Sony says that fire crews are still at its wrecked DVD and CD factory in Enfield, north London. Smoke levels are preventing surveyors from getting in and assessing damage. Rioters broke in to the Sony DADC Distribution Centre on Monday night and set it ablaze. The studio, which handles physical DVD distribution for indie UK distributors and record companies, says that 25 million discs have been lost in the arson attack. Disney Games titles as well as Sony’s own discs have been hit by the blaze. Sony is remanufacturing 1.5 million discs that need to be shipped urgently from its manufacturing sites elsewhere in the UK and Austria. It is sending out more discs out direct from its UK manufacturing site to reduce shipping delays. And other home-entertainment distributors have also pitched in offering to help.
Indie UK distributors who have also lost stock in the Sony fire include Artificial Eye, Dogwoof, the BFI and Metrodome.
Artificial Eye says that it has lost all of its stock for more than 300 catalogue titles. “Although this may cause supply problems in the short term, we’ve been impressed by the speed at which Sony have put their contingency plans into action, so disruption should be kept to a minimum. Stock is insured,” says Steve Lewis, Artificial Eye’s home entertainment manager. Artificial Eye DVD titles destroyed include Winter’s Bone, Ken Loach’s Route Irish and Oscar nominee Of Gods and Men. Dogwoof, another UK indie distributor, has lost around 50,000 DVDs including docs Restrepo, Food Inc and The Age of Stupid. “I am very confident that any losses will be covered by Sony’s insurance, who are handling this in such an amazing way,” says Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas. The BFI has lost more than 120,000 DVD and Blu-ray discs. And Metrodome has lost of its DVD stock. This month’s releases had not yet been shipped to Enfield and being sent direct to retailers from its duplication facility, Metrodome says.
Scotland Yard says three male teenagers have been arrested over the fire. Police say two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old are accused of violent disorder and arson. Two remain in custody, while a 17-year-old has been bailed.
Manchester, home of the BBC’s new Media City complex and where ITV shoots soap opera Coronation Street, was hit by rioting in the city centre on Tuesday night. Vision + Media, the regional screen agency, tells me no drama crews have been affected by the disturbances. Projects shooting in the Manchester area include Sky’s new drama Hit and Miss, starring Chloe Sevigny, and the UK version of Shameless. Police warned on Tuesday afternoon that there might be trouble. Happily nobody has been doing night shoots in the city centre this week.
Film London, the organisation which handles filming in the capital, declined to say whether any film or TV production has been hit by riots. All Film London would say is that it has been working with the Metropolitan Police and London Borough Film Offices. The agency has advised all productions filming on location to exercise caution.
Ealing Studios, the venerable west London studio where Downton Abbey is filmed, was broken into on Tuesday night with some flat-screen TVs stolen. Simon George, Ealing’s director of operations, tells me security has been doubled for the time being, with patrol patterns changed.
What nobody knows is whether this week’s riots are over for good, or if this is a temporary lull. British police are being allowed to use water cannons and rubber bullets if trouble flares up again. Bobby Cochrane, Vision + Media film office manager, warns that trouble might not be over: “No-one know if we’re going to get any more flare-ups before the weekend.”