The BBC has announced that four North East based indies will be supported through their £1.5m Small Indie Fund, providing a huge boost for the screen sector in the region. 

Candle & Bell (Gateshead), MCC Media (Sunderland), Schnoobert Productions (Newcastle) and Wander Films (Middlesbrough) will all receive strategic investment and regular mentoring from a BBC commissioning editor.  

The £1.5m Fund was launched in 2020 to support the development of small independent production companies with turnovers below £10m across Drama, Entertainment, Comedy, Factual, Daytime, Children’s, and this year, BBC Film. 

North East Screen’s Development Director, Lisa Laws, said: 

“Once again, our North East based indies are making an impression with the BBC, and it’s great to see these four companies winning BBC Small Indie Fund Awards. This award will provide them with the time to build and strengthen relationships with commissioners and get a real understanding of BBC Daytime, Peak-time or Comedy audiences to hone their pitches and improve chances of winning commission opportunities.  

“We are seeing the impact on the companies who were recipients last year: some have either moved into paid development or have won commissions thanks to the support they received.” 

Jason Cook, Founder of Schnoobert Productions, based in Newcastle, said:  

“We are over the moon to once again be selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. Last year’s fund was so vital in our growth as a company and we are looking forward to working closely with BBC Comedy to keep this (slightly unsteady) rocket on trajectory together.” 

Maria Caruana Galizia, Producer and Managing Director of Candle & Bell said: 

“We’re very grateful to the BBC for their investment in Candle & Bell. It’s great to be working with Emma Lawson [BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor] and the BBC Comedy team for a second year in a row. Being recipients of the Small Indie Fund last year opened many doors for us, so we’re looking forward to building on the successes of 2023 which included two script commissions and an audio commission. We’re hoping for a bigger and better 2024!” 

Lou Tonner, Co-Founder of Wander Films said:  

“We are stoked to be selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. This is an incredible opportunity for Wander to continue to grow. We’ve had a few cool wins over the past couple of months and it’s class to have the BBC on our side! We owe a huge thanks to the guys at North East Screen for providing us access to such a strong support network.” 

Paul McCoy, CEO of MCC Media said: 

“MCC Media are delighted to have been selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. This helps to further cement our relationship with the BBC as we start working more on the factual side as well as kids and family. We hope that this opportunity will help our growth plans for 2024, and for what is gearing up to be a busy year for the North East production scene and beyond.” 

North East Screen provides support to regional based independent production companies, as well as those looking to set up a North East base, through a variety of programmes to help them develop their products and services. For more information about these programmes, contact the Talent and Business Development: talent@northeastscreen.org  

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