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17/12/2010

NI Film Industry Gets £5m Budget Boost

The regional screen agency for NI whose aim is to develop a sustainable screen industry and culture, Northern Ireland Screen, has received a Stormont fillip.
To help in its mission is to promote the region as a major production location and to celebrate and promote Northern Ireland talent and culture to the world and to ensure that a range of screen-related learning opportunities are delivered, it is to get a further £5m in funding.
With development centering on the huge Paint Hall in the Titanic Quarter - where US giant HBO is currently filming a long-running TV series - the money will help attract further productions.
Already, City of Ember - a major feature film - has been shot there and the HBO Game of Thrones is still underway.
Six further series are planned with a decision due in April 2011 on the second and subsequent series' location.
Also, over the past summer, Universal Pictures was shooting the film, Your Highness, almost entirely in Northern Ireland's own studio facility, The Paint Hall.
NI Executive First Minister Peter Robinson and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced in April that Your Highness would be on location in Belfast and suggested that it could infuse as much as £10m into the economy, by employing hundreds of cast, crew and extras from Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the time, Mr McGuinness said: "This announcement is fantastic news for the local film industry.
"During a visit to the United States the First Minister and I met with representatives of Universal Pictures to discuss this particular venture.
"The enthusiasm that Universal displayed at that meeting for this project has come to fruition," he said at the time.
According to NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster: "It is clear that Invest NI and NI Screen have delivered tangible results, demonstrating that this region offers an exceptionally competitive location for film and television production projects which have the potential to deliver significant economic benefits," she said.
Northern Ireland Screen is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and the former UK Film Council.
In May 2007, Invest NI announced a £12m package of support for Northern Ireland Screen for the three years to 2010, with the additional £5m cash now coming from the Executive Budget to help it to continue expansion into the international movie and TV market.
See: Film Boost For Northern Ireland
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