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29/05/2007

Northern Ireland Film And Television Commission Announce £12 Million Package

At an event billed as 'Building on Success', The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission announced its new 3-year strategy and revealed the main elements of its restructured funding programmes.
And in a move designed to reflect and embrace the growth of the new digital era, the Commission has been renamed Northern Ireland Screen. The event was held with Invest Northern Ireland, which announced a new £12 million package of support for the commission.
In his speech, Chairman Colin Anderson OBE, reflected on the past 4 years of the Commission, highlighting its many successes and series of 'firsts' for Northern Ireland – in terms of film and television production and exhibition.
Highlighting the screen agency’s responsibility for building the capacity for growth of the film, television and digital content industries in Northern Ireland, he outlined the Commission’s overhaul of its portfolio of funding programmes, which now offers a more comprehensive and useful package of finance initiatives. The most pioneering change is to bring all production and development finance within one fund – which results in a much simplified and more easily navigable funding process for producers. The newly structured umbrella fund is now known as the Northern Ireland Screen Fund.
The aim of the fund is to encourage a greater volume of content to be produced in Northern Ireland and is allocated for feature film and television (including non-drama), as well as digital content. Two major changes are:

  • Production funding:
    The ceiling per project rises to £800,000/US$ 1.6 million (dependent on rate exchange)

  • Slate funding now offered for the first time:
    Up to £100,000 for development of film, television, animation and new media products or as match-funding for more substantial development work or the production of a pilot.

In terms of inward investment coming into Northern Ireland, the Commission’s determined drive in the face of stiff worldwide competition has paid off. Last year saw Oscar-winning director Lord Attenborough’s Closing the Ring shoot here, while the former Paint Hall in the Titanic Quarter is currently being transformed into an underground city for the Hollywood children’s sci-fi pic City of Ember, due to crank up in July.
Continuing its aggressive lobbying campaign in the television sector, the Commission also helped secure 'Fairytales' – a new network drama series from Hat Trick Productions for the BBC, which starts shooting here this month.
Colin Anderson stated: "The Commission has come a long way since its inception nearly 10 years ago. We are now one of the few UK agencies able to offer a decent level of production funding to the independent sector. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Invest Northern Ireland for its continued support and to assure you that we remain steadfast in our commitment to the development of a dynamic and sustainable independent production sector in Northern Ireland."
Stephen Kingon, Chairman of Invest Northern Ireland said: "We are delighted to confirm our continued support for Northern Ireland Screen. With the backing of Invest NI, the Commission has successfully marketed Northern Ireland to the international television and film community. We look forward to a further three years of partnership with Northern Ireland Screen and to promoting Northern Ireland as a preferred centre for sustainable film and television production."
(DS)

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