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Sunderland makes ‘filming-friendly city’ pledge

Melia and Gwynn are filming friendly

Sunderland City Council has pledged its commitment to enabling a filming-friendly city.

Council chief executive, Patrick Melia, has signed a Filming Friendly Charter on behalf of the local authority with North East Screen – which develops and champions the North East as a film and TV production hub – committing to a partnership to create a filming-friendly region.

The council has committed to measures to make Sunderland a more attractive destination for film and media, including simplified ways of working with crews and production teams, improved cooperation with filming requests, including enabling the use of council property, and working with North East Screen and production companies on press releases and publicity, maximising the benefit to the locality and the region.

Melia said: “Sunderland is committed to working with North East Screen to make the region more attractive and ‘Filming Friendly,’ and, in doing so, we recognise the positive economic and cultural benefits hosting filming activity can have on the city and wider region. Our commitment ensures that Sunderland, and indeed film and media businesses working in the city, enjoy the most positive experience possible.”

The signing builds on the council’s support for the region’s TV and film production industry as part of the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), formed by Combined and Local Authorities from across the region with the ambition of to levelling up regional film and TV industries by more than doubling their 2019 share of the UK production market, and delivering a regional economic impact of £88m per annum.

Last year, the BBC pledged to increase production and support the creative sector, with a commitment to invest almost £25m in the region over the next five years, funding TV production and talent development. North East authorities agreed to provide a combined additional £11.4m over the same term. The BBC has referred to the partnership as its biggest investment in the North East for decades.

The new pledge could further strengthen Sunderland’s position as a filming location. Already, the city has hosted the filming of the following BBC programmes, Northern Justice, Ambulance, Angels of the North Series 4, Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes and Charlotte Crosby’s Observation Documentary – as well as Cooking with the Gills, shown on Channel 5’s Milkshake.

Alison Gwynn, chief executive of North East Screen, said: “We are working closely with the North East Screen Industries Partnership and the BBC to encourage and promote filming across the North East. We want all parts of our region to benefit.

“The economic and tourism benefits of a production filming in our area and the jobs it can create for local crew, as well as local businesses across the supply chain, is something we don’t want any part of the North East to miss out on. We are delighted that Sunderland has signed up to the charter and look forward to working with them to encourage more filming in the city.”

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