Oscar-nominated director and producer Sir Ridley Scott is to executive produce six horror, thriller and science fiction films that will be mainly shot in Northern Ireland.
The man behind cult classics Alien and Blade Runner and his production company Scott Free London is partnering with Orchard Media and Focus Features International on the low-budget feature films over a period of three years.
Ridley Scott Presents is funded through Northern Ireland Screen Fund with support from Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund.
Focus Features International will handle worldwide sales of the movies which will shoot primarily in Northern Ireland using local crew, cast members, services and facilities.
Scott (right) said: “Our target is to create a structure that enables film-makers to push boundaries and to excite audiences. Our proposed model of film-making allows us to give directors the opportunity to really innovate through narrative, production techniques and distribution strategies.”
Focus Features International’s Alison Thompson added: “There’s an appetite and market for high-concept, low-budget films — that combined with Ridley Scott’s pedigree will be very attractive to international buyers.”
A statement from Orchard said: “We believe this is a very exciting opportunity for talent, distributors and investors.
“Film-makers often spend a great deal of time and energy raising and closing financing.
“By funding the slate (run of scheduled films) upfront we can allow film-makers to focus entirely on the creative aspects of the filmmaking process.”
Head of production for Northern Ireland Screen, Andrew Reid, said the film body had been looking for a model which would allow it to forecast future production in Northern Ireland over the next few years.
“Orchard and Scott Free brought us a compelling proposition to complement our other large incoming productions, such as Game Of Thrones,” Mr Reid added.
“It also potentially provides an outlet for developing Northern Ireland creative talent.”
For more information on the announcement visit www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk
English film director and producer Sir Ridley Scott got his commercial breakthrough in 1979 with Alien. His best-known works are sci-fi classic Blade Runner (1982); Thelma & Louise (1991); Oscar-winner Gladiator (2000); Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom Of Heaven (2005), Robin Hood (2010) and Prometheus (2012).