Watch Films Shot Inside The Farmiloe Building Before It's Regenerated

By Stuart Black Last edited 104 months ago

Last Updated 16 November 2015

Watch Films Shot Inside The Farmiloe Building Before It's Regenerated
The Listeners Project screen films made in the Farmiloe before it's turned over for redevelopment.

Whether you’ve heard of it or not, you have definitely seen the Farmiloe Building. Christopher Nolan used it as a key location for both Inception and his Batman trilogy, while it’s also popped up in countless other big movies including Eastern Promises, Sherlock Holmes and most recently Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

It’s a curious Victorian block, on St John Street in Clerkenwell, quite noble from the outside but hardly that notable. Inside, however, it’s almost uniquely atmospheric with rooms in a variety of architectural styles, as well as large versatile spaces that can be convincingly transformed into a Gotham City police precinct or a safe house for Tom Cruise and his chums.

Sadly, the Farmiloe’s career in the limelight is almost over with a redevelopment scheme about to get underway that will turn the Grade II listed building, originally built to manufacture steel, glass and bathroom fixtures back in 1868, into a commercial office space with a slightly dull-looking extension on the side.

If any building was deserving of a proper send-off it’s this one. Enter The Listeners Project, an original initiative to record the last moments of architectural treasures like this one when they have been earmarked for regeneration. The idea is to send groups of filmmakers inside, with rooms or floors allocated at random, to see what kind of artistic responses they come up with.

“We wanted to do something that celebrated these changing spaces,” says Ben Lambert, one of the founders of the Listeners Project. “London, like any metropolis, changes fast and our idea is to take a pause and tell a story. The directors use the walls as a canvas to tell that story; though it’s not blank, these walls have a lot of character that inform their ideas.”

That means the resulting films could be conventional narratives or might be more experimental with movement and dance thrown into the mix. “Spontaneity is the key,” adds Lambert. “You have to not um and ah, but respond instinctively.”

Ben Lambert and Natasha Coleman of The Listeners Project.

The Listeners Project took over the Farmiloe in October and filmed there for four consecutive days. Then following a week of editing, the resulting four shorts were screened in the building and are now available here for the first time for you to watch:

Glass — from the basement at the Farmiloe, directed by Ben Lambert

Coupled — from the attic at the Farmiloe, directed by Jamie Sims

Fast Food — from the factory floor at the Farmiloe, directed by Phil Fisk

Deliverance — from the ground floor at the Farmiloe, directed by Oscar Hudson

Other buildings on the brink that the Listeners Project has visited and captured on film include the BBC Television Centre in White City, Swan Wharf in Hackney and a 70s block in Clapton known as number 18. You can see more on the website here or follow them on Twitter via the hashtag #wallswilllisten

To see more London Shorts click here.