The District of Easington Council has resolved to approve an application to create the Centre for Creative Excellence and film studio on land at Dawdon, south of Seaham.
Coolmore Estates, a consortium of investors and developers, are behind the bid which could bring up to 2,400 new jobs to the area.
Council leader Alan Napier said: "This is an exciting venture not only for the district but the region as a whole.”
The complex is to be based on a 72-hectare site, east of the A19 and near the A182 link road.
As well as a film studio, the proposal includes a 150 bed four-star hotel, a smaller business hotel, parklands, and a campus for 1,500 to 2,000 students which would be linked to the University of Sunderland and East Durham and Houghall Community College.