NEW opportunities for Northumberland to cash in on its growing popularity as a filming location for movies and TV series will be explored at a networking event today.
Organisations, landowners and visitor agencies such as English Heritage, the National Trust, Kielder Water and Forest Park and Northumberland Tourism have been invited to the forum being held at County Hall in Morpeth.
It will examine how Northumberland can further take advantage of its spectacular landscapes and history to reap the economic benefits of film production and its spending power.
Organised by Northern Film and Media in partnership with the county council, the forum will celebrate recent film industry successes in Northumberland, thank those who have cooperated and look at how more crews can be encouraged to come in and help boost the economy in future.
About £7m is spent in the region every year by visiting production companies, which it is claimed translates into almost £20,000 a day spent in local restaurants, hotels and shops. Alnwick Castle has hosted extensive filming as a location for the blockbuster Harry Potter movies, leading to worldwide attention for the town and soaring visitor numbers. Six months ago Hollywood stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman were filmed on the Holy Island causeway for the new movie The Railway Man, which tells the story of Berwick man Eric Lomax who survived the Burma “death railway”. And large parts of ITV’s major drama series Vera - featuring Brenda Blethyn as the North East detective - were filmed along the Northumberland coastline, and at other locations in the county, such as Linhope Spout, Corbridge, Thrum Rock and Dunstanburgh Castle.
Today’s forum is linked to the 2010 signing by the county council of the Filming Friendly Charter, which commits it to encouraging location filming in Northumberland. One of the speakers is John Tulip, managing director of Northern Film and Media.
He said: “The North East already has blockbusters such as Atonement and Harry Potter under its belt, so it has proved it can handle the biggest and the best film productions in the world. A string of recent film and TV successes have boosted the region’s production credentials, and brought significant economic and cultural benefits at a time when many industries are facing acute challenges.
“Our work with Northumberland County Council, through initiatives such as Filming Friendly, makes filming in the region quicker, easier, cheaper and more attractive, for production companies.”
Neil Bradbury, the council’s executive member for tourism, said: “The value of seeing our region on cinema and TV screens is huge.”
The North East has blockbusters such as Atonement and Harry Potter under its belt