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HBO to film TV pilot in Northern Ireland

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

First Minister Peter D Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA, have confirmed that HBO, the USA’s leading pay cable network, will film a TV pilot in Northern Ireland this year.

'A Game of Thrones', is scheduled to arrive in the third quarter of 2009 and is set to be an epic project. It is expected that the production will utilise various locations, as well as build a massive set in the Paint Hall.

Mr Robinson said: “This is the first time that a TV production of such vast size and scale has been filmed in Northern Ireland. The announcement comes following the visit by the deputy first Minister and I to Los Angeles in March. It will be a welcome boost to the production sector, helping develop the industry here and bringing employment and investment to Northern Ireland.

“HBO is a recognised worldwide brand, with their programmes broadcast in over 150 countries. Securing this project over a number of competitors is a major coup for Northern Ireland. HBO has an enviable reputation for offering very high quality, original programming, receiving critical acclaim for its productions including Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers and of course The Sopranos.”

Mr McGuinness said: “During our recent trip to Los Angeles, the First Minister and I met with senior executives from HBO to help finalise the deal to bring the TV production here. Negotiations had been ongoing with NI Screen, which was able to offer production finance through its Screen Fund supported by Invest NI.

“At a time of economic downturn, we have sought to bring a new and diverse range of investments here to create jobs and build experience. The creative industries are one key area.

“Coming in the wake of the announcement by Universal Studios, this is a further boost for this sector and evidence that even in the midst of a difficult economic climate, we can attract world leading companies to our shores.”

Richard Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Ireland Screen, stated: “HBO has been responsible for some of the most dynamic and successful TV series ever broadcast, and we are absolutely delighted to welcome the HBO team here, we are really looking forward to working with them on such an exciting project. This is a real coup for Northern Ireland and further cements our reputation as a leading centre for film and television production, as we continue our rapid growth into what is one of the most powerful and vibrant industries in the world.”

Culture and Arts Minister, Gregory Campbell said: “Success in attracting TV productions such as 'A Game of Thrones' is vitally important in developing our local creative industries and artistic productions. Northern Ireland Screen is to be congratulated for their role in attracting this project and further enhancing the type of productions that are now being developed here.”

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Following on from the recent Universal announcement, this decision by HBO will deliver additional major benefits to the local economy and profile Northern Ireland’s reputation as Europe’s premier film and television production location. Invest NI and Northern Ireland Screen are to be commended for their ongoing commitment to developing the local film and television sector, and securing such prestigious productions in the face of increasing global competition.”

Notes to Editors:

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