Alexander Buja and Andy Gundelach aka Created by TEN and Film Leicester

"It feels like we [Leicester] are a hidden gem, bags of potential, waiting to realise its potential"

What do you do?

Andy: I’m the Creative Producer/Director at Created By TEN. An award winning film production company based in Leicester & London. We work on various types of film productions from TVC’s, shorts, branded content, social content and more. My role predominantly involves producing and project managing shoots, ensuring they are delivered to a high standard on time and on budget.

Alex: As well as being a founder of Created By TEN. I’m also a Director too. My role sees me split my time between pre-production and post production evenly as our approach isn’t just a ‘run and gun’ style, as we’re big on conceptualisation and design. This means the style of our films can vary depending on what type of story and approach we’re going for, and I get a real buzz crafting something that’s on brand and on point for each client.

How did you get to where you are?

Andy: For as long I can remember, I either wanted to be a professional footballer or to be involved in the film and media industry! I wasn’t too far off becoming a footballer, but it wasn’t meant to be, so I naturally gravitated towards working within film and media. In 2009, I graduated from DMU, but unfortunately it wasn’t a great year for us all, as we were in amidst a global recession and eventually I ended up working in retail and banking sectors for several years. Although I had gained some invaluable skills working within the corporate world but it didn’t provide me any creative fulfilment. I therefore decided to change my career path and get back into my passion for film. This led me back to Alex...

Alex: I’ve always been a sucker for getting lost in a good story since I was young, always loved figuring out how things work, and to this day get itchy feet if I'm not creating something - anything. I went to college and uni with the hope of ‘being a director’ and instead found myself learning about or trying my hand at pretty much every other role. No question this has served me well since, but much like Andy, there weren’t too many of the jobs once I left uni and I ended up working in retail for a number of years before that restlessness of not doing something creative won over, and I ended up going freelance. I worked in corporate, live TV and on film before mine and Andy’s paths would eventually cross once again and inevitably lead to founding TEN.

Why do you love what you do?

Andy: I love the filmmaking process; how actors develop a character, how art teams craft new worlds. Film is just an amazing collaborative platform to express such a wide range of creativity and disciplines and to know that it likely came from a single idea or conversation is just incredible. I also love how film can be interpreted in so many ways from one person to another and when you revisit a film at a different point of your life you find new things and perspectives.

Alex: For me, learning more about film and filmmaking is actually quite obsessive. I still spend a lot of time exploring ways to improve my knowledge and skills almost every day. As a business, storytelling is #1, even on the simplest film. It’s testament to how important good narrative, characters and storytelling are to still have the power to move people the way they do even after thousands of years. It’s something I’m continually developing, so my hobby really is my job.

Why are you based in Leicester?

Andy: Despite this year being incredibly difficult for most people, especially in Leicester, we do have everything here to get us through. For me, it feels like we are a hidden gem, bags of potential, waiting to realise its potential. We have all the component parts. It’s just about bringing all our talents together.

Alex: I echo Andy in regards to our hidden potential, we have an eclectic mix of cultures, communities and philosophies which has brought with it an abundance of differing perspectives and fresh ideas. No doubt, this diversity plays a part in why we often come across groups of people working on new and exciting projects.

What next?

Andy: Currently for us, it’s really about manoeuvring through this tough period as comfortably as we possibly can. We’ve been very fortunate and lucky to have some fantastic clients that have kept us ticking over despite their own challenges. In terms of projects, we are in the process of finalising a project for Brewdog, we’ve recently signed off a project for Leicester Tigers new season kit which went down really well.

We have also been working tirelessly on a new initiative called Film Leicester which is a self-initiated project, and we believe a fantastic opportunity to bring our creative communities together and to put Leicester on the map for film. Alex I’m sure will be keen to tell you more about it as he has been heavily involved with the development of the network and platform.

Alex: There’s so much I could cover about Film Leicester, but here’s the elevator pitch:

Something that a lot of people don’t know is that Leicester proportionally has the largest number of creative businesses outside of London. This doesn’t even take into account the many freelancers and other talent we come across almost daily.

Film Leicester is being developed to connect talent and crew together, make it easy to find and book our many (often hidden) locations, provide a community and platform from grassroots to seasoned pros to find the resources they need, and to make the process of making films in our county at every level as frictionless as possible..

Our aim is that Film Leicester will enable VOD services such as Amazon Studios, Netflix and more to see Leicester as a solid destination for TV and Film since they already seldom use larger studios such as Pinewood or Elstree and tend to use smaller regional facilities. Leicester is perfectly suited to make all of this possible, and we have a very good chance to bring a fresh economy to our city.

Social media accounts to follow:

Facebook: @createdbyten @filmleicester

Twitter: @createdbyten @filmleicester

Instagram: @createdbyten @filmleicester