Fulwell North will focus on developing unique programming authentic to the area, nurturing local talent and discovering new creators from diverse backgrounds on and off screen. Fulwell 73’s new location aims to help address the skills gap for those starting out in the industry and to attract talent back to the region who have roots there.
Fulwell 73 will open its new office, located at the University of Sunderland, on 1st October, and will work with local production companies and hire staff from the region for a variety of different roles at the new base, which will also provide a home for visiting Fulwell 73 staff from London and LA.
North East executive, Mel Rainbow, has been appointed to lead the Fulwell North operation and will hire staff on the ground to build its operation and engage with local partners. This appointment reunites Rainbow with Fulwell 73, having previously worked on the company’s hit Netflix show Sunderland ‘Til I Die, and she will continue to work closely with the Fulwell 73 London team to identify and support local talent, win regional commissions, and establish Fulwell’s presence in the North East.
Fulwell North will leverage the company’s heritage in the North East and its reputation for creating award-winning film, TV and digital content in entertainment, sport, comedy, scripted and non-scripted sectors. The company is already in discussions with UK broadcasters about key commissions to be developed through its new office.
As one of the largest production companies now operating in the area, Fulwell 73 will establish a dedicated remit to support existing production companies and talent in the region, to allow for long term growth of the local industry, supporting other production partners to thrive and creating new career opportunities. This includes a partnership with the North East’s regional screen industries development agency Northern Film + Media, who have an established media academy for students and school leavers starting out in the industry (NFM Crew Academy), which Fulwell 73 will support. This backing of upcoming talent and production companies aims to nurture a sustainable regional industry, to compete with existing North West and Midlands production bases.
Fulwell 73 has also announced plans to host a networking event at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland on 11th October. Senior Fulwell 73 management will be in attendance to meet local companies and talent, including those early in their career, to continue building strong relationships with those already operating in the area, inform them of Fulwell 73’s long term plans in the region and identify potential collaboration opportunities. More details on this event will follow.
Ultimately, Fulwell 73 aims to invest in a new physical studio space to house future productions to help rebuild the production sector in the region. It will aim to do so with the support of significant US and UK based partners, with experience in building, developing and successfully running major film and TV studios across the globe, as well as all 12 North East local authorities.
Leo Pearlman, partner at Fulwell 73, said: “If you know anything about Fulwell 73 you know that our love of Sunderland (and its football club) runs deep. We’re proud of our North-East heritage, which is why it’s always been a dream to set up an office in the area and help support the film and TV industry across the entire region. This new base will give us the opportunity to collaborate with some of the great talent that we know exists in the area, create more opportunities for local talent there and longer term allow us to invest in the next generation and build a sustainable infrastructure to regenerate the region for many years to come.”
Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Fulwell 73 to our St Peter’s Riverside campus where they’ll be based in our David Puttnam Media Centre. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to be working in the same building as one of the UK’s most successful production companies. Their commitment to work with the university and other partners to rebuild the North East’s production infrastructure is a tremendous step forward.”
Alison Gwynn, CEO at Northern Film + Media, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Fulwell 73 have chosen Sunderland to be home to their northern base. I know Leo and the team are hugely passionate about the region and making it a great place to live and work for those in the screen industries. And it’s brilliant to see Mel Rainbow heading up their northern operations. We’re excited about the future for the region and the prospect of more jobs and opportunities for those trying to establish their careers. We’re looking forward to bringing more of our partnership plans to life in the not-too-distant future.”
Julie Elliott, Member of Parliament for Sunderland Central, said: “I am delighted to hear that Fulwell 73 will be setting up a base at the David Puttnam Media Centre at the University of Sunderland. As an incredibly successful, award-winning international production company, Fulwell 73 has produced some of the most popular and amazing work, not least the Netflix series Sunderland ‘til I Die. I cannot wait to welcome them back to the city – this new announcement is a tremendous vote of confidence in Sunderland and the wider region, and I am looking forward to the opportunities that this investment will give our community, supporting upcoming talent, existing production companies, local skilled workers and students at the University. It is a great time to live and work in the city, and this decision by Fulwell 73 shows the incredible opportunities available in Sunderland.”