Paul Greengrass Supports #SaveNIFilm Campaign
Hollywood director and Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart lend support to film fund campaign as projected cuts are announced
One of Hollywood's most influential directors, Paul Greengrass, has spoken out against cuts to groundbreaking education programmes that will affect thousands of young people across Northern Ireland.
The proposed 50% cuts to Northern Ireland Screen’s budgets, announced last week, will devastate Northern Ireland’s three Creative Learning Centres (CLCs) in Derry~Londonderry, Belfast and Armagh, where young people from all backgrounds are taught about the art of filmmaking. View an example of the Nerve Centre's Teaching Divided Histories output below.
Also affected by the cuts are the popular art house cinema Queen's Film Theatre, Belfast Film Festival, Foyle Film Festival, Cinemagic – who run an annual International Film and Television Festival for Young people in Belfast – and CultureTECH creative industries festival in Derry~Londonderry.
Best known for Hollywood blockbusters Captain Phillips, The Bourne Supremacy and the Northern Ireland-made Bloody Sunday, Greengrass – a BAFTA-winning director – visited Derry~Londonderry in 2013 as part of its UK City of Culture celebrations and was inspired by the work of the Nerve Centre.
The devastating impact of proposed funding cuts across the region has now prompted him to speak out: 'The vibrancy, creativity, commitment, inventiveness, and sheer scale of the cultural activity taking place in Derry – particularly amongst young people – was to me breathtaking and inspiring,' Greengrass said.
'Those of us who have had the privilege to be welcomed to Derry and have seen this wonderful city emerge from dark days to stand as a beacon of hope not just for our country but for Europe and far beyond, can only register the strongest protest at the extent of the proposed cuts to the Education and Film sector in Northern Ireland. And for Derry, so also for Northern Ireland as a whole.
'Northern Ireland is now an established fixture in the international movie landscape – a place to come and make films, sustained by boundless local talent and ingenuity. But we are only at the beginning of the journey to what can be achieved here in terms of jobs and creative opportunities for the next generation. We must protect what has been built. And we must continue to develop it.'
BBC Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart, meanwhile – who played bass with indie act Colenso Parade before moving behind the mic at BBC Radio Ulster's Across the Line programme – has also joined the Nerve Centre’s campaign against the cuts and is urging young people to get involved.
'[The Nerve Centre] has been a vital utility for the young people of Derry in so many different ways since I was a young nipper. To cut its funding would be tragic. Take literally 60 seconds of your time and go and sign the campaign petition [to #SaveNIFilm].'
The Nerve Centre’s work in the area of creative learning and film education impacted on over 30,000 people last year, including teachers, youth leaders and young people, 80% of whom are from disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland.
Foyle Film Festival is the only Oscar affiliated festival of its kind in Northern Ireland. Filmmakers whose short films win the Light In Motion (LIM) Competition can automatically submit their film for Oscar consideration without the normal theatrical run.
This year the festival showcased the work of Northern Irish filmmakers, namely Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa, directors of the hugely successful Good Vibrations, who tutored aspiring Spielberg's on the do's and don't of getting their films made.
The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has asked Northern Ireland Screen to prepare for cuts to its budget next year from £1.9m to £1m. The proposed cuts will also affect organisations across Northern Ireland.
To show your support for the #SaveNIFilm campaign, follow this link to fill out a short letter of objection to the Northern Ireland Executive. Visit the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website to learn more about potential cuts to NI arts sector in general and support the #13pForTheArts campaign.