... while a pounds 50m movie HQ springs up by the Thames

THE NATIONAL Film and Television School, responsible for training many of Britain's leading film-makers, is drawing up ambitious plans for a national "cinema campus" on London's South Bank, writes Louise Jury.

Negotiations have been opened with the British Film Institute to create the new complex, which would incorporate the National Film Theatre, the Museum of the Moving Image, and a new Imax cinema with the UK's largest cinema screen, as well as advanced teaching facilities.

The NFTS has tutored some of the most successful UK film-makers at its current site in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, but is convinced the time is ripe for a move to central London. The BFI has already announced plans to sell its offices in the West End and move to the South Bank.

The NFTS is convinced that a link-up with the Institute will put its 150 full-time and 1,000 part-time students at the heart of a thriving network of British film-making.

A number of planners and architects are devising ways to redesign the South Bank to accommodate the BFI and the school. Using spare space in the adjacent Shell Centre is one option.

Jim Rodda, the school's finance director, said it needed to be based in London, the heart of the British film industry. "I think it would be exciting. It would help no end."

He said there were overlaps in the kind of screening and conference facilities that the school needed and which would be available on the South Bank. Students could also benefit from the BFI library and, perhaps most significantly, from the potential contacts. "Networking is a very important part of the business," Mr Rodda said.

Past students who have networked to success include Nick Park, the Oscar- winning animator of Wallace and Gromit, Mark Herman, who directed Brassed Off, and Roger Deakin, acclaimed director of photography on films such as the Coen brothers' Fargo.

The last planned redevelopment of the South Bank, featuring a wavy roof designed by Lord Rogers, had to be abandoned when the Arts Council decided it would not fund the project.

A spokeswoman for the South Bank centre said the new feature in the latest plans was a greater prominence for the film organisations. "The new ingredient is to have a film centre, creating a film street feel," she said.

But the project in London leaves a question mark over Ealing Studios in west London, home to classic Fifties comedies such as The Lavender Hill Mob and The Man in the White Suit, which the NFTS bought for pounds 2.68m four years ago to convert into a new school.

The plans depended on Lottery funding and had to be abandoned when the Arts Council announced awards would be capped at pounds 15m, a long way short of the estimated pounds 30m-pounds 50m required.

The school is finalising details of the sale, which will be advertised within the next couple of months. As a charity, the school is obliged to secure the best return on its assets. But it is in discussions with lawyers to see how it can ensure they remain as film studios.

While the conversion plans were under way, Ealing has continued to be used. The BBC series Vanity Fair was made there and an American company is currently filming a remake of A Christmas Carol. A studio spokeswoman said: "We are very busy at the moment."

But the film industry is divided as to the future viability of Ealing where the stages are not big enough for making blockbusters. Lottery funding for smaller film projects has ensured a boom in the last three years. But if the level of activity slumped, then it might be more difficult to sell the studios as a going concern.

The London borough of Ealing has made clear it wants the studios to remain as a film centre. A spokesman said it would certainly object to any moves to transform the home of classic British films into housing or shops.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin