Boost for Bottle Yard Studios as special effects and makeup firms join its creative community

Two more businesses – one of the UK’s leading special effects firms and a newly launched professional film and TV makeup stockist – have taken up residence at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios’ creative hub.

MTFX, which has its headquarters in Gloucester, produces special effects for TV, film and events ranging from snow, fire and wind to pyrotechnics, while The Makeup Kit is a professional stockist of makeup and hair products supplying designers working in TV, film and theatre. 

Their arrival brings the total number of companies based at the a former wine warehouse and bottling plant in Hengrove to more than 20, further bolstering the significance of the studios as a regional centre for creative industry businesses.

MTFX managing director and founder Mark Turner is an experienced pyrotechnician and special effects designer with a Diploma in Pyrotechnics and qualified in special effects explosives safety.

He employs a team of eight making specialised equipment to create bespoke effects across pyrotechnics, pneumatics, hydraulics, aquatics, electronics, lighting and sound.

The company has already worked on a number of productions based at The Bottle Yard Studios, including Poldark (BBC One), Deadly Dinosaurs (CBBC), The White Princess (STARZ/UKTV Drama) and Trollied (Sky1).

Other recent TV credits include The Grand Tour (Amazon Originals), Call the Midwife (BBC One) and Casualty (BBC One). Live event credits include Miranda Hart’s UK Tour, Royal Shakespeare Company and English National Opera productions, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games, 2015 FA Cup Final, 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2014 Winter Olympics. The opening of MTFX’s Bristol branch continues a year of expansion including setting up an office in Cardiff this summer.

Mark said: “In 25 years of delivering internationally renowned special effects, I’m proud to say that MTFX has become one of the biggest local providers of snow, pyrotechnics, wind, rain and everything in between. Our work in Bristol and the South West has always been an important hub.

“As our workload and reputation in the region has steadily increased, with many projects based at The Bottle Yard, we’ve decided to commit to the site with a convenient and practical onsite facility that will enable us to provide better service for our customers.

“We look forward to continuing to offer Ingenious Special Effects to all productions at The Bottle Yard from our new branch, complete with comfortable meeting space and storage for tools and equipment.”

The Makeup Kit has been co-founded by professional makeup and hair designers Pamela Haddock and Louise Fisher as a professional stockist of makeup and hair products supplying designers working in TV, film and theatre.

The pair have worked on an impressive number of titles during established careers spanning more than 30 years and their joint credits include upcoming AMC drama The Terror (due for UK release in 2018), Poldark (BBC One), The White Princess (STARZ) and feature film The Adventurer.

Pamela has been Emmy-nominated for her work on The White Princess (STARZ), Black Sails (STARZ), Agatha Christie’s last ever Poirot: The Curtain (ITV) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (BBC), and BAFTA nominated for her work on The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby (Channel 4).

The pair launched the new business together after seeing a gap in the market for a pro makeup supplier based in the South of England outside of London. As well as professional film & TV makeup, powders, brushes, tools and hair supplies, The Makeup Kit also stocks the full range of special effects products required by designers, including artificial tears and perspiration, teeth staining, bloods, glues, hair, as well as silicone modelling to simulate 3D wounds and scars.

Pamela said: “We’ve been aware for some time that designers working in the West or in Wales have had to travel all the way in to London to view products before buying, so we were keen to meet the demand for a pro makeup and hair store outside of the capital in the South.

“Our new Bristol HQ is conveniently based for designers working in the area needing to browse or source specialist products fast. We deliver to any location in the UK and overseas and buyers can of course order through our online shop, but it’s fantastic to have our physical base here at The Bottle Yard alongside other companies in an environment where production is happening all around us.”

Louise added: “Makeup and hair is a demanding creative discipline, designers have to be ready to solve all sorts of problems on set or stage immediately. We’re launching with a range of bespoke Place Boxes and Set Bags designed to our own specification, which we know are ideal for transporting equipment and keeping it to hand all the time whilst working on a shoot.”

Earlier this year Bristol Costume Services and film/TV industry healthcare specialists MRU Services moved to The Bottle Yard Studios. The site now offers a host of services spanning creative, digital, technical and audio/visual expertise to grips, transport, structural, fire and safety assistance.

Site director Fiona Francombe said: “It’s been another busy year of growth within our tenant community, with five new businesses moving in over the past 12 months. The arrival of MTFX and The Makeup Kit further bolsters our offering to productions by bringing two new specialisms onto site.

“We’re always keen to support new ventures alongside established companies that excel in their field; what all our tenants share is their high level of professionalism, accompanied by a passion to be located here in the heart of Bristol’s thriving production industry.”

A Bristol City Council initiative, The Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated studio facility in the West of England. Some 380 FTE jobs were generated on site in 2016, 83% (315) of which were filled by crew working on productions and 16% (60) created by the creative hub of business tenants providing specialist production services on site.

Almost 65% of posts created benefited Bristol’s local workforce.

Pictured: Top, the MTFX team operate a flame thrower. Middle, MTFX brought snow to The Bottle Yard for the filming of Trollied. Bottom,  Louise Fisher and Pamela Haddock of The Makeup Kit

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