Belfast born director, Oscar winner (The Shore, 2011) and Oscar Nominee (Hotel Rwanda, 2004) Terry George speaks out in support of the #SaveNIFilm Campaign

The news that the Belfast film Festival, the Foyle film Festival, Cinemagic and the Queens Film Theatre are to have their grants cut by 50% is extremely distressing news. They are the bedrock of the Northern Ireland film community. They already exist on minuscule budgets and from what I’ve heard it is highly possible that one or indeed all could go under.

It may be both popular, and in the short term productive, to encourage the film and television divisions of large multi-national corporations to film in Northern Ireland by offering them large subsidies and tax incentives. However, movies and TV series rise and fall, other countries come up with more attractive offers, and big companies take flight at the first sign of an easier dollar. If the Northern Ireland Film industry is to sustain itself, if our local technicians and craftsmen and assistant directors are to find work in the province, if the big local sound stages are to be filled, then we need local writers, directors, actors and creative talent. These are the people who have been nurtured by our local film community. They are the children and teenagers who gain the desire to be part of this industry through Cinemagic, who go on to make their own small, short and independent films and screen them at the Belfast and Foyle festivals, and who gain recognition and awards and screen at the QFT.

We need these people, we need these local organisations. Don’t crush our little guys to feed the giants!

Terry George