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'Lights, Camera, Action’ At Titanic Studios

'Lights, Camera, Action’ At Titanic Studios

1st October, 2012


£8m Film Production Extension Opened at Titanic Quarter.

Northern Ireland’s growing reputation as a leading global film-making location received a major boost today as the First and deputy First Minister officially launched an £8.3m extension to Titanic Studios at Titanic Quarter. 

The addition of two new sound stages will establish Titanic Studios as one of the largest and most modern film and television production sets in Europe.   The stages have been named in honour of film directors, Brian Desmond Hurst and William MacQuitty, two Belfast men who are widely acclaimed within the movie industry.  

Speaking at today’s launch ceremony, David Gavaghan, CEO of Titanic Quarter, said:

“Titanic Quarter is now a hub for the creative media sector, propelling Northern Ireland onto the radar of some of the world’s largest TV networks and film production companies. Currently home to HBO’s Game of Thrones, Titanic Studios is one of the largest fully functioning film studios in Europe and has been the set location for highly-acclaimed movies such as ‘Your Highness’ and ‘City of Ember’.

“These new sound stages are a most timely addition to our film production landscape as Titanic Quarter seeks to ensure Northern Ireland capitalises fully on the huge global opportunities which exist in this creative sector. International demand for film set locations in Northern Ireland is currently very strong and the opportunity for further investment in ‘Hollywood ready’ studio space and supporting infrastructure looks very encouraging. There has never been a better opportunity to increase our market share within the screen industry.”

The new studios incorporate high performance acoustic fabric, high-level walkways and rigging gantries with power, lighting and internal environment options to suit the full spectrum of film production uses.  

Guests at today’s official opening included representatives from Titanic Quarter Ltd, NI Screen, Invest NI and family descendants of Brian Hurst and William MacQuitty.

Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen, said:

“In 2007 Northern Ireland Screen identified the need for a studio facility in Northern Ireland, which would add value to our overall proposition to promote Northern Ireland to the worldwide production sector.  Having taken the lease on the Paint Hall and effectively turning it into a fully-functioning studio, we were able to secure our first large incoming production, ‘City of Ember’, which was followed up by a feature film from Universal Pictures and a pilot and subsequent series of ‘Game of Thrones’ from HBO.  

“Tribute must be paid to Titanic Quarter and the Northern Ireland Executive through Invest NI, for recognizing the need for further studio infrastructure to help boost our standing in the global marketplace.  The construction of the two new purpose-built stages is a major addition to our portfolio and will further boost Northern Ireland’s credentials as a first-class production location.“

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Allan Esler Smith, great-great nephew of Brian Desmond Hurst, said:

“Northern Ireland has always had a depth of creative talent and the foundation stones of our film-making industry were laid down by Hurst and MacQuitty. It is a source of great pride that we now have these world-class film and television production sets on our doorstep, and it is a great honour for the families of Brian Desmond Hurst and William MacQuitty to have these new studios named after them.”

Born in east Belfast in 1895 and dubbed the Quentin Tarantino of the 1940s, Brian Desmond Hurst directed the perennial Christmas classic, ‘Scrooge’, in 1951. He was posthumously honoured with a cherished Directors’ Guild of Great Britain blue plaque in April 2011. 

William MacQuitty was born in Belfast in 1905 and directed films such as ‘Happy Family’ and ‘The Beachcomber’ before his biggest hit, the Titanic epic, ‘A Night to Remember’. He also helped found UTV in 1959. 

The new sound stages provide 42,000 sq ft of additional studio space to complement the existing c.70,000 sq ft already available at Titanic Studios.