Jackdaw maker Jamie Childs targeting more North East films ahead of Stockton premiere

  • Jamie Childs explains how the North East has inspired his filmmaking

A writer and director hailing from the North East hopes to bring more films to the region after shooting his first feature length movie on home soil.

Jackdaw, set and shot on location in Hartlepool and Teesside, is the feature-film debut by Shotton Colliery-born Jamie Childs.

The action-thriller, starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jenna Coleman and Rory McCann, follows the story of Jack Dawson, a fictional former motocross champion and army veteran, who returns home to care for his brother after their mother dies.

Its UK premiere will take place in Stockton-on-Tees on Wednesday 24 January and will hit cinema screens shortly afterwards.

After previous television success with The Sandman, Willow and His Dark Materials, Jackdaw and its setting is the completion of a career-long ambition for Childs.

Jackdaw follows the story of Jack Dawson, a fictional former motocross champion and army veteran, after his return home to Teesside. Credit: Vertigo Releasing

“Obviously I'm from up here and I've always wanted to bring stuff back," he told ITV Tyne Tees.

"The nature of the work that I do has led me to other parts of the country and the world but my ambition has always been to bring things back to the North East.

"I want to sort of use not only the culture that I grew up in, but like the landscape and stuff which is massively underrepresented.

"You come up here and it's like, I know the places that I want to film straight away because they're genuinely places that have inspired me over the years to probably become a filmmaker.”

Childs follows in the footsteps of the Ridley Scott in becoming a filmmaker from the North East.

He admits that the legendary 86-year-old has been a big influence throughout his career and has looked to emulate him.

It is Childs' first-feature length film after previous television success. Credit: Vertigo Releasing

“Ridley's a big inspiration for me," he explained. "Blade Runner is one of my favourite films and he talks about literally that landscape of Seal Sands being for him as a child like the thing that inspired the aesthetic of Blade Runner.

"So when I got the chance to essentially use that as a backdrop in Jackdaw, because I thought Ridley was inspired by that landscape for Blade Runner, so I'm like 'I'm going to use the production value of the actual landscape'.

"I've always found it cinematic anyway but it definitely inspired me for Jackdaw and the aesthetic of that movie.”

While A-list actors dominate the on-screen action many of the behind the scenes crew and extras are from the region.

The film was also produced with the support of the region's biggest film and production facility, The Northern Film and TV Studios, along with funding from The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and the North East Production Fund.

It is hoped Jackdaw could be the start of more filming activity in the North East with more movies being fully shot and set here.

Jackdaw was shot and produced with the support of the The Northern Film and TV Studios. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Gayle Woodruffe, operations director for North East Screen, said: “It’s the first one that we've had for a long time where the whole thing was based here.

"We do get visiting productions, that come and film for a few days because we've got the most amazing locations and that's great.

"But this is actually something that is solely based here and they say it's here.

“It raises the profile of the region as well as being able to help people get that step up. But also people who want to work in film and TV can see it on their doorstep and it helps them with that aspiration of wanting do that job.

"We just show them that it's possible by films being based here.”

Childs already has plans for more films set in the North East. Credit: Vertigo Releasing

If Childs gets his way, then Jackdaw will just be the first film of many. He already has plans for films with Hollywood actors set in the North East if he is given the opportunity.

“Hopefully people will give me the next one to do," he said. "We've already had interest from America to do something similar.

"Maybe the next one we will scale it up more, keep it in the region, but also like maybe bring in an American lead in or something.

"So bring in an A-lister from America in a fish out of water type story and set in it in this region. I've got a few ideas already.”

Jackdaw will open in cinemas on 26 January.

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