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The Past, Present & Future: 50 Years of Park Village


Park Village's managing director Tom Webb chats about the company and aspirations for the future

The Past, Present & Future: 50 Years of Park Village

Kurupt FM crew / ‘People Just Do Nothing’

To celebrate its 50th year, Park Village's managing director Tom Webb sits down to discuss the history, transformations, hosting Ad Net Zero's Global Summit and what the future holds.

Q> Park Village has undergone a massive transition in the past couple of years. Can you tell us more about this?

Tom I think a production company should always be transitioning, but I would definitely say that we have really accelerated that transition here over the past few years. That is in part connected to the speed of the changes happening within the industry itself, but more so it’s driven by our own desire to progress from the traditional model that we were born out of. This progression has led to the launch of our stills department and events arm (Room 6) to compliment the original film production. As ever, our creative community is key and we’ve focused a lot on finding fresh, exciting and diverse directors and photographers, building on the likes of Studio Birthplace, Freshteh and more recently welcoming GoshDamn and Ian Derry.  We have a new management team on board with Adam Booth and Jack Webb and an awesome sales team in the form of Nicci Clark and Savannah Seymour, so it’s a very exciting time for us. I like to think of us as having the heritage and experience of an established company, but with the energy and mindset of a start up.

Q> Park Village is probably known for its incredible heritage, award winning work and unique studios. How has that developed over time?

Tom> The heritage is something we are very proud of. So many incredibly talented creative people have been responsible for so many wonderful award winning projects here over the years, and it’s important to us to keep the Park VIllage spirit alive. Whilst we love our heritage and the fascinating story behind the company, we are also very aware that a long history can be a double edged sword in an industry that is always looking for the next cool thing. We have to keep pushing to remain relevant. On top of the talent, we have also been working on diversifying our output to be a more integrated offering. Historically we would have been reliant on film production, now we are working on 360 campaigns where we produce the film, the stills, surrounding content and even product launches or events all under the same roof. Having had the physical studio space since the 70’s, which may have previously sat empty when we were shooting on location, it made complete sense to open up the building as a creative hub and to invite in friends and colleagues from the creative world. As the studios became busier with our own shoots, events, and that of others, it also meant we needed to develop and upgrade all of the facilities to support that volume of work. The key need was to tread the fine balance between maintaining the special character of the building, (which is what people seem to fall in love with) and evolving with a set up that is more adaptable and able to service the multiple arms of the business. But it remains home to our community of talent, and we insist on an open door policy which ensures creatives and artists feel at home. Organisations like Frieze art fair keep coming back, not just for the facilities, but for the steeped history of creativity.

PlayStation Launch

Studio Wayne McGregor x BMW - Frieze London 2021

Q> You are now hosting events such as Ad Net Zero Global Summit. How did this come about?

Tom> The studio has always been a space we want to keep open to the industry, and to utilise as much as possible. It’s a privilege to have had the building as our home for so long. While we were talking to Ad Net Zero, we found out they were looking for a UK space for the summit, so it felt natural to offer the studios. We were also going through a significant eco audit at the time and Ad Net Zero were founding the steering committee. I think they could see that we were already taking positive steps to address our sustainability so it felt like not only could we be an important voice for the group, we could also be a venue for the summit. It allowed our team to test and showcase our hybrid event capabilities, having 200 plus live delegates in the studios with multiple audio / visual streams broadcasting real time around the world.

Ad Net Zero Global Summit 2022

Q> How important is sustainability to PV and how do you do your best to champion this?

Tom> In the 70s, 80s & 90s there was little, if any, awareness about the impact of film production on the environment, so having been around for 50 years, we feel we are as responsible as any company to start putting sustainability first. We bolstered our efforts with a full scale eco audit in 2019, looking at absolutely every detail of the business and how we can take steps to address areas that needed attention. Amongst many initiatives, we have switched all of our studio energy to renewable supplies and we are installing natural ventilation (rather than air-con) throughout the building this year. Examples like this allow us to focus our collective knowledge of best practice on the details of our productions, and if we have a part to play in the development of the creative then we try to ensure that the environmental implications of the script are taken into account from the beginning. Our recent work for Woolmark is a great example of us having had the influence with the client and agency to ensure we were doing all we can across an end to end process. From the inception of the directors idea, through the shoot and right down to the post, delivery and even OOH, the environment was considered at every stage. The closer we work with clients and agencies throughout the process, the more we are able to take responsibility as sustainability guardians.

Q> You have been part of some of the best environmental campaigns of the last year with Studio Birthplace 'Wasteminster' which won a ton of awards and more recently 'Woolmark'. Would you say this is a reflection of the work and talent you want PV to represent?

'Wasteminster' Studio Birthplace

Tom> Yes, absolutely, those campaigns are the most rewarding because they are driving behavioural change in an attempt to make a positive difference. Whilst environmental campaigns are close to our hearts, actually the current wave of positive messaging across diversity, social issues and climate are all areas we want to try and make an impact. Our recent work for Absolut on LGBTQ+ issues, expertly directed by Freshteh, a Swedish-Iranian female director, is another good example of the type of work we want to be doing. Working with talent that are committed to driving the agenda and tackling meaningful projects is really important to us, and while creativity is always the key attraction to any script, we want to actively continue to seek out clients and agencies that are like minded in the pursuit of doing incredible work, with a positive message.

Olly Alexander of Years&Years for Absolut directed by Freshteh

Q> It’s Park Village's 50th birthday next year. How do you plan to celebrate?

Tom> A big party is definitely in order and we’ve already started planning but the difficult question is the guest list, because obviously we want to invite everyone we can from the past 50 to celebrate with us! Luckily we have the luxury of the perfect party venue of course, and the building comes alive when it’s packed with industry revellers, so we’re definitely looking forward to it. Watch this space!

Peter Webb, director and founder of Park Village

Q> Are there any stand out specific moments you’d like to mention in those 50 years?


  • The famous Sticky Fingers Album shoot is always up there, mainly because it marked the start of our creative journey. For any studio having the Rolling Stones as a first client is pretty unbeatable. But also with the negatives having been lost for over 40 years and then unearthed in an attic, it’s sort of a fairytale story that thankfully had a positive ending, and allowed us to exhibit the original prints in the space they were shot.

L-R: Sticky Fingers Shoot & Mick Jagger

  • A  photo shoot with Johnny Depp a couple of years back that took a couple of twists and turns and turned into an incredible day (and night) was a personal highlight of mine!
  • More recently though, being recognised at all of the major awards for our stand out work for Greenpeace, felt like reinforcement that still, 50 years after the company’s inception, we continue to develop top tier directors and produce exceptional work that gets noticed, and that is something I’m incredibly proud of.

Johnny Depp with image from The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers shoot

Q> What does the future hold for Park Village?

Tom> We’ve just had our first broadcast documentary green lit to start shooting this year. Long form development is certainly an area we’ve been keen to explore for sometime, so this reasonably prompt success is very encouraging for us. We’re investing in the premises and facilities to allow us to pursue more broadcast and potentially feature opportunities. With the boom in streaming platforms coupled with the desire of our talent to make original creative, we’re excited to see where this journey takes us. Whatever the future holds we just want to make sure we remain true to the values of the legendary creatives that founded the company all those years ago…

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Park Village, Tue, 31 Jan 2023 13:15:41 GMT