May start date planned for training sessions at Doncaster’s proposed film studio

The first training courses at a planned Doncaster film studio could start in less than six months, say bosses.

Alistair Maclean-Clark, managing director at 360 Degrees Media, which is behind the planned film studio and college at High Meltin, has confirmed the time scale, and expects to be able to start a pilot course next May.

Alistair Maclean-Clark, managing director of 360 Degrees Media, which plans to build a film studio at High Melton, Doncaster

Alistair Maclean-Clark, managing director of 360 Degrees Media, which plans to build a film studio at High Melton, Doncaster

The site is expected to help teach visual effects technology of the sort used in films and television dramas to create backgrounds or remove features in a picture which do not fit with the setting of a film, such as pylons.

No building work has started on the site yet, as work to take over the site is still ongoing.

He said said that things were progressing well.

He said: “We’ve had a huge amount of support locally, from the college, from the Chamber, from the city region and from the council. Everyone has been incredibly helpful in helping secure this project.

“We’re hoping to start pilot courses in May 2019,  for a small number of students, and then open the academy in September 2019, and then the studio, with the studios probably some point from March onwards in 2020.

“We’ve had real interest because there is insufficient studio space (in the UK). There is a problem with training (film) crews. There are not enough crews in the UK so the initiative really helps the UK film business which is booming at the present time.”

He said the community support the plans had received was one of the main reasons for coming to Doncaster,  but  the opportunity to be ‘close to London’ but at a much more cost effective base was also a consideration.

“Another benefit of this area is the huge number of film locations within a short distance from here,” he added. “So having a base at High Melton is perfect. It means you can reach out to Wentworth Woodhouse and all the other attractions in the area and there’s the racecourse, there’s a lot going on in Doncaster.

“I think a big part is educating people film makers about what is available up here.”

He said it was hoped that big productions would be attracted to the facility.

“Hopefully there will be a lot of big name television stars, leading to big name film stars. That’s the aim.”

Mr Maclean-Clark expects the new facility to provide what he descried as ‘last mile’ providing hands-on training to students after they have finished the academic side of their courses, which is not widely available at present.

He told a meeting of business organisations at Doncaster Racecourse, called Doncaster Ambassadors, that efforts would be made to blend the sound stages that are built on the High Melton site in with the grounds so that they are not visually intrusive.