herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'Business as usual' for Game of Thrones filming in the North despite result

Irish actor Liam Cunningham in Game of Thrones
Irish actor Liam Cunningham in Game of Thrones

Northern Ireland's body for film and TV productions has rubbished claims that Game of Thrones would be affected by the UK referendum result.

The concerns were first raised earlier this week, just before the UK's decision to leave the EU in Thursday's crucial vote.

However, Northern Ireland Screen stressed that production funding for the hit HBO show is not provided by European programmes.

Speaking to the Herald, a spokesperson for Northern Ireland Screen stated that it would be "business as usual" for Game of Thrones and other TV shows in the region.

"Northern Ireland Screen is not concerned about the effects of leaving the EU," they said.

"Our production funding comes from the Northern Ireland Executive through Invest NI and does not use monies provided from European funded programmes," they added.

"We look forward to business as usual."

Potential

Game of Thrones is partly filmed at Belfast's Titanic Studios and along the Antrim coast.

It comes after a senior fellow from a transatlantic co-operation organisation said it could leave US productions "up in the air".

Peter Chase of the German Marshall Fund of the United States told ForeignPolicy.com: "There are EU programmes to help fund all of this.

"If the UK is no longer part of the EU, that has the potential to go away," he added.

Meanwhile, Michael Ryan of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (Ifta) stated the decision to leave the EU was "a major blow to the UK film and TV industry".

"Producing films and television programmes is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must," he said.

Aside from providing employment for local actors and production staff, the presence of Game of Thrones in the North has contributed to the region's booming tourism industry.

It is estimated that the show has brought in as much as £110m (€135m) to the NI economy since 2010.

Several local companies also operate Game of Thrones-themed tours, with daily excursions to key locations.

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