Sit back and watch a film about the story of tech in Leeds

3 Jun, 2016

If you were frustrated that not enough people knew about the impact your city had made on the tech world, what would you do? Start a blog? Run a social media campaign? Shout at people in the street?

Leeds-based Hebe Works have gone much further – they’ve made a feature-length documentary.

It started with conversations in the pub about how Leeds didn’t seem to be very good at telling its story. One big idea later, plus support from Leeds City Council and a bunch of corporate sponsors, ‘The City Talking: Tech in Leeds‘ went into production.

The 98-minute film opens with the story of Freeserve, the ISP that got many Britons online for the first time. It then goes on to explore how Leeds companies have helped shape fields including health tech, sports tech, gambling, data analytics and video games.

There was a packed room for the film's premier at Leeds Digital Festival. Image credit:
There was a packed room for the film’s premiere at Leeds Digital Festival. Image credit:

The City Talking: Tech in Leeds had its premiere a month ago and Hebe Works is already planning a sequel that will follow figures in the local tech industry over the course of a year. If that wasn’t enough, they want to produce a film about tech across the North of England too.

“The Leeds creative scene has got a good vibe right now,” says Hebe Works’ Lee Hicken. “There’s a lot of collaboration, people are synced up on events and passing work around. It’s buzzing – when you get that energy, people are more confident to tell their story.”

As someone whose job it is to expose tech across the North, I learned a lot about Leeds from this film. It’s an enjoyable, enriching way to spend an hour and 38 minutes, so what are you waiting for? Sit back and start watching…

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