On Tuesday in the heart of London, North East Screen was in the spotlight as it launched its multi-million pound Production Fund to a room full of screen industries movers and shakers. The fund is set to transform the North East and attract more production companies and filmmakers to film in the region hot on the heels of much anticipated studio development plans. 

North East talent and locations have starred on screens in recent years with major feature films such as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and 1917, as well as much loved TV drama Vera and children’s show The Dumping Ground, all choosing the North East to act as a backdrop.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director at North East Screen said,

“We’ve got world class talent, exciting studio developments, an emerging infrastructure and now a Production Fund to supercharge the screen industry in the North East. We will attract more high-end TV productions, feature films and returning series to the region, providing more jobs and opportunities for regional and re-locating crew.”

Piloted in early 2023, the North East Production Fund has so far funded three very different productions: feature film JACKDAW from Tees Valley-born Director, Jamie Childs, and Anton Corp; unscripted children’s TV show, Cooking with the Gills, from Sunderland-based MCC Media, for Milkshake; and highly-anticipated drama, The Red King, from Quay Street Productions for UKTV.

Speaking of the support they have received from the Production Fund, Samantha McMillion, Chief Operating Officer at Quay Street Productions said,

“The support we have received from North East Screen through the Production Fund has been extraordinary. The team at North East Screen strive to work as a partner to production and have ensured that communication, and their approach, is collaborative throughout. Their team has been fantastic to work with and I would encourage other productions to seriously consider filming in the North East.

“Being able to provide jobs for local people, support trainees from the region and contribute to the continued growth of the industry in the North East is something we really value at Quay Street.”

Feature film JACKDAW is Tees Valley-born Jamie Childs’ directorial debut, shot in and around the area he grew up in. He said,

“I come from a northern colliery village and I’ve always wanted to make things here. The film shows off the North East in a very stylised and fictional way and allowed me and the great cast and crew to just have fun filming it.”

Delivered by regional screen agency, North East Screen, on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), the discretionary fund looks to support scripted and unscripted film and TV productions from both indigenous companies and incoming productions with grants being made between £50,000 up to £500,000. All applications are judged by an independent panel of industry experts following a rigorous application process.  

NESIP is the ambitious partnership of all 12 local and combined authorities across North East England investing in growing the screen industry, driving inward investment and creating local jobs. North East Screen is delivering this groundbreaking programme to grow a thriving screen ecosystem which includes a hands-on film office service and significant skills and talent support. In a tough economic environment the North East is both ready to invest in productions ready to shoot immediately, but also interested in having conversations about development opportunities which best showcase the talent and beauty of the region with even more funding opportunities on the horizon. Productions should complete an Expression of Interest at www.northeastscreen.org/project/production-fund.

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