Platform Showcased in Parliament

To support the growing film and television industry in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, Platform, the moving image cluster, hosted a creators’ showcase at the House of Commons on Tuesday May 8, 2018. Local MPs, filmmakers and Oscar winners explained how creators in film, tv, animation and more can benefit from working in Staffordshire.

A bright future for Stoke

Stoke-on-Trent is establishing itself as a vibrant city with many opportunities for creators to build a successful business. Platform was formed to build a foundation for students and creators in the region, changing the reputation of the area from a run-down city to a thriving, creative area. Platform is also supporting growth of the industry by backing the bid to build one of the new Channel 4 creative hubs in Stoke-on-Trent as it moves its headquarters out of London.

“Platform was created to be an advocate for the thriving digital creative talent in this region,” explained Peter Rudge, associate professor at Staffordshire University and Platform Chair. “Platform’s aim is to drive the growth of the moving image economy in the region, to encourage collaboration and innovation and to develop Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire as a destination for production, investment and real creative talent.”

Cooperation is key

Stafford MP, Jeremy Lefroy and Damian Collins, MP and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hosted the event to showcase Staffordshire’s creative industry and prove to creators that Stoke-on-Trent offers the support of cluster groups, from start-ups to established companies.

“Cluster working is so important to the creative economy, particularly in film,” explained Collins. “It helps to create a network of young people working together — the foundation of a vibrant film sector. How the industries in Stoke-on-Trent collaborate is a perfect example for how a decentralised Channel 4 could operate.”

Local talent showcased

Event attendees also heard from successful filmmakers in Staffordshire, including Stephen Saunders. His recent documentary, The War Above the Trenches, starred Staffordshire University students and was filmed in many locations across the county. Saunders relocated his business from London as it meant he had better access to large, outdoor locations and talent without going over budget.

Attendees also had the opportunity to see the Oscar winning short film, The Silent Child, directed by Chris Overton and written by and starring Rachel Shenton. At the event, Shenton and Overton expressed that Staffordshire was instrumental in creating the film by offering perfect locations and a talented creative team.

Members of Stoke-on-Trent City Council also attended to show the Council’s support of Platform. “Our city’s profile and aspirations are rightly rising,” explains deputy leader councillor Abi Brown. “We are a confident, forward-looking city that is building on its success of being shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021, a city that Heathrow airport is considering for one of its national logistics hubs, and a city that has secured HS2 services that will further transform our infrastructure.

“Stoke is on the up, and our bid for a Channel 4 creative hub shows our strength and ambition.”