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Northern Ireland Screen launches €52m Funding Plan
01 Apr 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Following on from the major success of ‘Game of Thrones’, which added €105m (£87m) to the local economy, Northern Ireland is now hoping to encourage more high-end TV and film productions to the area. A new four-year €51.9m (£43m) plan is being launched by Northern Ireland Screen, the region’s funding body. The scheme, called ‘Opening Doors’, will run up until 2018 and hopes to develop Northern Ireland into a major screen industry.

The new fund will see a dramatic increased investment from €33m (£27.3m) invested between 2010 and 2014, to €51.9m (£43m) over the next four years. According to CEO Robin Williams, the previous scheme, entitled ‘Driving Global Growth’, provided a €146m (£121m) return on investment.

Williams hopes the new plan will bring in about €301.8 (£250m), commenting “the vision is to have the strongest screen industry outside of London within ten years.”

Northern Ireland Screen also announced ‘Sepia’, a new commission from Microsoft’s Xbox Studios which will film in Northern Ireland mid-May. Based on a computer game franchise, the TV movie will be produced by Scott Free and Generator Entertainment, run by Mark Huffan and Aidan Elliott.

Arlene Foster, the Northern Ireland Minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, was enthusiastic about the nation’s progress, stating “It has been a tremendous period for Northern Ireland. The creative industries have provided a real economic boost for Northern Ireland and now Northern Ireland is viewed as an excellent new centre of creativity.”

Besides TV drama production, which includes popular BBC series ‘The Fall’ and ‘Line of Duty’ as well as ‘GOT’, Northern Ireland Screen is also hoping to develop more film production in the region following the recent successes of ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘Starred Up’, the latter of which is in cinemas now and an nominee for this year’s IFTAs. ‘Road’ was also filmed in Northern Ireland – narrated by Liam Neeson, the documentary on motorcycle racer families recently launched the Belfast Film Festival.

The drive is supported by Invest NI, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and the film hub at the Queen’s Film Theatre.





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