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Studio's two new movies 'will bring 1,000 jobs'

By Donna Deeney

Published 16/09/2015

Possible star: Johnny Depp
Possible star: Johnny Depp

A clapperboard will signal the start of shooting on two major films in Northern Ireland within weeks which are expected to create a jobs bonanza.

Jo Gilbert, who founded Shackleton Studios in Ballykelly, said a thousand of jobs will be created on site for the duration, with hundreds more to follow as a result.

Jo was also instrumental in setting up the Paint Hall Film Studios in Belfast - now known as the Titanic Studios - in the Titanic Quarter.

Shackleton Studios occupies 600 acres, including hangars and other buildings, at the former MoD base.

Ms Gilbert was giving little away about the films, or what stars might soon be spotted around the small Co Londonderry village.

The cast of the two productions will be revealed before Christmas, but already speculation is mounting that they could include huge box office draws like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.

But she did confirm one will be a British production and the other an American project with a cool budget of $65 million. She confirmed that the US production has the potential to attract two and possibly three other films by the same director.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Gilbert explained: "It is all rather exciting and if everything goes according to plan production will begin within the coming weeks.

"This is exactly what we are looking for, and in fact we have the capability to handle five major productions at the same time on site, so the sky really is the limit.

"These two productions, one is a smaller movie based solely in studio with a budget of £3.5m, but the other is a major studio and location picture, which will create around 1,000 jobs for the duration.

"These will range from jobs within the creative industry to painters, electricians, caterers - the whole nine yards."

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