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Students put themselves in the picture with leading TV and film experts

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Published on 07 December 2023

TV and film conference
TV and film conference

The University of Sunderland hosted a film and TV careers event which brought students from the region face-to-face with leading industry experts.

Your Creative Futures attracted almost 200 students to The Fire Station, Sunderland, earlier this month and featured a keynote speech from Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of regional screen industries agency North East Screen.

TV and film production is on the rise regionally, with investment in programme-making by the BBC and a dedicated fund to attract productions. Hollywood movies including Indiana Jones: The Dial of Destiny and Dungeons & Dragons have also been filmed nearby in recent years. Opportunities for students and graduates will be bolstered dramatically if a planned £500m studio complex for Sunderland from production company Fulwell ’73 and investors goes ahead next year. “If the Fulwell Cain studio plans come off, our students will have a golden opportunity to move into screen careers without having to leave the region,” said Lee Hall, Head of School of Media and Communications at the University of Sunderland.

“And even if they don’t, graduates need to be ready to grasp the opportunities wherever they exist.

“This event was all about gearing them up, giving them confidence and showing students the amazing support that’s out there as they prepare to enter a challenging and incredibly rewarding industry.”

Lisa Davidson, skills manager of the North East Screen Crew Academy talked students through opportunities to secure placements work on productions in the region.

There was also an opportunity to hear from the Royal Television Society and graduates about bursaries and a freelancers on the fascinating opportunities in self-employment.

Sunderland graduate Francesa Sardone gave insight on her career working on films such as King Arthur, The Conjuring 2 and Edge of Tomorrow. And freelance make up designer Michael Birtley provided tips for aspiring industry professionals.

Joanna Makepeace-Woods, Student Opportunities Manager, Centre for Graduate Prospects at the University, said: “I think it's important that we make sure students from across the region know that they can start and build their careers here, that the intention has been set and the region is a place where they can contribute to the sector and thrive themselves.

“This event, and remit of the North East Universities Screen Partnership has allowed us to start getting this message out.” The event was the latest initiative from a new partnership bringing together academics from all five universities in the region, the North East Screen Education Network, exploring student, research and innovation opportunities.