A multi-million pound package for the region’s TV and film industry has been signed by the leaders.
The North East Screen Industries Partnership – made up of the combined councils and authorities of the North East – has agreed to inject £11.4million into a new five-year scheme.
The move comes after the BBC agreed to invest £25m over the period to fund TV production and nurture talent in the region.
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Details were not discussed at the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) cabinet on Friday – but £4.5m funding for the push was approved in a meeting lasting less than nine minutes.
Reports from the decision show the new scheme aims to attract more foreign investment into the industry – with plans to develop the region’s film industry through the Northern Film and Media agency.
The document prepared for the meeting showed that the first year of a three-year project with the agency saw £1.4million spent visiting productions in the Tees Valley in 2019 – with 62 days of filming.
Outside Friday’s meeting, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said Teesside had a strong connection to industry.
The Tory Mayor added: ‘Since Ridley Scott shot his first film ‘Boy and Bicycle’ in West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew, our area has had a strong connection to film and television production which has resulted in what Hartlepool is now home to. the only major dedicated small film and television studios in the Northeast.
“This funding will allow us to grow and support existing industry and help create the jobs of tomorrow.
“We need to be proactive and invest now to get the most out of what the BBC is doing, as well as attracting other productions to our area.
“Ultimately, this will help to improve skills and create opportunities for creatives in our region, but also, vitally, for team members or electricians, engineers and makeup artists who may be involved at all production levels.”
The Tees Barrage has been a popular location with film crews in recent years.
And the metro mayor hoped it would help get more airtime in the area.
Mr Houchen added: “As we have seen with films like 1917, which have used our area for filming locations, this will help put Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool on the map and increase our visibility for further other big-name projects and also in the public eye.
“The BBC announcement will provide a welcome boost to our TV and film industries – not just creatives, but everyone in the supply chain.
“We’ve got the companies, we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the infrastructure in our fantastic northern film and TV studios, but we can’t rely on just one organization to drive the industry forward.”
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