Ever wondered how blockbuster films such as Harry Potter, Atonement, Indiana Jones, Elizabeth and 1917 chose the North East to film some of their scenes? Or how much-loved tv series such as Vera and children's favourite Dumping Ground are supported to film within the region?
Northern Film + Media (NFM) are the North East’s screen industries development agency with a key agenda about making the North East as attractive and accessible as it can be for high profile film and tv production. The organisation has been around for many years, we’re talking the days of regional development agency One North East and UK Film Council, when there was a huge importance put on filming in the UK. And there seems to be some sort of renaissance with filming in the UK booming. Now in a post-pandemic world, with film and tv production at an all-time high across the UK, plus a commitment from the BBC to push more of its productions into the nations and regions and to develop a north east voice, the work NFM do across the North East to position the region as an attractive offer to production companies big and small, global and local, is more important than ever. NFM work with every local authority within the North East and specific locations on what they call ‘filming friendly’. This status gives production companies the confidence to know that they will be supported in all aspects of their filming and time at the location. The production service team at NFM act as a mediator between production companies and locations to establish relationships and ensure both sides are happy with the proposals and arrangements ahead of filming. Filming in the North East brings many boosts to the economy, from tourism to jobs, as well as a sense of pride – who doesn’t love seeing our beautiful region in feature films and some of our most loved tv shows? Why should you put your business forward as a location? NFM’s Operations Director, Gayle Woodruffe, explains, “Being part of a production and seeing how it works is fascinating; especially when you see the final film – your property on the big screen. Better than that, productions usually compensate you financially for your time and the inevitable disruption. We are here to support location owners and representatives at every stage of production.” As well as its locations work, NFM also provide vital support to individuals, companies and SMEs looking to establish themselves in the industry as well as those who have been longstanding members of the screen industry. This is done through a number of projects including the successful ERDF funded Tees Valley Screen, North East Comedy Hot House, the NFM Crew Academy, Sizzle, Made In Britain, Producer Fast Track and Blueprint. The NFM Crew Academy is a unique structure which not only provides professional development to crew members from the region of all ages and stages of their career (from those fresh out of education to those who are well established and looking to progress further in their career), but also supports crew members in helping them find work on visiting and local productions. It provides a series of other support options including masterclasses with top industry experts, mentor schemes and advice workshops as well as running twice-yearly ‘bootcamps’ which help support newcomers to the industry with a series of fact-finding workshops. Jobs in the screen industry are wide-ranging and one thing NFM would love to see is more people looking to cross into the industry having gained experience in other sectors. Project managers and accountants are extremely important to productions, so if you feel you’ve got the skills to do this and fancy switching industry, get in touch with NFM via info@ northernmedia.org