Heritage film set : the protection and care of historic filming locations

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Flynn, Clare (2016)
  • Publisher: The University of Edinburgh
  • Subject: Historic Filming Location; Conservation; Historic properties

Taking part in filming can offer considerable benefits to the historic properties involved, including increased visitor numbers, public awareness, and funding that can facilitate the ongoing care and conservation of the featured properties. However, film shoots are also intrusive events that introduce serious threats to the historic built fabric of these properties. This dissertation will investigate how the conservation integrity of heritage sites and properties is maintained when film shoots take place in such materially vulnerable locations. Its primary focus will be production activity in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where a high concentration of film shoots occur in a wide range of heritage sites. This study is organized into four chapters. Chapter One explores why location filming has become a common practice in the film industry by summarizing its history and presenting an overview of the benefits that it offers both to production companies and to the featured properties. Chapter Two provides a practical guide to the types, causes, and effects of threats that filming introduces to the historic built fabric and describes potential methods to prevent or mitigate these threats. Chapter Three explores how the protection of a heritage site may be managed within the context and structure of the established filming process. Chapter Four presents real-life examples of recent filming activity in historic properties through an examination of two selected case studies: the use of the Irish World Heritage Site, Skellig Michael, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII and Scotland’s Doune Castle in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones. Two additional case studies from Downton Abbey, a glossary of relevant film terminology, sample documents, and interview transcripts have been provided in the Appendices.
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