Belfast Telegraph

Slumdog director Danny Boyle slams Northern Ireland's arts budget cuts

By Cate McCurry

An Oscar-winning director and a Hollywood actor have weighed in on the arts budget row, saying young people will be forced to leave the province to study if the cuts are implemented.

Leading filmmaker Danny Boyle and top actor Ray Winstone have backed a campaign against a 50% cut to Northern Ireland's arts budget.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) plans to cut arts funding from £1.9m to £1m.

The cuts will hit Northern Ireland's Creative Learning Centres, as well as Cinemagic, Belfast Film Festival, the Queen's Film Theatre, and CultureTECH.

The Nerve Centre has started a campaign against the cuts, and has called on the public and users of their services to send objections on their website.

Hollywood director Boyle is known for his multi-million pound movies including Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later and Trainspotting.

He said Trainspotting had its first public screening at the Foyle Film Festival in Londonderry 18 years ago.

"Throughout those 18 years, film has played an important role in the transformation of the city," he said.

"Once the subject of heart-rending tragedies, Derry is now the shining host for cinema from around the world and for the promotion of local talent in the film industry."

Popular actor Winstone, famed for his roles in The Departed, Nil By Mouth, Scum and Great Expectations, has also backed the Nerve Centre's campaign against the cuts.

"I cannot over-emphasise the importance of festivals in general, and Foyle Film Festival in particular, in providing a platform for independent films dealing with subjects outside of mainstream cinema," he said.

"I had the huge honour of launching the Foyle Film Festival in 2012 with Ashes, the first time the film had been shown on the big screen.

"Without the Foyle Film Festival, Ashes would not have received that platform or the exposure thereafter."

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