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16/04/2009

Universal Agrees Northern Ireland Film Industry Deal

There has been a warm welcome for news that a major multi-million dollar feature film will be made in Northern Ireland this summer.
NI Executive First Minister Peter Robinson and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced that Universal Pictures will shoot the film.
The film, Your Highness, will be shot entirely in Northern Ireland's own studio facility, The Paint Hall, in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.
It is expected that the filming of Your Highness on location in Belfast, could infuse as much as £10m into the economy, employing hundreds of cast, crew and extras from Northern Ireland.
Mr McGuinness said: "This announcement is fantastic news for the local film industry.
"During our recent 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 following several months of negotiations between the studio and NI Screen and we are pleased to announce that pre-production will commence later this month with principal photography due to start in early July," he said.
Mr Robinson said: "This is a major boost for not only the local economy, but also for Northern Ireland’s film industry.
"Northern Ireland has beaten off stiff competition from other regions and film commissions to secure this film and I am certain that the commitment displayed by Universal will lead to further investment by other US film/TV production companies.
"Universal is home to successful franchises such as Jurassic Park, Back to the Future and the Bourne series, Oscar-winning films including King Kong and Focus Features' Atonement and of course, last year's massive global box office phenomenon, from Universal, Mamma Mia.
"We look forward to seeing Your Highness and know that it will help put Northern Ireland on the map as a major location for the film industry."
Executive Vice President of Universal Pictures and Co-President of Production Jimmy Horowitz commented: "Filming Your Highness in Northern Ireland allows us to capture the extraordinary beauty and topography which resemble the Medieval European backdrop in which this story takes place.
"It also makes good financial sense given Northern Ireland's film incentive program, the favorable exchange rate and a local infrastructure that is well suited for this type of project.
"We appreciate the opportunity to work in Northern Ireland," he said.
Northern Ireland Screen Chief Executive Officer, Richard Williams, who accompanied the Ministers on their recent meeting with Universal said: "We welcome the confirmation that Your Highness is coming to the Paint Hall and are very much looking forward to working with Universal.
"This means a great deal to Northern Ireland in terms of economic benefit, helping grow the industry here and showing the world that Northern Ireland can pull in another major Hollywood film."
The film will be directed by David Gordon Green and is written by Danny McBride and Ben Best.
Scott Stuber is producing through his company Stuber Productions and Danny McBride and James Franco will play the lead roles.
According to NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster: "In 2007, Invest NI offered £12million of support towards NI Screen’' three year strategy which aims to grow the local film and television industry and contribute to the development of the local economy.
"It is clear that Invest NI and NI Screen have delivered tangible results, with today's announcement further 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.
(BMcC/KMcA)
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