THE COST of travelling and staying in Fermanagh is putting potential film makers off coming here.
That was the message delivered to local councillors in a letter from NI Screen, who said the price of an overnight and the area’s distance from Belfast were the main obstacles to securing more film shoots in the area.
Back in June, the local council had written to NI Screen asking for more locations in the Fermanagh and Omagh area to be used as filming locations.
In the letter, Council chief executive Alison McCullagh highlighted the “many location options for filming that this district can offer,” noting the Fermanagh Lakelands, the Sperrins, several National Trust facilities and the Ulster American Folk Park “to name but a few.”
She acknowledged how Northern Ireland had “certainly been put on the world map” with filming locations in recent years, but urged NI Screen and the Arts Council to consider more Fermanagh and Omagh district locations in the future.
In his response to the Council correspondence, the NI Screen chief executive wrote back to the claiming the body presented many of Fermanagh and Tyrone’s “fabulous” locations to producers.
He said the company has “extensive Dropbox photographs” including The Ulster American Folk Park, Crom Castle, Florence Court, Castle Coole, the Colebrook Estate and Fermanagh Lakelands.
However, he said producers were reluctant to use such locations.
“Unfortunately, productions are often reluctant to use locations that are further away from Belfast as it means they have to pay overnight costs,” said Richard Williams. “That said, there has been significant use of locations within your council area.”
Mr Williams said Big Dog Forest and the Marble Arch Caves were most recently used in productions.
He added: “We can only encourage productions, we cannot control them but we will write to all of the location managers working in Northern Ireland and ask them to more firmly press the case for Fermanagh and Tyrone locations alongside the other further afield locations in Derry and Strabane.”
Mr Williams said this was the responsibility of NI Screen and that the Arts Council was “off the hook”.
NI Screen’s response annoyed many councillors, who voiced their disappointment.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh said the response was “very concerning” and indicates “a complete lack of vision or ambition for our area.”
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