NI First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA have confirmed that US network channel HBO, will film a TV pilot in Northern Ireland this year entitled ‘Game of Thrones’.
The project is scheduled to arrive in the third quarter of 2009 and is set to utilise various locations as well as build a massive set in the Belfast’s Paint Hall.
‘A Game of Thrones’ is set to be a medieval fantasy television series based on the books of George R. R. Martin's entitled ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. David Benioff, who wrote the screenplay for ‘The Kite Runner’, and an American-born author Dan Weiss are writing and producing the television adaptation.
Mr Robinson said: “This is the first time that a TV production of such vast size and scale has been filmed in Northern Ireland. The announcement comes following the visit by the deputy first Minister and I to Los Angeles in March. It will be a welcome boost to the production sector, helping develop the industry here and bringing employment and investment to Northern Ireland.”
“HBO is a recognised worldwide brand, with their programmes broadcast in over 150 countries. Securing this project over a number of competitors is a major coup for Northern Ireland. HBO has an enviable reputation for offering very high quality, original programming, receiving critical acclaim for its productions including ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Six Feet Under’, ‘Band of Brothers’ and of course ‘The Sopranos’.”
Mr McGuinness said: “During our recent trip to Los Angeles, the First Minister and I met with senior executives from HBO to help finalise the deal to bring the TV production here. Negotiations had been ongoing with NI Screen, which was able to offer production finance through its Screen Fund supported by Invest NI.
“At a time of economic downturn, we have sought to bring a new and diverse range of investments here to create jobs and build experience. The creative industries are one key area.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Ireland Screen, stated: “This is a real coup for Northern Ireland and further cements our reputation as a leading centre for film and television production, as we continue our rapid growth into what is one of the most powerful and vibrant industries in the world.”