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Cannes? Pah. Belfast. Yes, really.


Cannes? Pah. Belfast. Yes, really.

While the world looks to Cannes and all things Gatsby, there is another city feeding from Hollywood and reinventing itself on...

3 Minutes Read

While the world looks to Cannes and all things Gatsby, there is another city feeding from Hollywood and reinventing itself on the global stage. Belfast's now has a thriving ecosystem of creative agencies and post production companies that are attracting a significant chunk of TV and movie spending from around the world. HBO’s hugely popular “Game of Thrones” is shot, edited and produced in Belfast while the BBC’s stunning new crime drama “The Fall” is made there and features Belfast as a compelling backdrop to the action. In fact, Belfast is more than a backdrop to the drama but a character in its own right. The future looks bright for Belfast after many decades struggling through post industrial decline, exacerbated by the political troubles of Northern Ireland. The political instability is over and now the city seems to have its swagger back. 

The catalyst behind Europe's answer to Hollywood has been the Northern Ireland Screen agency. The agency runs a dedicated investment vehicle with a remit aimed at driving economic value and wider cultural engagement across Northern Ireland. It sets regular strategy cycles and is currently deep into a 4 year plan ambitiously titled Driving Global Growth. The agency seeks to expand and deepen Northern Ireland’s capacity and success in producing film, television and digital content on a global stage and by all accounts its working. The new 4 year plan strengthens Belfast's creative learning centres and exhibition sectors, helping to build new skills into the economy and strengthen the city's appeal to international tourists. HBO’s Game of Thrones exhibition to be held in June is expected to draw hundreds of international visitors to Belfast's newly rejuvenated Titanic Quarter

Belfast is not alone here however as a clutch of new digital hubs rise up phoenix like from the former industrial heartlands of the West. Glasgow’s Pacific Quay to Manchester's Media City show what can happen with joined up government thinking and private sector talent. Belfast, Glasgow and Manchester now join other post-industrial cities now carving out a new future on the global stage. For a city once rich and successful, famous for linen, shipbuilding, the RMS Titanic and the birthplace of Van Morrison not to mention Snooker's infamous Alex “Hurricane” Higgins, the future is looking much, much brighter. “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” as The Great Gatsby would say...


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