July 18, 2019 @ 12:58 by Richard Dawson
The film and media industry in Hartlepool is set for a boost with a new development programme supported by the Tees Valley combined authority in partnership with Northern Film + Media.
Known as Tees Valley Screen, the project is being set up to support individuals and businesses that are looking to develop their skills within the film, television and moving image industry.
The new scheme aims to put on regular events and training to provide networking opportunities with industry experts and the chance to secure vital creative funding.
The initiative is expected to be run from Hartlepool’s new BIS centre: the £3 million Grade II Listed former Post Office building in Whitby Street, which makes up part of the Innovation and Skills Quarter revitalisation project that aims develop the town’s creative industries.
Mayor Ben Houchen said: “In the Tees Valley we have a fantastic heritage in the creative industries, with film directors Tony Scott and Sir Ridley Scott and artist Mackenzie Thorpe learning their craft at West Hartlepool College of Art.
“This heritage continues to inspire local people today, meaning we have a thriving and growing creative sector in the region that we should be proud of.
“Businesses involved within the creative industries play an important and growing role in our economy, which is why we’ve been investing to support creative enterprise across our region.
“We know the value that the film industry can bring, and that’s reflected in our ambitious agenda for economic growth in the Tees Valley.”
The Tees Valley region has itself played a starring role in a number of film and television productions including, Victoria, Inspector George Gently and even the odd Hollywood blockbuster, such as the film adaptation of Atonement.
The film industry contributed £6.1 billion to UK economy in 2016, according to the British Film Institute, an increase of 20 per cent from 2015.
Councillor Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted Tees Valley Screen is being established to support those in our region who work – or are looking to expand their work – within film, television and moving imagery.
“I’m particularly pleased it is anticipated this initiative will be run from the BIS, Hartlepool’s new £3m centre for the creative industries.”
John Tulip, managing director of Northern Film + Media, added: “We couldn’t be more delighted to expand Gateshead-based Northern Film + Media to a second outpost in Tees Valley.
“There’s an incredible opportunity being seized there to make the dynamic, creative and future-proof industry of film a hallmark of the region, and to enjoy the subsequent return on investment that will follow.
“We can’t wait to see what comes out of Tees Valley Screen.”