Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has pledged a £4.5m cash injection to help the region’s TV and film industry following BBC support to help increase production.
The mayor working alongside the combined authority cabinet have yet to officially award funding for the programme. The decision, however, could be ratified later this week.
It’s hoped the move will attract more valuable investment producing good quality well paid jobs along the way. What’s more, a further aim is to attract, retain and develop talent within the sector.
Mayor Houchen previously provided a shot in the arm to Teesside’s film and TV training and production facilities by supporting the development of the Northern School of Art’s Northern Film and TV Studios with £3.8million – creating the North East’s first and only dedicated large-scale film and TV studios.
The popular leader was also responsible for securing a firm commitment from the BBC to invest £25m across the next five years last September to both encourage creative talent and fund TV production.
The North-East Screen Industries Partnership, made up of the region’s combined and local authorities, agreed to invest £11.4m over the same five-year period to deliver a new Screen Industries Development Programme.
Mayor Houchen said: “Ever since Ridley Scott filmed his first film ‘Boy and Bicycle’ in West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew our region has had a strong connection with film and TV production which has culminated in Hartlepool now being home to the only dedicated large-scale film and TV studios in the north-east.
“This funding will allow us to develop and nurture the existing industry and help create the jobs of the future. We have to be proactive and invest now to make the most of what the BBC is doing, as well as to attract other production to our area.
“Ultimately, this will help upskill and create opportunities for the creatives in our region but also, vitally, those hands-on crew members or electricians, engineers and make-up artists that could be involved at every level of production.
“As we’ve seen with films like 1917, that used our region for filming locations, it will help put Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool on the map and raise our profile for other big-name projects and also in the public eye.”
Asian Standard has learned the project will involve the scaling-up of the region’s screen agency, Northern Film and Media to deliver increased activity, alongside a production development and support fund. It seems certain the scheme will offer opportunities to further grow the skills needed in tv and film production.