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Showcasing the North East: How two filmmakers are getting the region ready for its close-up

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Published on 28 August 2018

Mark Stuart Bell (left) and business partner Glen Colledge
Mark Stuart Bell (left) and business partner Glen Colledge

Two entrepreneurs who met thousands of miles away from the North East have been tasked with showcasing the region in a bid to attract investment and jobs.

University of Sunderland graduate Mark Stuart Bell and business partner Glen Colledge are set to produce six short films in a bid to provide a boost to the region’s fortunes,

The pair – who together make up Second Draft video production company - have won two contracts to help boost investment, business and jobs in the North East.

The first is with Invest North East England - producing six videos to attract people to the region, while the second is with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) making a showcase film about the £270m Local Growth Fund they have been investing in the region.

It’s a major step for the fledgling business which has recently moved from the Enterprise Place at the University’s Hope Street Xchange building into new offices at Sunderland’s Business and Innovation Centre.

Mark, 32, said: “We are aiming to bring our own unique style to these films, something which really connects with the audiences and shows what an incredible place the North East is.”

Mark and Glen, 26, first connected when they met 8,000 miles away on the Falkland Islands.

Mark, who studied for a MA in Journalism at the University, was researching a documentary and needed a collaborator and a guide. Glen, at the time, was a cameraman and editor on the Island’s TV station.

Six months later the filmmakers were working together back in the UK, before taking the big step into starting up their new business.

And it’s been a whirlwind few months for the pair. They have worked with businesses across the region creating corporate films with what they call “the human touch”.

It was that touch that won the company praise for their official video to accompany Sunderland’s City of Culture Bid 2021.

Glen said: “We hope our videos create something different, that we bring our own style to them. We hope they connect with the audience in a unique way.”

The pair say they are delighted with the new challenge which is now in front of them.

Mark added: “It’s a big responsibility to showcase the North East, particularly when the aim is to attract investment and create jobs. It’s going to be a busy few months for us as we get all the filming done.

“There are sometimes a lot of misconceptions about the region and we hope these films help change people’s perceptions.”

The pair are now looking towards the future and have big plans for Second Draft, hoping that their early success continues as the business goes from strength to strength.”

The Enterprise Place is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and available to all students and alumni of the University of Sunderland. The Enterprise Place offers office space and facilities, start-up and growth courses, and specialist advisers offering support and guidance all aimed at helping people turn a business idea into reality.

Glen added: “The support we received from the Enterprise Place was fantastic, it gave us the foundation we needed as we were starting out on our venture.”