Over the summer months, the West Midlands was invaded by a mixture of zombies, soldiers and a large international film crew to shoot the post-apocalyptic thriller; ‘She Who Brings Gifts’.
The film which stars Hollywood stars Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine, will feature a host of recognisable spots such as Cannock Chase, Merry Hill Shopping Centre and Church Street in central Birmingham. All transformed into a Zombie-inhabited wasteland through the magic of film. Though with Dudley Guest Hospital, which was chosen for it’s overgrown nature, few alterations were needed.
The producer Camille Gatin spoke of how glad she was to film in the Midlands; ‘There were great locations that fitted this particular storyline. We knew that we could have a central base and within a 40 minutes drive… all of the locations’.
She pointed out how advantageous it was shooting away from London, noting that there with less problems with traffic jams or the inability to park. ‘In London, people get ratty’, she explained. ‘There is a disruptive element to filmmaking but because it is an activity that is rarer in the Midlands than other regions, it does mean that people are super enthusiastic about it’
Filming in Birmingham is becoming more common with filmmakers taking advantage of the space and variety of locations that the West Midlands provides. But it’s not all about the locations, the film crew praised the enthusiasm and professionalism of the local people.
Cannock Chase, a site of scientific interest, kindly gave permission for three days of filming in their beautiful nature reserve, assiting the crew to get the footage they needed. Camille Gatin also spoke positively of Film Birmingham, the organisation who arranges permits, road closes and the other tricky aspects of filming in the local area.
When Glenn Close herself comments that she had enjoyed a hike through Clent Hills, you know that there’s no limit to what Birmingham can provide.