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28/07/2010

NI Screen Returns £22m To Economy

As cameras start to roll in Belfast on HBO's Game of Thrones, a TV series which is said to be one of the largest ever to shoot in Europe, Northern Ireland Screen have released its latest annual report for the year 2009-2010.
The report encapsulates the agency's achievements, cultural highlights and educational successes of the past 12 months.
Bucking the recession, in the past year Northern Ireland Screen's main production investment fund returned £22 million to the local economy at a ratio of 5.5:1, on an investment of £3.9 million.
Your Highness, a major feature film from Universal Pictures, which shot in the Paint Hall and various other locations around Northern Ireland brought in £11.78 million of this.
Northern Ireland Screen secured two major network television commissions – Mo and Christopher and His Kind.
Mo, which aired in January, was Channel 4's highest rating single drama for 8 years and landed Julie Walters her sixth BAFTA TV Award and three BAFTA TV Craft Awards for members of its production team. Mammoth Screen, the super-indie behind Christopher and His Kind has since set up shop in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Screen's Education Department has also enjoyed success over the past year continuing its work on the implementation of the vision set out in 'A Wider Literacy.' The three Creative Learning Centres (Nerve Centre, Studio On, AmmA), the main vehicles used to deliver the strategy, continue to develop multiple programmes to engage more and more teachers in the value and potential of using digital technologies and moving image in the classroom. All three centres dramatically outstripped their formal targets.
Cinema-going has long been cited as one of the few recession proof industries, Northern Ireland is no exception; the exhibition sector here enjoyed continued growth with increased audience figures from QFT and Belfast Film Festival.
The publication of this year's report coincides with the publication of an evaluation by KPMG of Northern Ireland Screen's three-year strategy Building on Success 2007-2010.
The evaluation was extremely positive, citing "a very strong performance over the strategy period," with the Northern Ireland Screen Fund exceeding its target, delivering an economic return of around £45 million into the Northern Ireland economy – a ratio of 4.6:1, against investment of £9.8m.
The KPMG exercise also captured a very complimentary picture of how Northern Ireland Screen goes about its business, with consultees giving strong and wide-ranging praise of the work of Northern Ireland Screen.
In addition, the Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) was also the subject of an evaluation in 2009, when McClure Waters undertook the exercise on behalf of DCAL for the first four years of the fund (2005-2009).
This evaluation was extremely positive, with all targets having been successfully reached and highlighting the significant economic and cultural impact of the ILBF on the Northern Ireland sector since its creation in 2005.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said: "The economic, cultural and educational value of the screen industry and screen culture is beginning to shine through across the wide range of activities Northern Ireland Screen supports and encourages.
"Our highlight successes in attracting Universal Pictures and HBO to Northern Ireland strongly illustrate that, with vision and focus, the screen industries and the creative industries generally can play a pivotal role in the reimagining of our local economy."
(BMcN/BMCC)
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