Information for Industry
At Southwark Film Office we pride ourselves in understanding the needs of each individual production, offering advice on locations, applying for film permits, costs, traffic management, resident engagement and training for local people.
With the iconic location of Bankside and its river walk beside The Globe, The Tate and Millenium Bridge and providing views of the River Thames, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral along with the riverside at Bermondsey overlooking Canary Wharf; its popular urban locations Elephant and Castle and Peckham; the beautiful country feel of Dulwich Village and Peckham Rye, Southwark offers Location Managers a huge variety of options.
The Southwark Film Office is always happy to help either on the phone 020 7620 0391 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and local knowledge is readily at hand.
For further information and guidance on Covid-19, please visit our dedicated page here.
FAQ’s Film Companies
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.