Hartlepool director to helm big budget movie shot entirely in Tees Valley starring Stephen Thompkinson and Bill Fellows

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An award-winning Hartlepool filmmaker has announced his biggest project yet directing a big budget film starring a line up of famous local actors.

Paul Suggitt, who has written, directed and produced a host of short and feature length films, documentaries and commercials, is to make the £150,000 crime thriller titled Kazzy.

Leading the cast will be a trio of well-known North East stars with Stephen Thompkinson, best known for shows including Drop the Dead Donkey and DCI Banks; Coronation Street’s Bill Fellows; and Mark Benton of comedies Early Doors and Shakespeare and Hathaway.

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Paul, managing director of 7VEN Productions and who lives in Hartlepool, said: “Kazzy is my biggest project to date, both in budget terms and sheer size and scale of the project.

Actors Mark Benton and Bill Fellows with Paul Suggitt (centre).Actors Mark Benton and Bill Fellows with Paul Suggitt (centre).
Actors Mark Benton and Bill Fellows with Paul Suggitt (centre).

“I am excited to be directing it and to be working with an amazing and very talented crew and cast.”

Written by Shaun Robinson, from Middlesbrough, the original story focuses on the title character’s struggles to deal with her personal demons.

The Tees Valley International Film Festival is the project’s executive producer after festival director Michael Luke liked the script and drafted in the three top actors.

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Michael said: “The production will employ hundreds. It will inspire thousands and it will entertain millions.”

Hartlepool filmmaker Paul Suggitt behind the camera.Hartlepool filmmaker Paul Suggitt behind the camera.
Hartlepool filmmaker Paul Suggitt behind the camera.
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Paul, 55, who teaches a weekly film course at The Studio in Hartlepool, said the film, which will be shot entirely in the Tees Valley, will also serve as a springboard for local aspiring actors and crew.

"I want to give people from our area the recognition they deserve,” he said.

Filming is due to start later this year with hopes of a cinema release then onto streaming services.

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It is a busy year for Paul as he is currently also making a documentary with Big Brother 6 housemate and winner, Anthony Hutton.

It charts the highs and lows that sudden fame and fortune brought him, and his men’s mental health project Never Throw In The Towel.

The documentary will receive its gala screening at this year’s Tees Valley International Film Festival in November.

Paul, who has directed Amazon Prime documentaries on crime figure Lee Duffy and five times Mr Universe Eddy Ellwood, was presented with an outstanding achievement award at last year’s festival by actor and presenter Robson Green.

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