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Northern Ireland Screen wrap up 2016 with a bundle of Awards, Broadcast and Locations highlights
22 Dec 2016 : Katie McNeice
'The Survivalist'
Of its many accolades this year, NI Screen is proudest of Northern Ireland’s ongoing reputation as a top filming location in Europe for both film and television.

Just this year, the following top series helmed in NI were aired: ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’, ‘Line of Duty S03’, Millie Inbetween S02’, ‘My Mother and Other Strangers’, ‘The Lodge’, ‘Secret Life of Boys’, ‘The Secret’, ‘The Fall S03’ and of course the sixth season of ‘Game of Thrones.’

Throughout the week of April 29th in particular, drama helmed in NI held the prime 9pm viewing slot on Sky Atlantic, BBC2 and ITV simultaneously with ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Line of Duty’ and ‘The Lodge’ respectively.

Also in broadcast news, ‘The Lodge’ maintained its status as the highest-rated series launch in the last four years. Additionally it was the first show commissioned by Disney UK to air on its counterpart USA channel.  

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen:
“2016 has been a fantastic year for the screen industries in Northern Ireland which have grown in reputation and confidence, with the whole breadth of the sector receiving national or international recognition. It is testament to the fact that the screen sector is growing stronger as a whole and is a driving force within Northern Ireland.

“When we launched our 4 year strategy in 2014, Opening Doors, we aimed for a direct spend of £250m in the local economy based on an investment of £42.8m, I am delighted that as we approach the final quarter of the third year of this strategy we are well on our way to achieving this with an estimated £194m Northern Ireland spend to date on an investment of £24m by Northern Ireland Screen.

“These are exciting times and we appreciate that this is the result of tremendous support given to the screen sector here by the Department for the Economy, Invest NI, the Department for Communities and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.”

Awards Highlights
This recognition of Northern Ireland’s quality content was furthered even more with a monumental amount of award wins and nominations.

‘Game of Thrones’ maintained its annual stand-out awards scoop with another twelve Emmy wins bringing its total across all seasons to thirty-eight—a new Emmy record. The show also earned nine Creative Arts Emmys, with additional awards for Carla Stronge, Ronan Hill and Pamela Smyth. Ronan Hill was also honoured with his third consecutive Cinema Audio Society Award for his work on the show.

In the Broadcast Awards, both ‘Line of Duty’ and ‘The Secret’ earned nominations in the Best Drama Series category, with the latter also earning the award for Best Drama at the RTS NI awards, for which ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’ was also nominated.

Feature Film Highlights
The debut feature film ‘The Survivalist’ from Stephen Fingleton earned the Writer/Director the IFTA Rising Star Award, in addition to its nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor in a Lead Role in Film (Martin McCann) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Film (Olwen Fouéré).

‘The Survivalist’ was also nominated for the Best Outstanding Debut category from BAFTA and for a Best Screenplay Award from the Writers’ Guild. ‘A Patch of Fog’ writers John Cairns and Michael McCartney were nominated for the BIFA Best Debut Screenwriter award.

‘The Journey’ starring Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall premiered at Venice Film Festival, followed by its selection for the Toronto International Film Festival.

With similar international success, Six Mile Hill Productions’ ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ enjoyed its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. ‘Hostage to the Devil’ from Marty Stalker will release to Netflix in January 2017 and premiered at the Frightfest Festival 2016.

Animation Highlights
‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’ creators Sixteen South continued to garner acclaim for the teams’ outstanding work in animation this year, with three major awards.

Sixteen South was named the Independent Production Company of the Year at the BAFTA Children’s Awards in November. It also received the Prix Jeunesse International award and a British Animation award for ‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay.’ This project was additionally nominated for Broadcast’s Best Pre-School Programme award.

Fellow studio Dog Ears received the Best New Series and Best Animated Series awards at the Kidscreen Awards for ‘Puffin Rock’, which also boasts three nominations at the upcoming Annie Awards.

Documentary & Factual Programming Highlights
Erica Starling brought to the national attention the mental health care of children with ‘Kids in Crisis’, which won Current Affairs – Home Awards at the RTS Television Journalism Awards.

‘Project Children’ from Alleycats TV likewise received recognition for its hard-hitting subject matter: NI children being brought to the US at the height of The Troubles. It earned the top prize at the IFI Doc Fest Awards and has gone on to air on BBC2 NI and BBC4, and is presently available on BBC iPlayer.

Factual programme ‘The Man Who Shot the Great War’ was also nominated in the Factual Single category at the Celtic Media Festival.

Film Archive Growth 
The Digital Film Archive at NI Screen how holds over 124 hours of material, with 50 added as part of the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage Project since April 2015.

This material has been enjoyed by the public online and at special screenings as part of the BFI’S Rural Britain campaign which culminated with a unique audio visual performance in the Marble Arch Caves in August.

Education Highlights
2016 marked the ten-year anniversary of MIA A-Level qualification in Northern Ireland, growing from sixty-nine students in 20016 to seven-hundred and nine this year.

It is is now offered at GSCE and AS-level with 50 schools now offering Moving Image Arts at GCSE, 100 at AS-Level and 76 at A-Level.

Funding Highlights
The Ulster Scots Broadcast Fund (USBF) increased the number of hours of Ulster Scots programming to 25 hours in 2016.

‘Belfast to Congo: A Deadly Mission’ received an RTS NI Award nomination for Best Factual Single.

Projects supported by the Irish Language Broadcast Fund also continued to receive recognition with a Young People nomination for Wwoofáil California at the Celtic Media Festival.

‘Folk Aduaidh’, ‘Sheehy Skeffington’ and ‘Meon Eile’ were nominated for TV Series of the Year, Film/Programme of the Year and Website of the Year respectively at the Oireachtas Media Awards.

This year also marks the highest enrolment rate for Irish language trainees, with a total of twelve new participants beginning their training.




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