First Stop, Newham… Next stop, Rio!

Earlier this year we worked with Blink Productions on Channel 4’s commercial for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. Scenes included filming wheelchair athletes training on Royal Albert Way from a tracking vehicle. Newham Film Office arranged a road closure to be in place and liaised with the production to ensure the safety of the athletes, crew and the general public. Although the athletes train regularly on the public road extra safety precautions were put in place and consultation in place with local residents and businesses to ensure a smooth shoot for all parties involved.

Film Office director Dominic Reeve-Tucker says “It was a pleasure to work with the production on such as project. With Newham being a host borough and playing such as big role in 2012, Rio 2016 can build on the amazing foundations created at our home Olympics. The growth and development of Paralympic Sport will no doubt lead to Rio 2016 being a success. We were delighted to contribute and hope the games will leave an important legacy, both in terms of improved accessibility in public spaces and on public transport, and in changing perceptions towards people with a disability.”

Newham has multiple locations available for filming, and in this instance East Ham Town Hall provided the production with various areas for filming set-ups – including a careers office and a children’s classroom. As a working town hall it was important that filming did not disrupt the daily running but our management ensured this fantastic location could add to the commercial – even the Mayor gave up his parlour for the day!

Eddy Pearce (Location Manager) had this to say on filming:

This was one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs I’ve ever done but also one of the most logistically tricky. Pulling together multi location, multi cast shoots is always a challenge but training schedules for the parathletes and availability of other cast made this an enormous juggling act. Large parts of the shoot took place in East London – The Film Office and Excel were both incredibly helpful in accommodating some tricky location requests including closure of a fairly large road for the wheelchair sprint scene. The production value we achieved by combining some great locations with an inspired art department was huge and helped keep our schedule and location moves manageable. I’ve never felt so emotionally involved in a job and was very proud to have been part of shoot with such a positive message and such a stunningly feel-good result. It was a monumental team effort and I’m hugely grateful to all the locations and film offices who helped.

The Paralympics heads to South America for the first time in its 56-year history as the city of Rio de Janeiro plays host. Great Britain’s challenge will be boosted by a 43% increase in funding from UK Sport after finishing third in the medals table at London 2012. At The Film Office, we can’t wait to watch Team GB compete – and Channel 4’s We’re the Superhumans  trailer has got us even more excited for the games!

The Paralympics Opening Ceremony airs tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm.

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