We started making student recruitment films for universities and colleges back in 2005 when only 25% of universities featured any video content on their websites at all, and even those were little more than the size of a postage stamp.
We also started operating our first film studio (in Deptford) that year so we were able to offer a wide range of content from the word go. We also started out as we meant to go on, investing in our in-house team of filmmakers and creatives rather than relying too heavily on a freelance model. It meant that we could build our insight and expertise in the education and non-profit sectors.
Our first home on the building’s top floor next to Creekside, Deptford (2005)
Studio shoot at Deptford in (2006)
Our reputation had a massive boost when we won the IVCA Award (2008) for recruitment with Durham University against stiff competition from large corporates who traditionally dominated the sector. By the end of that year we had 25 university clients including many in the Russell Group.
Alongside our growing portfolio of university clients, we have produced pro bono work every year for local charities. Some of our projects saw disadvantaged young people involved in the filmmaking process, like Georgina Studd who overcame her cerebral palsy condition to win at the First Light Movie Awards (2008).
Filming with Perri Shakes-Drayton, Brunel University (2012)
Our continued growth meant the business had to find larger premises and we relocated to the centre of London with a much larger studio complex based on Webber Street. As well as making content for universities and the non-profit sector, we were increasingly producing high-end films and cinema / TV advertising for leading brands and creative agencies.
Amongst many highlights was our work for BMW, a Tier 1 sponsor of the London Olympics 2012, which saw us interview each of the UK medal winners. Separately that year, we also filmed with athletes Usain Bolt and Perri Shakes-Drayton for Brunel University and the following year, Adam Gemili for University of East London.
The studios started to function as a business within a business and were branded Waterloo Film Studios where clients increasingly included the major broadcasters like the BBC and ITV. As the company grew to some 40 members of staff, for the first time we were able to adopt an agency approach and set up a creative department solely dedicated to script writing, graphics and animation.
Whilst our list of charity clients grew to include the National Trust, Marie Curie and Macmillan Cancer Support, we forged new working relationships to support local charities that included the Webber Street Mission and The Fostering Network. In 2014 we were proud to start our first film project for Tusk Trust which sees us filming across African countries each year to tell the inspirational stories of award-winning conservation projects.
Our studio premesis Webber Street, Waterloo
KENNINGTON 2015 – PRESENT
When the studio building at Waterloo was earmarked for residential development we had to find a new home. We moved a mile up the road to Kennington and into a vacant studio that was once used for Richard and Judy and The Paul O’Grady Show. We installed two new studios and a number of edit suites, and this media complex is still our home.
Our education and charity business was becoming more and more specialised and at the beginning of 2018 it became a limited company in its own right. Maia Films, as we are today, is part of the Kennington Creative Group which also includes the studio business alongside a separate brand agency and TV production company
Our present studio building, 373 Kennington Road, Kennington
Whilst the briefs have become more varied and complex, student recruitment understandably remains a constant priority for universities. Beyond this, we have seen increased demand for eLearning projects and our ability to combined studio and production services has really come into its own. Improved streaming speeds and remote interactivity, as well as our considerable experience, are beginning to prove an attractive mix in difficult times.
Despite the Covid pandemic we have been able to continue our work, albeit by producing projects with an emphasis on animations, virtual events, user generated content and re-edits of archive materials. Whilst most staff have been working from home wherever possible, we have also continued to operate the studios with strict hygiene protocols and daily testing in place. We are immensely grateful for the continued support and loyalty of our valued clients throughout such a challenging period and like most people, can’t wait to get back to something approaching normality. For us, this means getting back to meeting our clients again face to face, and filming for them on location once more.
Filming a dramatised sequence for the Adam Bell Foundation (2016)
Interview with Ian Stevenson by the Zambezi River for Tusk Trust (2017)