Film company in the spotlight

Alexandra de Villeay, who has set up Packaged Productions.
Alexandra de Villeay, who has set up Packaged Productions.

A new independent film and TV production company which has set up in the Whitby area will be engaging with local youngsters as it bids to promote emerging and established professional talent in the north east.

Packaged Productions has been established by Alexandra De Villeay, a carer, actress, writer and producer.

The company will be involved with the local community, schools and colleges, offering opportunities and experiences within the film industry.

Alexandra recognises the pool of acting talent around the Whitby area and what a magnet it is for big films – the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Mark Addy, Tara Fitzgerald and Jenna Coleman have all filmed here in recent times.

Alexandra said: “I would like this to be a community-orientated company using local people.”

Packaged Productions’ first venture is a short film, The Diary, written by Alexandra and directed by Diana Brooks. Shooting from March, it follows Ted, an 80-something year old widower, as he tries to cope with loneliness in old age.

“We will be conducting our own research over the next couple of years into growing old in the UK for a documentary,” said Alexandra. “The programme will also investigate how other countries support the elderly.”

Hot on the heels of The Diary, Mandy is a bitter-sweet comedy for TV and follows Amanda-May Armstrong (Mandy) as she cares for her elderly mother; again written by Alexandra and directed by Diana Brooks.

Under the umbrella of Packaged Productions, The Little Touring Theatre Company aims to bring established and new writers to the region. Plays and performances will be brought to churches, village halls and provincial theatres.

The company does not yet receive funding; at the moment it relies on the generosity of donations to help tell important stories and issues.

Five feature films, a feature length animation and two TV programmes are the pipeline.

“One of the films I would like to use the schools – young people have good imaginations and it’s important to encourage the young people to show them the best way of working,” she added.