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Top US movie exec Bill Daly hails Northern Ireland's film industry 'a hidden gem': Man behind Harry Potter and Lethal Weapon

By John Mulgrew

Published 24/09/2015

An executive who worked on blockbusters including the Harry Potter, Lethal Weapon and Batman films has praised Northern Ireland's movie industry as a "hidden gem".

Former Warner Bros vice-president Bill Daly was heavily involved in some of the best known movies of the last 25 years.

His grandparents hailed from Coleraine and he is currently in the province visiting relatives.

He will also speak this week at the Icons technology festival in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

Mr Daly said he could see no reason why Northern Ireland cannot grow its burgeoning movie industry even further.

"I don't know why not," he said. "The tax incentives are very good to draw people in."

He praised the Paint Hall Studios in the Titanic Quarter, which he visited in 2011.

"It's such a great facility, what they have done there is fantastic," Mr Daly said.

"HBO was one of our sister companies, and they had talked about going to Belfast, which I was encouraging them to do.

"It was a hidden gem. But a lot of the US thinks Northern Ireland is still under siege.

"I talk to everyone about here and have become the biggest preacher about Northern Ireland."

He said that while the huge success of Game Of Thrones was welcome for the province, he hoped another large project could be found to fill its boots once filming of the popular fantasy series finally comes to an end.

This is something that could come to fruition in light of reports there are plans for a new £10m film studio to be built in Belfast.

Mr Daly is currently working on three new movie projects, including one that he hopes will be shot in the Coleraine area.

The proposed film concerns a fictitious town centred around a brewery that is bought out by a conglomerate.

Mr Daly added that he was excited about speaking at the Icons technology festival, which kicks off today.

"I suspect people coming to it will want to hear stories about the films I have worked on," he said.

"But I also plan to tell them what my own experiences were.

"I didn't wait for opportunities - I went out and made them.

"I'm one of those people who believes you make your own luck.

"And part of that luck is putting yourself in the right place at the right time, and recognising opportunities."

Belfast Telegraph

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