Belfast Telegraph

Movie and TV industry helps see £270m roll in to the Northern Ireland economy

 

By Rebecca Black

Northern Ireland's popularity as a filming location is worth around £270m to the economy, an industry figure has said.

The second series of the Channel 4 hit Derry Girls and the highly anticipated finale of Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones were among the highlights of a bumper 2018.

In total, nine TV dramas and six feature films were made here in the last 12 months.

Northern Ireland Screen chief Richard Williams said the industry is now estimated to be worth £270m. Game Of Thrones alone is estimated to have brought more than £206m into the local economy over eight series.

The HBO show's legacy is set to live on through a tourism project.

The 2018 roll call, which includes Mrs Wilson and Krypton's second series, were all filmed with funding support from NI Screen.

Cameras also rolled on Dublin Murders, Doing Money, Death And Nightingales and Line Of Duty's fifth series.

Torvill And Dean was shot on location here earlier in the year and will be aired in a prime time slot on ITV at 9.15pm on Christmas Day.

However, it is not just dramas which are flourishing, but the animation sector too.

Sixteen South's Lily's Driftwood Bay was nominated for best pre-school series at the 2018 International Emmy Awards, and took home an Irish Film and Television Award for best animation.

Pablo from Paper Owl was nominated for a children's Bafta.

There was success for local filmmakers, with The Dig, written by Belfast man Stuart Drennan and directed by Ryan and Andrew Tohill, winning best Irish feature at the Galway Film Fleadh and enjoying a North American premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.

Other independent films shot this year include Cathy Brady's Wildfire, Terry Loane's Agatha Christie & The Truth Of Murder, Aoife Crehan's The Last Right and Paul Billing's Angel Makers.

Meanwhile, the sixth instalment in the Paul and Nick franchise, Paul and Nick's Big New Zealand Food Trip, broadcast on both UTV and STV to strong audience figures.

NI Screen has focused on skills development and training to help the sector grow locally. This included employing 65 trainees in craft and technical, production, post-production, animation, gaming and VFX roles.

The body also ran a new entrants' training course for 36 people and placed 12 undergraduates in animation and gaming roles, and launched two new schemes, Aim High 5 and an animation internship, as well as five other training programmes.

Mr Williams said 2018 had been a fantastic year for the screen industries in the local region.

"As we enter phase 2 (2018-22) we hope to deliver a minimum of £300m in direct Northern Ireland spend, a 20% increase on Phase 1," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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