certain shots. We work with productions to make sure that non-essential vehicles are parked off-site and that parking causes as little disruption to the general public as possible. When suspension is essential, you will receive advance notice by way of signage at the affected bays and a residents' letter from the production. We encourage filmmakers to return bays to service as soon as they have finished with them. If you require alternative parking provisions, please get in touch with the production via the details provided on your residents' letter. If you receive a parking charge notice as a result of being unaware of a suspension, please contact us and we will endeavour to get it cancelled.
Q How can I stop filmmakers from using the unrestricted parking on my road?
While there is no legal means to prevent parking on unrestricted roads, we expect filmmakers to be responsible with their number of vehicles and length of stay. If you think your road is attracting an untenable amount of parking, please get in touch via the Contact Information below.
Q Are productions allowed to put cones out to reserve parking?
It is fine for a production to place cones within bays that are already suspended for their purposes. However, if you suspect that coning is happening in bays that have not been officially suspended, please get in touch with us via the Contact Information below.
Q What if I don't want myself or my property to be filmed?
Whilst there is no specific right under English Law to not be filmed in public, FilmFixer supports Film London's guidance that filmmakers should have your permission to use footage that you feature in. We also expect filmmakers to use 'Filming in Progess' signs to alert members of the public to their presence. If you have spoken to the filmmaker and you believe that they are not living up to these expectations, please do let us know via the Contact Information below.
Q What legal grounds does filming have to go ahead?
Filming is a legitimate activity and filmmakers are legally permitted to conduct their business in public places. As the borough's Film Office, we are committed to making sure that it is an activity that benefits the entire comminity and causes as little disruption as possible. Councils support the film industry, and are signatories to the Film London Partnership Agreement. Filming boosts the international profile of London as a dynamic and fascinating city. Many people make their living in the film industry so it is also good for employment to have filming occuring locally.
Q Is there a risk of my neighbourhood becoming overrun by filmmakers?
Our main priority is to protect the interests of the community during filming, which means making sure this doesn't happen. We monitor the amount of filming throughout the borough, as well as feedback from the community, to see if any neighbourhoods are being over-used. We often use our local knowledge to suggest alternative locations to make sure that filming is as evenly distributed as possible.
Q What can you do to stop my neighbour from using their house as a film location?
We do not have control over what happens on private property but we may be able to use our influence to encourage filmmakers to act responsibly. If you are concerned about the volume of scale of filming, get in touch with us via the Contact Information below. Of course, the usual rules about unreasonable noise or nuisance still apply (for example if a neighbour is having a loud party), so if you think they are breaking these rules then you can contact the Council.
Q Do I need a licence to film?
As a general rule, you do not require a license if you are filming on a public pavement or highway and your shoot involves five or fewer people with a handheld camera or simple tripod only OR if you are filming for purely non-commercial purposes (e.g. a home video or personal travel diary). Otherwise, your filming will need to be properly licensed by us. There may be exceptions to these guidelines, however, so feel free to check with us if you are unsure.
Q How do I apply for a license to film?
If you already know where and when you are planning film, go to this page this page and click on the relevant borough to submit your application. Depending on the contents of your shoot, a lead-in time might apply. Please see the Fees and Lead Times sheet in the Useful Documents section below for more details.
Q Do I need to provide any insurance?
Yes, you are required to supply Public Liability Insurance of a minimum of £5million. The insurance must be in the name of the production company named on the application and it must be valid in the UK.
Q How much does it cost to film?
Filming incurs Location Fees and / or Admin Fees, depending on where you are filming. Location Fees tend to be chargeable in any of the following locations: estates, libraries, parks, green spaces, squares, pedestrianised areas, markets, leisure centres, swimming pools, town halls, Council offices, and car parks. When filming on a public highway, you will not be charged a Location Fee, but Admin Fees are still applicable. There may also be other fees attached to your shoot such as Temporary Structure fees or Temporary Traffic Order fees, depending on what you plan to do. You can find the guideline figures for this borough on the Fees and Lead Times sheet under the Useful Documents section below. Charities and students may be eligible for reduced fees.
Q How can I tell whether you manage a location or not?
If you are filming on public, Council-owned property such as roads, parks, libraries and cemeteries, the chances are that you will need to apply to film with us. If you are unsure whether a location is Council owned or not, get in touch via the Contact Information below. You can use this helpful link from Google Maps to make sure that you are applying to the correct borough.
Q Do I need to notify you if I am filming on private property?
Although we do not necessarily need to licence your filming, we do ask that you make us aware of your shoot as we have a duty of care to ensure that productions have completed a sufficient residential consultation. If you require any parking or use of the public highway, you will need to apply as usual.
Q Can you give me suggestions for a location brief?
We have our own Location Library, which can be found here. You can browse by borough, key word or genre to find what you are looking forward. If you have a specific brief that you are struggling to fill, please do get in touch and we will make do our best to make suitable suggestions from the borough. Email email@example.com with as much of the following as possible: - The production / production company - A rough idea of your dates and timings - An overview of your brief - Any reference images you have - A rough idea of your budget"
Q I need to suspend parking for my filming, what do I do?
If you need to suspend parking for filming purposes - regardless of whether you are filming on private or Council property - you will need to complete a parking suspension application form. This can be found under the Useful Documents section below. You will then need to complete a FilmApp application with the form attached so that we can process your parking. Some boroughs also offer daily permits or dispensions for DYL/SYL. Give us a call to discuss your requirements further if you are unsure of the next steps.
Q My filming involves a drone, what do I need to do?
Any filming involving a drone in London will require a separate licence. You can find all of the necessary information, including an application form, guidance notes and information sheet, in the Useful Documents section below.
Q How do I go about hiring a sports pitch or court for filming?
If the pitch or court in question is part of a Council run site, you still need to apply for a license to film through us. We will then liaise with the relevant sports facility for your booking. Some pitches/courts come with hire costs which need to paid on top of location fees and administration costs. We will be able to advise of the costs following your application.
Q I am filming for a news piece, what do I need to do?
A film agreement is not usually required for breaking or live broadcast news being filmed on public highways. The news crew must be in a possession of a press pass issued by the NUJ and ID provided by their employer. News crews filming on location or filming narrative/content pieces must apply for a license and pay the relevant fees.
Q When do I need to talk to the police?
You will need to obtain police consent when you are filming with anything that looks like a weapon (knives, baseball bats etc), any replica or airsoft firearms, when you have actors in uniform, if you are filming with replica emergency vehicles, if your scenes could seen as a criminal or violent act, if you have real or perceived nudity or when there could be an issue with public safety due to your filming. The contact details for the MET Police Film Unit are: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0203 054 5555 or 07768 055 260
Q Do I need a license for child actors / models?
Any filming which involves the employment of children under school leaving age (whether paid or not) requires a child performance license from the Council. Please note: the licence must be issued by the Council of the child's borough of residence, not the borough in which the filming is taking place.
24hr emergency phone: 07919 002 115
Please only use this emergency contact number if you have concerns about filming taking place at the moment. If you need to apply for a film license please go to FilmApp.