Cornwall: the perfect location for high-end films

January 16th, 2017

It is no secret that Falmouth has become a hub for creativity in Cornwall, with one of the UK’s leading arts universities based in this beautiful part of the world.

The university has now also become the set of a new British comedy being produced by Noel Clarke and Jason Maza, and their production team ‘Unstoppable’; whilst writer and director, Jamie Adams heads up the direction. The new film is entitled ‘Songbird’, and the plot-line focuses on the story of a lead singer, Joanne Sykes, of a once popular 90s indie rock band, The Filthy Dukes, who decides to return to university, after the split of her band and the discovery that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Whilst university wasn’t quite what she was expecting, she falls in love with a librarian named Pete, but the story is not plain sailing from there for our protagonist Joanne- so be sure to catch this comedy when it’s released, to find out about her journey through university. The impressive cast includes ‘Avengers’ star Cobie Smulders, starring alongside Jessica Hynes, best known for her role in ‘Spaced’, alongside fellow British comedian Simon Pegg; additionally, the film will star Noel Clarke, who has starred in ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’, as well as being the actor and writer known for British hit sensation, ‘Kidulthood’.

Jamie Adams is very ecstatic about the filming, stating: “I am incredibly lucky to be working with such a talented cast and crew on Songbird; Cobie Smulders is such an amazing comic actor, and it’s truly a privilege to work with her here in Cornwall, of all places!”

Filming has already begun in Falmouth and surrounding areas, including on the university campus. Which comes just in time as the announcement has been made that the Falmouth University’s School Film and Television is investing in independent, micro-budget productions to ensure young British film-making remains some of the best offerings in the world. Noel Clarke, who is a partner of the university’s film making department, has identified his praise for the film students of Falmouth, whose passion and abilities give him hope for the future of the British film industry.

Because of Cornwall’s dramatic coastlines and historical features, these landscapes make fantastic backdrops for movie scenes, so Songbird is not the first star-studded film set in Cornwall; others include ‘World War Z’ with leading star Brad Pitt, with the scenes shot on board a ship and to sea also being set in the sea-side town of Falmouth. Other films set at sea includes ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, with parts being filmed in the beautiful location of St Ives, just a short drive away from Falmouth. The film starred Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, amongst other A-star celebs.

Carlyon bay beach, in St Austell, has also been quite a busy beach in terms of filming, due to its iconic appearance. Mel Gibson set his heart on this beach to film parts of the dramatic beach scene in hit film ‘Apocalypto’. This beach also features in Universal Films 1979 make of Bram Stokers ‘Dracula’, directed by John Badham and starring Frank Langella as the Count. Other Cornish locations in this film include St Michael’s Mount and Mevagissey.

‘Songbird’ is not the only comedy to be filmed around Falmouth either. It will be joining the list alongside ‘About Time’- which stars Bill Nighy and Rachael McAdams. If you’ve seen this rom-com you may remember the part where Rachael’s character, Mary marries Tim, played by Domhnall Gleeson, in a quaint, little English church. This is in fact the little village of St Michael Penkevil’s church, which is located near the Tregothnan estate in Truro.

Rowan Atkinson has also made a fair few appearances in the west country over his years in the acting business. His role in black comedy ‘Keeping Mum’, a film where his wife and children are up to no good whilst their new housekeeper, played by Maggie Smith, has a dark past, also brought him down to St Michael Penkivel, where this little Cornish village acts as the village of Little Wallop in the film.

Earlier examples of filming in Cornwall can date back to as far back as 1899! Branded content for the Great Western Railway service included a promotional black and white film encouraging people to take their holidays to Cornwall. Entitled ‘Scenes in the Cornish Riviera’, this 1904 film set locations included Newquay, Truro, Falmouth and St Ives.

Whilst Falmouth itself can be linked to the 1935 horror ‘The Mystery of the Marie Celeste’, also referred to as the ‘Phantom Ship’, which revolves around the plot-line of a crew stuck in a horrific storm, that realise there is a murderer amongst them who is killing crew members off one by one. The film was created by production company Hammer Films, who went on to create such classics as ‘Frankenstein’ (1957) and ‘Dracula’ (1958).

So, on your holidays, Falmouth may offer you the chance to see a film crew or a famous actor, or two.