Film maker calls for more investment in the arts

MISS JULIE... Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain in a scene from 'Miss Julie'

MISS JULIE… Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain in a scene from ‘Miss Julie’

MORE investment is needed in the local arts scene to help boost jobs and tourism in the long-term, as well as inspiring local young people, according one of the country’s top filmmakers.
Christopher Myers, a film location manager and works with BAFTA-winning production company Out of Orbit Ltd, will be returning to Fermanagh next week to give a talk at Castle Coole on recent film productions shot in the county, such as Miss Julie which was filmed on location at the National Trust property, as well-as BBC comedy Blandings.
Speaking to the Herald ahead of the talk at Castle Coole on September 10, Mr Myers was glowing on the county’s stunning natural landscape which he said was “world class”, and our grand houses which “can’t be recreated” and provided and an attractive setting for filmmakers.
He added the value of having film and TV productions located in Fermanagh was immeasurable, such as in creating jobs, promoting the area on the big and small screen, and, most importantly, providing inspiration for young people and a longer-term legacy for the area.
“It’s all about inspiration, and creating a legacy” said Mr Myers, who originally hails from London but has family connections in Fermanagh. “If you look at when we did Miss Julie, and Colin Farrell was out in local coffee shops getting selfies taken with local young people. That showed them Hollywood isn’t some distant place.
“When you see the Hollywood machine rolling into town, that helps inspire people.”
Mr Myers  also worked as assistant location manager on Game of Thrones, and said the HBO series was the perfect example of how filming could help transform an area’s tourism potential and economy.
“Long after the cameras have stopped rolling it will still be bringing people here,” he said, adding Northern Ireland Screen had “chased the show” and put significant resources into research and attracting GOT to the North.
“In 20 years time it will still be filling hotel rooms and putting people on planes here. The tourism scene on the north coast has changed because of it.”
He added: “Northern Ireland is in fashion now, but we need to work to keep it in fashion. We can’t be complacent.”
Overall, Mr Myers said more investment was needed in local arts, and pointed to examples such as the Happy Days Samuel Beckett festival, which was cancelled this year due to funding issues, as an example of an arts project that had attracted people from far and wide to the county.
The talk by Mr Myer’s at Castle Coole house on September 10 takes place as part of a series of events for the European Heritage Open Days 2016 festival.
As part of the talk, there will be a special screening of locally-shot Out of Orbit short film ‘Land is God.’ Starring Ciaran McMenamin and shot on location near Castlecoole, the film was directed by Jonathan Beer it was produced by Mr Myers and BAFTA-winning local man Brian J Falconer, and was supported by Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism.

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