North-East Screen – formerly Northern Film and Media – has appointed an Oscar and BAFTA-winning film producer as their new chair.
David Parfitt has been tasked with steering the organisation at an exciting and pivotal time for the film and TV industry in the North-East.
It follows record investment in the screen industry in the 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 grew up in Sunderland and his connection to the region brings with it a passion and desire to support the organisation to benefit the people of the North-East.
He brings an outstanding track record and remarkable achievements in over 35 years working as an independent film, TV and theatre producer.
His many films include Shakespeare in Love, My Week with Marilyn and The Father.
North-East Screen chief executive Alison Gwynn 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.”
David added: “Our generation had to leave Sunderland to pursue careers in the creative industries.
“I want to be part of an organization 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.
“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.”
David takes over the reins from Tom Gutteridge, the Emmy award-winning TV producer, writer and broadcast executive (Mentorn/FremantleMedia).
The organisation is also delighted to welcome Graeme Thompson MBE, pro vice-chancellor of external relations at the University of Sunderland to the board.
Before joining the university a decade ago, Graeme was managing director of ITV Tyne Tees following a career as a programme maker, commissioner and BBC radio producer.
Also joining at this time is Fahima Chowdhury, line producer for High End Television Production.
Fahima brings a wealth of TV experience in both factual and drama and launched and ran the region’s previous production fund which helped bring productions to the North-East such as Vera, George Gently, Joe Madison’s War and United.