News

CNN reporter Anna Stewart to moderate Opportunity Hertfordshire debates on future of film and TV

12 Oct 21
Herts LEP logo
Warner bros studios leavesden white background

CNN reporter Anna Stewart is to moderate two nationally significant debates on the future of the film and TV industry live from Hertfordshire LEP’s Annual Conference on Friday 22 October.

The in-person panel discussions broadcast from Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden will feature a stellar cast list of industry experts, political leaders and educators from Hertfordshire, Hollywood and beyond to identify how best to stimulate future investment, drive local job creation and ensure that the industry can secure on-screen and off-camera talent to address future skills gaps.

Anna Stewart is a CNN reporter based in the network's London bureau and covers topics related mainly to international business. She will moderate two debates reflecting the value of the sector to the local and UK economy in Hertfordshire and the skills needed to support its development.

The first panel discussion ‘Boomtime for Hertfordshire’ will focus on the recent scale of investment into the film and TV industry. Dan Dark, OBE, Executive Vice President, Warner Bros. worldwide studio operations; Caroline Cooper, COO, Sky Studios; Dean Russell MP for Watford; Deirdre Wells OBE, CEO, Visit Herts and Go To Places; Cllr Morris Bright MBE, Chair, Board of Directors, Elstree Studios; Leader, Hertsmere Borough Council and David Conway, Chief Financial and Operations Officer, ITN, will all take part.

The second panel discussion ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ will bring educators from across the HE and FE sector to debate the huge range of skills required to support the industry and how local people can benefit. Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair, Skills Advisory Panel, Hertfordshire LEP; Prof. Julie Newlan MBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Business and International Development, University of Hertfordshire; Phil Healey, Dean, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire; Kevin Trehy, Executive Vice President, Physical Production at Warner Bros. and Gill Worgan, Principal and Chief Executive, West Herts College, will be taking part in the important skills debate.

The UK is home to some of the world’s leading creative talent, contributing £116 billion in 2019, accounting for 6 per cent of UK gross value added. The number of jobs in the creative industries increased by 34 per cent from 2011: more than three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall.

Hertfordshire’s creative sector has rapidly expanded in the past 12 months and is fast becoming the new ‘Hollywood’ with:

• Hollywood’s Sunset Studios choosing to locate its new £700m base in Broxbourne, creating over 4,500 permanent jobs with an estimated contribution of £300m p/a to the local economy;
• Sky Studios Elstree expected to generate an additional £3 billion of production investment over the first five years of operation, from Sky, NBCUniversal and other producers. It also aims to be the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio and will create over 2,000 jobs locally;
• Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden recently opening three new sound stages providing 83,000 sq. ft. of additional production space, including a state-of-the-art Virtual Production stage. This investment brings the Studio’s total production space to over 1 million sq. ft. and the total sound stages to 20, offering one of the largest production facilities in the UK.

This expansion has strongly established Hertfordshire as a key location for film and TV production in the UK, and a prime destination for on-location filming with screen tourism a key focus for Visit Herts recovery strategy.

Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network, said: “Hertfordshire has witnessed substantial inward investment commitments recently in the film and TV sector. This major sector focus is a key element of LEPs’ evolving national role as catalysts to deliver the Plan for Growth. We are delighted that Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is hosting this important national debate on the future of this globally significant sector which is super-charging the UK’s bounce-back, with the LEP partnering with industry to ensure its ongoing success and provide real opportunities for local people.”

Dan Dark, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Studio Operations, Warner Bros. said: “This is a crucial time to build on the success of the creative sector. Now, more than ever, we have to invest in facilities and skills to support the future of the industry.”

Caroline Cooper, COO, Sky Studios, said: “Through Sky Studios Elstree, we’re excited to be building on the rich heritage of film and TV production in Hertfordshire and tapping into the highly skilled workforce. But we know we have a responsibility to ensure the industry is set up for the future, this means upskilling the next generation of talent and building a world-class, sustainable studio that will help attract more investment to the area.”

As part of its ongoing sector focus and Economic Recovery Plan, Hertfordshire LEP has commissioned an independent report into the value of the film and TV industry to the local and UK economy and identify what further actions will be needed to enable it to grow sustainably. This report will be made available after the conference and an industry-led taskforce will be established to capitalise on recent investment successes, turbo-charging the UK’s recovery and leveraging the local economic, social and environmental value from this activity.

To book your place at this virtual conference, visit the Conference Hub page here. 

We are delighted that Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is hosting this important national debate on the future of this globally significant sector which is super-charging the UK’s bounce-back, with the LEP partnering with industry to ensure its ongoing success and provide real opportunities for local people.
Mark Bretton Mark BrettonChair, Hertfordshire LEP
We are delighted that Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is hosting this important national debate on the future of this globally significant sector which is super-charging the UK’s bounce-back, with the LEP partnering with industry to ensure its ongoing success and provide real opportunities for local people.
Mark Bretton Mark BrettonChair, Hertfordshire LEP