The creative industries are a major pillar to Wales’s key sectors – and with good reason. The Welsh screen sector has seen unprecedented growth in recent years thanks to the country’s breath-taking natural landscapes and historic settings, impressive infrastructure, government support and a strong creative supply chain supported by 56,000 Welsh film sector employees.
A booming creative industry sector
The nation has become known as a thriving centre for TV and film production, with the latest Gov.wales report revealing that film and TV production in Wales saw a turnover of £575 million in 2021, a 36% increase from the year before. Government investment in filmmaking through organisations such as Creative Wales has boosted the country’s economic output by nine-fold in recent years and has set the stage for a variety of productions from homegrown TV dramas, shot in both Welsh and English, to Hollywood blockbusters.
With a combined 822,705 square feet of shooting space split across the country’s seven studios, Wales has nurtured a wealth of screen creations and attracted some of the biggest players in production such as Lucasfilm and NBCUniversal.
It’s not just the rugged backdrops and stretching coastlines that have attracted iconic names such as Disney+ with Willow in 2022; Netflix with the hit show Sex Education; and iconic scenes from The Crown from 2019; as well as national treasures like Doctor Who and Sherlock. Film and TV crews are also keen to take advantage of the country’s world-class infrastructure, with its cutting-edge technology and a variety of flexible spaces that can be adapted for any setting.
Bringing big-budget brands to Newport
ICC Wales, Newport’s purpose-built conference centre, has earned its reputation as a unique filming location thanks to its versatility and adaptability, and has generated £1.2m in economic value for the region. The venue has secured multiple repeat filming business wins, cementing its reputation as a reliable partner in the industry and attracting global giants in the TV and film sector to South Wales.
From large studios to versatile foyers, bars and meeting rooms, and from ancient woodland to an outdoor plaza, the venue offers an abundance of spaces for all types of filming, and has already featured within a variety of dramas, live audience TV shows and advertisements, including His Dark Materials, The One, A Discovery of Witches, as well as the popular BBC series The War of The Worlds.
One of ICC Wales’s standout features is the atrium with its modern design, natural daylight, and a vast open layout that can easily be transformed into an airport terminal. The space has been used in both high-profile films and popular television shows such as the longstanding British drama series Casualty and Channel 4 thriller The Undeclared War. With its filming base in nearby Cardiff, Casualty also taken advantage of the venue’s main hall, which serves as the ideal blank canvas for hospital scenes.
Why ICC Wales?
ICC Wales’ ability to transform its spaces into diverse settings, coupled with its direct site access for trucks and production set unloading, has made ICC Wales a magnet for filmmakers looking for efficiency and convenience.
As a joint venture between Welsh Government and Celtic Manor, ICC Wales is also committed to nurturing local talent and fostering artistic expression. ICC Wales’s role as a hub for location filming bolsters the creative ecosystem in Wales, providing a platform for budding filmmakers to gain valuable experience and connect with industry professionals.
For Welsh viewers, seeing homages to their homeland featured in international productions fosters a sense of civic pride and identity, supporting the notion that the power of the events sector is more than merely meetings: it’s a driving force of change in society.
To find out more about filming locations, visit the ICC Wales website.