Bumper year saw nine TV dramas and six films shot in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is celebrating a bumper year as a filming location.
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.
In total, nine TV dramas and six feature films were made in the region in 2018.
Northern Ireland Screen chief Richard Williams said the industry in the region is now estimated to be worth £270 million.
Game of Thrones is estimated to have brought more than £206 million into the Northern Ireland economy over eight series.
The HBO show’s legacy is set to live on with a screen tourism project in the region.
The 2018 roll call, which includes Mrs Wilson and Krypton series 2, were all filmed with funding support from Northern Ireland Screen.
Cameras also rolled on Dublin Murders, Doing Money, Death and Nightingales and Line of Duty series 5.
Torvill and Dean was also shot on location in Northern Ireland earlier in the year and is set to be aired in a prime time slot on ITV at 9.15pm on Christmas Day.
However, it is not just dramas that are flourishing but the animation sector too.
Sixteen South’s Lily’s Driftwood Bay being nominated for Best Pre-School Series at the 2018 International Emmy Awards and taking home the IFTA 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 native 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 also focused on skills development and training to help the sector grow in the region.
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 Scheme as well as five other training programmes.
Mr Williams said 2018 has been a fantastic year for the screen industries in the region.
“This year we came to the end of Phase 1 (2014-18) of our Opening Doors strategy. We are delighted that over this period the overall value of the sector has doubled and the economic targets set out have been exceeded – reaching £270 million against a £250 million direct spend target,” he said.
“As we enter Phase 2 (2018-22) we hope to deliver a minimum of £300 million in direct Northern Ireland spend, a 20% increase on Phase 1.”