Northern Ireland Screen has published the second edition of its Adding Value Report, a celebration of the spectacular range of opportunities, jobs and experiences pursued within and supported by the screen industry in Northern Ireland.
Covering the period from September 2013 to June 2016 the report offers an insight into what growing the screen industry in Northern Ireland really means for the broad range of individuals involved.
Since 2013 production of film and TV drama here has continued to boost the local economy and provide employment for hundreds for people. Cameras rolled on The Frankenstein Chronicles; The Truth Commissioner; Line of Duty; Morgan; Millie Inbetween; Miss Julie; Lost City of Z; The Journey; We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story; The Secret; The Fall; My Mother and Other Strangers and of course Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones continues to have a big impact on Northern Ireland. While the monetary value alone is significant, with an estimate expenditure by the end of season 7 of £166 million, the series has catapulted Northern Ireland into the premier league of global production locations such has been its positive impact on our reputation. This report seeks to offer an insight into the skill, craftsmanship, pride and commitment that goes into making the biggest show in the world.
Local animation companies have attracted considerable international interest over the period and are consolidating into a significant and sustainable sector. In the period this report covers, Lily’s Driftwood Bay has become a hit worldwide, Puffin Rock likewise has reached our screens and picked up awards, Zig and Zag have returned in animated form and Pablo, the first children’s series to be made about a character on the autism spectrum, began production.
Gaming and mobile has stepped up in Northern Ireland since the previous report with a growing cluster of local companies now involved in digital and interactive content. We launched Greenshoots NI in partnership with Microsoft, a funding and technical support initiative for early stage start up game studios. We have also seen Northern Ireland becoming home to the team Of Kings of Men.
The report also gives a glimpse into the future of the screen industries as it highlights some of the many talented trainees taking their first step, be it on our Aim High development programme or through the DEL Animation and Gaming Development Academies. These trainee development schemes aim to equip people with the skills and experience required to take up new opportunities, as well as address the needs of our local screen industries.
Over the last three years, Northern Ireland talent has truly shone. Short film Boogaloo and Graham directed by Michael Lennox won a BAFTA and picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. Later in the year Michael’s feature debut A Patch of Fog made it into official selection in the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Aislinn Clarke also progressed her work on short horror films to make her directorial debut with The Devil’s Doorway.
Writer/director Stephen Fingleton’s debut feature film, The Survivalist, received critical acclaim following its screening at Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Industry magazine Screen Daily called Fingleton ‘a major discovery’. The film went on to be shortlisted for two British Independent Film Awards, with Stephen winning the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director, as well as being named as one of this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough Brits alongside local actor Martin McCann who starred in the film.
Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2015. The fund has become a critical tent-pole of the growing independent production sector in Northern Ireland contributing approximately £3.5 million in turnover, as well as offering superb training programmes.
The Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund continued to support a wide-range of local programming, 85.8 hours of television and three digital content projects being commissioned in the 5 years of its existence. Paul and Nick’s Big American Food Trip brought the story of Ulster Scots in America to 350,000 viewers across UTV in Northern Ireland and STV in Scotland. The documentary series Brave New World explored Canada and New Zealand’s remarkable cultural connections with Ulster, the next series looking at our connections with Australia. The Five Fables app was also critically received, winning a Celtic Media Festival Torc, which like the original animated series of the Robert Henryson poems translated by Seamus Heaney into modern Ulster-Scots was again narrated by legendary comedian Billy Connolly.
Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive went online in 2015; the archive contains almost 80 hours of moving images from 1897 to 2014. Over time cine film deteriorates and the Digital Film Archive aims to capture, digitise and preserve film material, ensuring that Northern Ireland’s screen heritage is safeguarded for future generations. Some of the newly added archive footage includes films from the BFI’s well known Mitchell and Kenyon collection of Derry~Londonderry and Belfast from 1901, as well as contributions from local filmmakers, the late Archie Reid and Roy and Noel Spence.
Northern Ireland Screen also had success in terms of its education activity. In June 2015 delegates from all over Europe gathered at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris to discuss the future of film education in Europe, Moving Image Arts, Northern Ireland’s distinctive film education course for 14–19 year olds, was presented to delegates as an exemplary project.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We cannot believe it has been almost three years since our last Adding Value Report in 2013. So much has happened in that time which Northern Ireland can be proud of, it has been a great period for the screen industries here, with lots more exciting projects in the pipeline.
“We hope readers will enjoy learning about the companies and individuals that work in the screen industries here and feel the same pride that we do at what they have achieved not just locally but nationally and internationally.
“These are exciting times and we are very conscious that this is the result of tremendous support given to the screen sector here by Invest Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy, the Department for Communities, the British Film Institute and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. ”
To view the Adding Value Report please click the link at the top of the page.
If you would like a printed copy of the Adding Value Report please email [email protected]