Plans for films made in Dagenham took another step towards reality this week when the preferred bidders to build what will be London’s largest studios visited the site to meet the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. 

Cllr Darren Rodwell met with Dana Arnold, Chief Executive Officer of Pacifica Ventures and Sasha Shapiro, Managing Director of Media Content Capital, as part of a review of progress with Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company.  Be First is tasked with delivering the studio complex, which includes sound stages, media office complex, and a public entertainment complex.

Cllr Rodwell, Be First’s Managing Director, Pat Hayes, and the USA based duo also met up with local education chiefs, media students from Barking and Dagenham College and Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London.

Councillor Darren Rodwell said: “It’s great to meet Dana and Sasha. Their presence here confirms their commitment to help make our dream to have London’s largest film and TV studios come true, so that Dagenham becomes London’s Hollywood.”

“Film and the creative industries are a massive growth sector, so I was especially pleased to be able to introduce them to some of the key players in our local educational scene to start the conversation about jobs and opportunities for local young people.

Dana Arnold said: “We are excited to be meeting with Darren to report our progress in the effort to create not only the largest new, state of the art film and television production facility in London, but also what we believe will become the new media hub for all of London.

“We believe it will attract not only production but also every level of media creation, from preproduction, visual effects, and post production to development and delivery of all types of digital media.  The opportunity to create a digital media centre that will attract and hire the finest craftspeople and artisans in the U.K. is an honour.”

Sasha Shapiro said: “It is a pleasure to join with Darren in our effort to bring the world’s major producers of film and all forms of digital media to Dagenham where they will create the next generation of technically advanced film and television media that will be seen all over the world and make the phrase, “Made in Dagenham”, take on new meaning in the digital age.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “Our plans are very much on course to deliver what will be London’s largest studios so we can make Dagenham as famous for films as it is for Fords.”

Yvonne Kelly, Principal and Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham College, said: “It’s great for the college and the students to meet the people behind these exciting plans.

“Our college has a great track record of producing media personalities, including Idris Elba, and we believe having huge film studios on our doorstep will inspire students to get involved in the industry whether that’s in front of the camera or behind it.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “It’s hugely positive for both London and the UK to see plans progressing for this important development which will bring vital new infrastructure and much-needed additional space. The capital is at the forefront when it comes to delivery of world class content, skills and creativity and it’s been a pleasure to meet with both Pacifica and Barking & Dagenham today to move forward discussions around promoting the new facilities, bringing major titles to east London and, ultimately, championing the capital as the best place in the world to make big-budget film and TV.”