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Filming taking place in Orford Road, Walthamstow
Filming taking place in Orford Road, Walthamstow

Emily Gunn from The Film Office on new movie releases and why Waltham Forest is a popular film set

This has been a year of diminishing returns for movie buffs like me, but there’s a shimmer of hope with upcoming releases set to brighten our winter spirits.

The Prom, available on Netflix from Friday 11th December, is a showstopper that’ll get you grooving on the sofa to a glorious cast including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells, and Keegan-Michael Key. The narrative follows four Broadway actors who help a young woman banned from taking her girlfriend to the high school prom. After millions of students lost their end-of-year celebrations this summer, this modern LGBTQ drama combines La La Land with High School Musical and is sure to offer feelings of joy.

While unable to toe-tap in London’s music venues, perhaps you’re missing the blues this festive season? On Friday 18th December, Netflix also releases Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which delves into a group of musicians as they work through a Chicago recording session in 1927. It’s a warmly energetic piece following Ma Rainey, one of the first blues artists of her time. The talented and adored Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away in August, shows his wondrous smile as he portrays Levve in his last appearance on-screen.

We know the pandemic has shaken the film industry, but it hasn’t been doom and gloom for all directors. As lockdown arrived, new productions across London sought to provide future content under the government’s Covid-19 guidelines for filming. Thankfully, Waltham Forest provides some fantastic locations for the industry and the council works in partnership with The Film Office to promote and facilitate crews.

There are multiple local parks and spaces available via Waltham Forest Film Office, including Chingford Assembly Hall, a unique community space with a stylish lounge area; William Morris Gallery, a Georgian house built in the 1740s; Winns Gallery, a contemporary gallery located in the middle of leafy Lloyd Park; and Walthamstow Assembly Hall, a Grade 2-listed live music venue. The Film Office team’s passion for supporting cultural and creative industries assists thousands of filming projects each year, enabling productions and communities to thrive in unison.

In Waltham Forest we have facilitated shoots such as BBC drama I Hate Suzie, starring Billie Piper, with some scenes filmed in Orford Road at the end of 2019. In addition, we have managed shows including Celebrity Masterchef, ITV’s Lorraine and commercials for Transport for London and McDonald’s.

The end of 2020 may feel somewhat disjointed, but with streaming services relaying the golden oldies, and a trickle of new releases to keep our eyes amused, we can feel lucky to catch a movie with our loved ones this holiday.

For more information about Waltham Forest Film Office:

Check out Emily’s personal website: