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TWO major commissions for football-focused documentaries for broadcast on Channel 4 have been awarded to independent television production companies in Belfast.
Hot Shot Films and Double Band Films have beaten off competition from much larger production companies elsewhere in the UK to produce the documentaries which will form part of the channel’s Football Stories strand of programmes.
‘Seven Days That Shook Man U’, from Hot Shot Films, is examining a football institution in the face of adversity and events that the Manchester United team would rather forget. As this is the company’s first commission for Channel 4, the programme is to be co-produced with Manchester-based Granada Television, using the company’s extensive archive.
The second programme, Double Band’s documentary, ‘George Best’s Body’, is an autobiographical x-ray telling the real story of Northern Ireland’s football legend.
Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Film Commission, said: “The Northern Ireland Film Commission are delighted that two of our local production companies have secured these major network commissions from Channel 4. It is a testament to the vitality and imagination evident throughout the production sector in Northern Ireland. We particularly welcome Channel 4’s efforts to focus on developing Northern Ireland companies – they are now reaping the rewards, starting with these two high quality documentaries.”
The two programmes come against the backdrop of Channel 4’s commitment to increasing network commissions from Northern Ireland. Four production companies in Northern Ireland, Besom Productions, Double Band Films, Extreme Production and Green Inc Productions, are currently benefiting from a new joint initiative between LEDU, the producers’ alliance PACT, the Research Centre for Television and Interactivity, based in Glasgow, and Channel 4. The scheme aims to increase their knowledge of, and access to, UK network television markets.
Another Belfast-based production company, Wild Rover Productions, are one of 16 companies to benefit from a similar scheme, solely funded by Channel 4, which will help them to become more competitive. Organised through the Research Centre for Television and Interactivity, the scheme enables companies to employ a development researcher for 12 months who will develop their knowledge of television markets. (CD)
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