Pact and North East Screen joint initiative – Future North East – names its ten participating indies aiming to fast track them to global businesses.

Pact and North East Screen have announced the ten ambitious North East indies who are the beneficiaries of their supercharged development programme, Future North East, following an in-depth selection process by a panel of leading UK TV and film industry experts.

Future North East is based on Pact’s successful Future30 scheme – which launched in 2021 as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations – and is designed to identify promising indies in the North East and unlock their potential to grow as global businesses.

The ten successful indies are: Gateshead-based Candle & Bell, Motif, TwentySix-03 and Signpost Productions; Newcastle-based Schnoobert Productions, Northern Child and Try Life; Sunderland-based MCC Media; Hartlepool-based Sea & Sky Pictures; and Middlesbrough-based Wander Films.

The two-year scheme gives each indie a tailored leadership and development programme with access to leading industry experts, led by Pact’s Managing Director of Business Development & Global Strategy, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE, providing them with the tools to grow their business ambitions.

Commenting on the successful companies, Lisa Laws, North East Screen’s Head of Talent and Business Development, said:

“The ten chosen companies have already grabbed attention from broadcasters, distributors and potential co-producers. Between them they present a diverse, active slate, and a real desire to grow inclusive companies that deliver global screen content across a range of platforms to current and future markets.

“Future North East builds on North East Screen’s working relationship with Pact, and is going to energise and connect these companies to experts that will enable them to move to the next level.

“We all share a common goal of making the North East a place where sustainable, world class film and TV companies thrive. What makes this a very special group is that they are all backing each other for success and supporting one another to make a difference making sure our region a great place for talent to live and work.”

Pact’s Managing Director of Business Development & Global Strategy, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE, said:

“It’s great to see such talent coming through the North East and a good sign for the future of the British screen sector. Well done to the successful applicants and we look forward to working with them over the next two years to help them develop their businesses.”

Maria Caruana Galizia, Managing Director at Candle & Bell said:

“I’m delighted to be part of Future North East. It’s a really exciting time for Candle & Bell as well as the wider film and tv industry in the region, and it’s great to have the support from PACT and North East Screen as we look to grow as a company. The entire cohort of producers on Future NE are all incredibly talented and experienced, and we’re thrilled to be part of the scheme.”

Paul Irwin, Director of Try Life said:

“Being part of this scheme has come at the perfect time for us as we move into the next phase as a business. The support from Pact and North East Screen is exactly the kind of support we need as we finalise a handful of commissions. Networking with the other nine companies and all working together to bring success to the region is extremely exciting.”

Andrew Eastel, Creative Director at Northern Child said:


“Northern Child are delighted to have been accepted onto the Future North East scheme, and very grateful for the opportunity. There is huge potential for a thriving TV industry in this region but that starts with sustaining and growing businesses like ours and the other indies on the scheme – all of which are led by super-talented local creatives who will be hugely successful given this kind of support.”

James Craggs, Co-Founder of Motif said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be selected as one of the companies to benefit from the Future North East initiative. It’ll be an amazing two years which will help us improve every facet of our company. We’re at the start of our journey now and having access to PACT as well as a network of other North East-based companies to grow with will be of huge benefit.”

Adam Bouabda, Founder of Sea & Sky Pictures said:

“It’s fantastic to be supported by PACT and North East Screen. As a self-confessed ‘Cowboy’ of this industry, it’s very important that someone has got our back and can guide us through the building of the business so that we can focus on being creative. PACT has been a great resource for us in the past and with this programme, it will take us to the next level as a production company.”

Gareth Deighan, Creative Director at Signpost Productions said:

“Everyone at Signpost Productions is very excited that we have been named as one of the companies on the Future North East scheme. We are delighted to be among the other exciting North East-based companies who were also selected. We’re really looking forward to learning lots and continuing to grow.

The cohort have already come together in person for an introduction to the programme, with more bespoke support planned for the forthcoming months including peer-to-peer sessions, introductions to commissioners, and strategy building workshops.

As the screen industries continues to grow in the North East under the steer of North East Screen, regional indies will be a vital piece of the jigsaw in creating a sustainable industry and ensuring there are opportunities for people wanting to work in film and TV in the North East.

Click here to learn more about the companies selected.

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