New Barney base for film firm
A COMPANY which produces corporate films has made a Barnard Castle business centre its new headquarters.
Howell Film is a family run firm which has been making films for business, covering corporate and other events, undertaking drone filming and offering 2D and 3D animation services since 2009.
It is run by Chris Howell, who has worked in the creative industry since 1990, and daughter Issy.
Previously operating from a home office, Mr Howell decided to look for a new base when he moved with his wife to Barnard Castle earlier this year. The search led him to Enterprise House, on the Harmire Enterprise Park, where the company has now taken an office.
Mr Howell said: “Like a lot of creative businesses, we had myself, Issy and one other employee and then a set up of nine people who work freelance for us and are scattered all across the north of England.
“The business was growing and we found we needed a base – the next phase of the business development needed to be under one umbrella.”
He added: “I do get the sense that as the business grows, we can expand within Enterprise House. The 24-hour access is also very handy for us – we work at some odd times and it’s quite nice to have a place to work from.”
Ms Howell said it made sense to base the business in Barnard Castle as many clients are from County Durham and Richmondshire.
Mr Howell said the business had been forced to adapt during the Covid-19 alert.
“We did a 2,500 person event on February 29 and then looked what happened. We have done a couple of virtual events such as the National Family Business of the Year Awards – and we came second in the Yorkshire and North region.
“There was a point where I thought it was going to get really serious, but I have lived through three recessions and that's how I approached it.”
Mr Howell said lockdown had given him the time to review all areas of the business before restrictions were eased.
“We redoubled our efforts and recovered quite quickly,” he said.
The company is currently filming three interesting and diverse projects. The first is a Lottery funded film to follow the work of young curators at The Bowes Museum.
The second, also Lottery funded, is a film recording oral histories of school life in Swaledale.
Called Story of Schools, it contrasts the experiences of those who studied in the 1930s and 1940s with present day children. The finished film will be shown at the Dales Museum, in Hawes.
The third ongoing project involves caterer Guy Fairhurst, at Berry's Farm Shop and Cafe, in Leyburn, who is being filmed cooking with his young daughter for their Chef Bella Youtube channel.