brunel-uniCharlotte Allenby is the first winner of the Along The Thames Creative Writing Prize at Brunel University.

From high brow Oscar winners such as The King’s Speech to the more coarse comedy of The Inbetweeners Movie, British film has something to offer everyone. Over the past few years the British film industry has witnessed success after success and this can be attributed to the diverse subject matter that it tackles. In recent years British audiences have been treated to everything from films documenting the lives of prominent figures, such as The Queen, to the long running fantasy action of the Harry Potter films.

It is undeniable that the British film industry has become as successful in diversifying its subject matter as it has at breaking box office records. The industry has contributed £4.2 billion to the British economy from its £34 million National Lottery funding last year. Earlier this year the Prime Minister stated that Britain needs to put more money into producing blockbusters. Although this would boost the economy further, we have to wonder if we would lose the integrity and wit which makes the British films what they are today. Quite possibly, because the fact remains that it is very hard to predict what kinds of films will become hits. For example, who would have expected the success of a film concerned with the alien invasion of an inner city London council estate? As was the case with Attack the Block last year. Furthermore, if we look at film internationally, the success of the silent, black and white film, The Artist in winning three Oscars this year, further proves that there is no predicting the kinds of films which will become successful.

Many would argue that the quality of British films has far surpassed those made in Hollywood over recent years. Whilst British film makers seek subject matters that range from historical events and figures, to real life portrayals of British culture, a lot of the films churned out of Hollywood appear to be remakes of older pictures or endless superhero depictions.

South West London plays a major part in the success of the British film industry, being home to three of the biggest film studios in the UK: Shepperton, Teddington and Pinewood. These giants in film production provide the location for British films as well as for many international pictures. Shepperton studios have recently seen the filming of Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to the 2010 film Clash of the Titans. Although recent plans for a £200 million expansion of Pinewood studios were rejected by the local council due to the greenbelt in place there, the Studio has stated that it still remains loyal to British creativity and film. Pinewood is proud to have taken part in the filming of the latest Bond film Skyfall which is due for release later this year. The prominence of British film studios has been furthered with the opening of the Warner Brothers Studio tour- The Making of Harry Potter, at their studios in Leavesden, West London. This new experience highlights the connection of the British public to their film industry.

2012 has already seen further recognition of British film as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy won BAFTA awards for best British film and best adapted screenplay. The Oscars have also noticed Northern Ireland’s Terry George who took home the award for best live-action short film, The Shore, demonstrating that the British are being recognised in all areas of the film industry. It is undeniable that we will be seeing much more success for British film throughout the remainder of this year and for many more to follow.

Charlotte Allenby