Email sent to the Glasgow Film Office by Mandy Reid (Community Councillor) and the reply from Jennifer Reynolds, the Film Commissioner (Jennifer Reynolds’ answers start with JR:)
A letter was pushed under our close door on Friday 15 April 2022, from Glasal Films (Borderland) Limited. The date on the letter is APRIL 2022. I have attached a copy for your reference.
If I had not been going shopping, there is a good chance I would not have received a copy of said letter. I was in the house all day until 4.00pm and nobody rang the close buzzer to get in. In the letter, it states
“To make this production a success we are keen to establish contact directly with all residences and businesses that may be immediately affected by our filming works and within our filming boundary.”
I would say this is in fact an untruth as there was no attempt to deliver the letters directly to the flats in our close.
As your office is responsible for giving permission to film companies who want to block off streets and remove residents’ parking, I would like you to clarify a number of things:
1. The letter is not accessible. To be accessible for everyone, the font size on letters should be a minimum of size 12. This letter is in font size 10. The maps are so small to be unreadable. There was no opportunity for people who may have a sight loss to get a copy of the letter so they can, in fact, read it; or for other council tax payers who need an accessible version of the letter to get this before implementation. Nowhere on the letter does it say that the letter and instruction is available on a website or in other formats. This is the exact opposite of what the film company said they want to do in the letter.
What guidance do you give to film companies so that they comply with the Equality Act 2010 and “reasonable adjustment”?
JR: The letters are issued by the production company, not Glasgow Film Office, and are not governed by accessibility regulations for public services. [All businesses have to apply the Equality Act 2010 when sending out information to the public]
2. Is it good practice to “deliver” said letter by simply pushing copies under close doors? What advice do you give to film companies about giving notice to council tax payers? Location managers have been gaining access to closes and deciding that these closes should be used for filming without actually speaking to the flat owners. A resident found a location manager measuring his landing to see if there would be enough room for a camera, sound engineer and actors. When the resident asked about payment, the location manager said he would find another close!
JR: We ask production companies to alert residents and businesses of upcoming filming no later than one week before their proposed start date. It must be stressed that filming is not a licensed activity and Glasgow Film Office does not give permission for filming to take place. All guidance we give to productions (including our Code of Practice) is advisory and there is no legislative basis upon which companies can be penalised for failing to adhere to advice outside of existing legislation that covers all workers, tradespeople, etc.
3. Is it good practice to deliver said letters on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend when the schools are off and residents may be away on holiday? And when your office is closed until the day before the film company restrictions come into practice?
JR: Glasgow Film Office’s advice is to deliver notification at least one week before filming starts.
4. Why, when filming is going to disrupt council tax payers lives, regarding parking, noise in the middle of the night, lighting, etc, are we not consulted prior to permission being given and why are we not offered compensation for this disruption? It states in the letter
“We would like to apologise for the short notice that this letter gives you however we have had to reschedule our shoot due to unforeseen circumstances.”
According to the Code of Practice for Filming in Glasgow
” Wherever possible notice of at least two weeks should be given.”
Did you receive the 2 weeks notice? And if so, why were council tax payers only given 1 and a half working days notice of filming in the area?
“Noise should be kept to a minimum, especially during unsocial hours (normally 10pm to 8am). Generators should be baffled or integral with the location vehicle.”
The letter states that
“Filming dates, hours and location: Wednesday 20th April from 20.00 hrs through to Thursday 21st April 06.00 hrs.” and “We would like to make you aware of the use of special effects…This will involve, blood sprays and mock gunfire, actors working on the road, action vehicle placements as well as movements within the TTRO areas and the use of replica firearms.”
The work is going to be taking place in a residential area overnight with noise and “mock gunfire”. What compensation is to be given to council tax payers who may not get any sleep due to the noise? For example, our bedroom is at the front of our flat on Derby Street and unusual noise keeps us awake – this could be classed as unusual noise. What about children going to school on Thursday or people who are working?
Again in the letter, it states
“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise in advance for any inconvenience filming may cause and to thank you for your cooperation”
We have no choice in the matter regarding co-operation as we, the council tax payers, were not consulted on where or not we want film companies in our residential area making noise and nuisance during the night. I would have thought that, especially this year after the Covid pandemic with the Council elections coming up, that more consideration would have been given to residents/council tax payers and actual engagement with them would take place before permits are given out to film companies who are using Glasgow as it is maybe cheaper than the London boroughs where the film is actually set.
The same company was filming in Edinburgh and the same letter was sent to the residents there as it was quoted in the Edinburgh Evening News – except the filming took place on Sunday 10 April between the hours of 8.00 am and 6.00 pm. The mock gunfire there was taking place between 9.00am and 4.00pm.
JR: There is no permission required for filming and the temporary traffic orders/parking restrictions that are put in place to ensure a safe workspace do not require prior consultation under existing legislation. Any requests for compensation must be discussed directly with the production company.
5. What compensation is to be offered to council tax payers who have parking permits but will have to park some distance from their homes due to filming? Should those with a parking permit have their cars removed because they did not receive a letter – possibly the letters have been shoved under other close doors in the area – will they be able to collect their cars without paying a fee? Nowhere in the letter does it say that Sauchiehall Street, north and south, between Derby Street and Kelvingrove street will be closed to parking – but cones have been put out along with the other areas.
JR: Resident’s permits do not ensure a specific parking space but can be used to park in any legal parking space within a designated area of the city. The Guidance Notes that accompany the Yorkhill Resident Parking Permit https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=32149&p=0 states:
SUSPENSION OF PARKING PLACES The Council may suspend parking places for various reasons. Suspensions are indicated by the placing of ‘No Waiting/No Loading’ cones and the ‘hooding’ of pay and display machines where appropriate. Please make sure your vehicle is not parked in a suspended parking place as your vehicle may have to be removed, impounded and a release fee incurred. [didn’t answer the question]
6. What provisions were put in place for council tax payers who have dementia or mental health issues who will be affected by “mock” gun fire in the middle of the night? Is the film production company or GCC paying for counselling?
JR: Specific issues should be addressed directly with the production company. Locations personnel are more than happy to discuss the individual requirements and concerns of residents and will do their best to rectify a situation once they are made aware of it. [This is not the case when Mandy Reid approached a locations manager with a previous film company – she got abuse and was basically told to go away, but not politely!]
7. What provision will be in place to protect council tax payers’ pets from the noise in the street as well as the”mock” gun fire in the middle of the night?
JR: As above, this should be discussed directly with the production company.
8. How much is Glasgow City Council getting paid to enable this filming to take place?
JR: The production will have paid for any traffic orders and parking restrictions required at the location. GCC receives very little as it operates as a not for profit.
9. What checks and balances are in place to prevent council tax payers’ lives in our area being disrupted over and over by film crews who negotiate with businesses to use their premises but have no regard for residents? Where is the risk assessment that should be done before issuing permits and what Human Rights impact Assessment is done to lessen impact on council tax payers? Last year, two films were made using Derby Street and the surrounding streets and the same the year before.
JR: Glasgow Film Office has no power to compel production companies not to work with third parties.