David Parfitt[3]

UK film and TV producer David Parfitt has been named as the chair of North East Screen, the agency dedicated to the development and championing of the screen sectors in the north east of England, previously known as Northern Film and Media.

He takes over from TV executive Tom Gutteridge, who has held posts at Mentorn and Fremantle.

“Following record investment in the screen industry in the North East region with a £25m commitment from the BBC, a new partnership with 12 local authorities and three combined authorities bringing £11.4m investment to the table and significant new studio developments in the region, David’s appointment confirms that the north east is open for business,” said North East Screen in a statement.

Parfitt grew up in Sunderland and has worked in the film and TV industry for over 35 years, with credits including Shakespeare In Love, My Week With Marilyn and The Father. He is an executive producer on Screen Star of Tomorrow George Jaques’ upcoming feature, Black Dog.

“Our generation had to leave Sunderland to pursue careers in the creative industries,” said Parfitt. ”I want to be part of an organisation who can do something to change that. The media landscape is changing and I feel this is the first time there’s been an opportunity to have sustainable careers in film and TV in this region – which is fantastic.”

Alison Gwynn, chief executive of North East Screen said: “David joins us at a crucial time in the development of the North East’s screen industry. We are delivering an ambitious programme of activity for the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) which aims to significantly increase TV and film production in the region.

“To do this we want to attract production companies to the north east where talent is in abundance. We want to create jobs and opportunities in the industry for local people and businesses connected with the supply chain, and supercharge the access to skills in the region so that the productions that are coming to the north east are fully supported by a skilled and developed workforce.

“The media industries are huge engines of our national economy and our region wants to be a bigger part of that. Training is at the heart of it all and the support of our local colleges and universities is key. We’re here to provide the next step, attracting people early as they choose their careers and letting them know that this a really viable industry.”