Sue Hayes, Former London Film Commissioner and Edinburgh TV Festival Director, Dies at 69

Sue Hayes, former film commissioner at Film London and director at the Edinburgh TV Festival, died last week of cancer. She was 69.

Hayes was part of the founding management team of screen industries agency Film London, working from 2000 to 2009 as film commissioner and then heading the organization’s location services. She was a key figure in the establishment of the London Filming Partnership and was instrumental in London becoming a go-to location for international productions.

Hayes was also instrumental in growing The Location Guide (TLG), producing the annual international locations conference and exhibition Focus and the Movers & Shakers awards.

Previously, she had stints as a producer with Channel 4, ITV, Granada TV, The History Channel and AETN.

Hayes’ friends and colleagues at the TLG, Focus and the Makers & Shakers awards team penned a moving tribute to her, describing her as a “total joy to work with.”

“For many, Sue was an unofficial mentor and supporter,” they wrote. “She picked people up, listened, guided and advised, and then introduced them to others and got them involved in projects. She did it all in her own unique way. Sue was kind, big hearted, generous and fun — and gave her attention fully and authentically to people. Naturally, people responded back to her and would do whatever she asked. In fact, it was hard to say no to Sue — people enjoyed her company as well as the energy and intellectual enquiry she brought to projects, and wanted to be involved with whatever she was doing.”

“Sue had been ill for some time, but she never complained to us, and indeed few knew she was ill. Even for those who did know, she would steer the conversation to ask about them rather than talk about herself,” they added.

“It’s fair to say Sue has made a massive impact on everybody’s lives at TLG, and on thousands of people in the wider industry. Sue was truly a mighty woman.”

Meanwhile, Film London CEO Adrian Wootton described Hayes as “a crucial member of the senior management team in the very earliest days of Film London.”

“She was a phenomenal champion of our industry and a much respected and loved colleague. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. I know I speak for our board, senior management, staff past and present, as well as our stakeholders and partners, in expressing how truly saddened we are by her passing, and extending our thoughts and deepest condolences to her family and friends. We look forward to a moment where we can celebrate her life and contribution more appropriately.”

Hayes is survived by her husband Rod, and her sons Charlie and Luke.

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