Northern Ireland certainly hasn’t had it easy during the economic crisis of the past few years.
However, the country’s financial doom and gloom is steadily being put behind them as they make way for the glittering world of film and television.
Supported by Northern Ireland Screen, the government backed agency aims to maximise not only the educational side of the film industry, but also the financial rewards that this multi-million pound industry can bring. The group receives funding from the UK Film Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and European Regional Development Fund among others. This money is distributed for script and slate development as well as to get scripts for both films and TV into production. Advice is also on offer to those wanting to bring filming to Northern Ireland about where to film, permissions to film and employing local crews.
Northern Ireland's biggest name to date is the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones; a fantasy medieval TV series, filmed principally at the Paint Hall in the Titantic Quarter of Belfast. Due to size and nature of the filming, it created hundreds of jobs for local people who were rewarded with nominations for 13 Emmy's. The first season used an additional five locations within Northern Ireland for shooting, while season two saw a further five locations included. The success of productions like this mean that for every £1 that Northern Ireland Screen invests, it returns £4.80 towards the economy.
The Paint Hall, part of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard, was once again used as the set of the post nuclear war sci-fi film, City of Ember. With stars such as Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean), Liz Smith (The Vicar of Dibley) and Bill Murray (Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day), the film took 16 weeks to shoot and was finally released in 2008 to mixed reviews.
From medieval sci-fi to musicals, Dublin is to play host to its first Bollywood film featuring two of the industry’s most famous actors, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. Ek Tha Tiger or Once There Was a Tiger, have filmed approximately 40% of the film in Northern Ireland at locations including Temple Bar and Trinity College. With a crew of 70 and filming lasting for 1 month, the film will be released in 24 countries with an estimated audience of 100 million people. With a recent survey revealing that films influence 20% of watchers to visit Northern Ireland that makes approximately 20 million extra tourists.
In this economic climate, individuals, businesses and now countries have to think of new ways to attract visitors and bring in money. By bringing the film industry to Northern Ireland, not only does it bring in location filming fees but it creates jobs for local people, attracts people to come to visit the area and ultimately ensuring the survival of the economy.
Tourism minister Arlene Foster reported earlier in January that there was a 6% increase on tourism in Northern Ireland between January and September of 2011, alone; compared to figures in 2010. The recent influx of TV and film productions can’t be solely responsible; however, the free publicity they provide for the country’s locations seems to have done nothing but great things in boosting Northern Irish economy and tourism rates.
This article was written by GoIreland.com
Promo for "Game of Thrones" season 2:
"City of Ember" trailer:
"Ek Tha Tiger" filming in Trinity College: