Over 500 film fans, young and old, flocked to the Littlewoods Film & Food Festival in Liverpool this weekend.
The charity event raised £2,000 for a local cause and celebrated how far the city has come in attracting blockbuster productions.
Social impact developers Capital&Centric teamed up with the Liverpool Film Office to throw open the doors of The Depot – the sound stages used for big-budget film and TV stages – to the public for the very first time.
Hundreds streamed through doors for an eclectic mix of the best street food, family-friendly attractions, a school-bus-turned-bar, DJs and the main events – screenings of the magical Matilda the Musical and comic book epic The Batman. The latter was filmed almost exclusively in the city, with the now famous shot of the caped crusader crouching atop the Royal Liver building.
All proceeds from tickets are being donated to the Unity Youth and Community Centre, which has been welcoming generations of young people through its doors for over 60 years.
It’s all part of Capital&Centric’s mission to repurpose the neighbouring Art Deco former Littlewoods building into a destination for TV and film. The celebration marked the end of the consultation period on detailed plans for the site, with a planning application now set to be drawn up and submitted to Liverpool City Council this summer.
John Moffat, Joint Managing Director at Capital&Centric, said, “We were over the moon to see the turnout for the Littlewoods Film & Food Fest – a massive thanks to everyone who came to have fun, support a great local cause and give us their opinion of our proposal for the redevelopment of the building. The team at Unity Youth and Community Centre have been a continued force for good in the community for decades, so it’s nice to be able to give them a boost.
“We really wanted the film fest to be a taste of things to come with the Littlewoods Project, enabling them to set foot into a film studio, and to get people excited about the building’s future and the opportunities that will be on their doorstep. Our plans include spaces that’ll be open to the local community, as well those working in the creative industries.
“Loads of people have got involved in our consultation on plans for the Project and the feedback has been super positive.”
Having already developed projects in the city including Bunker and Tempest, Capital&Centric are now working in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Liverpool City Council to bring forward the site, with work to clean up the building and prep the site for development set to start this summer.
The plans include renovation of the existing buildings to feature spaces such as offices, options for hotel rooms/accommodation for crew, an education facility, roof terrace with city views, as well as workshops and studio support facilities.
Two new 20,000 sq. ft studios will also be built on site adjacent to the existing buildings, providing space for big budget productions to film. A screening and performance zone set within the existing hangar will feature four cinema screens, a performance space and a food hall.
Capital&Centric is also proposing a lush, green courtyard for the community, with a link through to the neighbouring Botanic Gardens.