Reputed British film location experts including the location manager for the famous television series Game of Thrones were currently in Sri Lanka scouring for the most scenic places for their next ventures.
The eight-member British team is a part of lucrative location familiarization tour of Sri Lanka organised and hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). The tour comes on the heels of a successful networking event the Bureau took part in during the FOCUS 2017 in UK.
The location managers include, David Pinnington who was the supervising and location manager for Spiderman (Far from home), Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy and X-men First Class to name a few.
Camilia Stephens was the supervising and location manager for Hollywood blockbusters like Les Miserables, the King’s speech and Snowman.
Pinnington also took part in a B2B session where he and other location managers met with members of the local film fraternity to discuss ways in which Sri Lanka can be promoted as a prime film destination.
“As a film destination, Sri Lanka is very impressive and its locations are easily accessible. I thought that the locations were great. I was impressed with the ‘’Lion Rock’’ (Sigiriya) and the aerial view which was stunning,” said Pinnington.
Another member of the delegation was Mick Ratman who is a member of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and the past chair of the Guild of Location managers which he served for nearly 10 years. He lent his expertise to find the perfect set for movies such as The Flag, Welcome to Sarajevo and Shivaree: john 2/14.
“It was important to meet the local production companies. They seem very capable and experienced, which is good. As a film destination, Sri Lanka is an excellent choice. But to see the development of film tourism, we need to make a change with the help of the government. During the tour I saw interesting locations. I loved the east coast because the beach was better. Colombo is an amazing city though the traffic is terrible,” he said.
Among the group is also Martin Walker, whose notable works include X-Men: First Class, The Mummy Returns, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Paddington 2. Benjamin Ian Macgregor was the location manager for the movie like Blitz- star by Jason Statham, RocknRolla, Driving Lessons and Tom & Issy.
Eduardo Rodrigalvarez is a location manager who is also part of the Location Managers Guild International, production Guild of Great Britain and Film London. He was part of Breaking the Bank and Housefull 3. Shona Smith on the other hand is the UK Online Magazine dedicated to the British Film industry.
Veteran film maker Chandran Rutnam who was also present at this B2B meeting held at the Hilton felt that meeting these location managers and having them in Sri Lanka was massive boost to tourism locally.
“I think this was very well organised and was a timely event, after the end of war, we have not pushed our country as a film location. Some of the biggest movies in the world have been shot here. I think having the location managers from the UK is a successful endeavor done well. It will provide us much more business because films will be shot here once they get back home. This will entice other producers will come down and consider creating films in Sri Lanka in future. I want to congratulate the SLTPB and the organizers for doing this. I think we should do this annually.”
The film location managers arrived in the country on 14 November and departed on 21. They were taken on a tour of Colombo with glimpse into the urban life, lesser known attractions and mountainous ranges such as Knuckles range. They also toured Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya, Dutch Fort and will tour the southern coastal belt.