LA praise boosts bid to promote Cork’s film industry

An influential LA producer praised Cork’s film industry yesterday, as the Cork Screen Commission (CSC) unveiled plans to entice projects south, away from studios in Dublin and Wicklow.

The video message from Creative Differences’s Dave Harding, who works on some of National Geographic’s most high-profile documentaries, and who was the executive producer of the epic Dark Secrets of the Lusitania, was screened at the launch of the commission’s 2012 annual report. The documentary, which featured a major dive on the wreck, was one of the most complex documentary projects ever shot here.

Mr Harding said he was “pleasantly surprised” to find everything he needed for the shoot — technical and crew expertise — in the region, and praised the access and co-operation afforded to the team by state and local agencies.

“I would return to shoot in Cork in an instant,” he said.

The CSC’s annual report detailed 60 productions which have taken place in the region over the last year, including short films, TV documentary series, TV historical and factual series, music videos, online promos, commercials and infomercials.

The commission said it is engaged with Enterprise Ireland to promote the development of a Cork-based studio, an animation company and a dedicated high-end post-production house. It is liaising with British film scouts who have visited sites in Crosshaven, Cobh and Wellington Rd in recent weeks looking for locations to shoot a horror film. It is in talks with a British company which is considering shooting scenes at Cobh’s liner terminal for a feature film set in 1950s America, tracing the Irish in America.

And it is planning a national marketing drive highlighting Cork’s film and TV locations, from the city’s mix of ancient and modern architecture, to the county’s period villages and stunning scenery.

The old and vacant terminal building at Cork Airport, and the National Maritime College of Ireland’s training pool which can recreate storm conditions, will also feature.

But the ringing endorsement from Mr Harding is seen as a major boost to the region’s film industry.

Cork Screen Commissioner Niall Mahoney said work building a vibrant and sustainable screen industry in Cork has advanced significantly.

CSC is a joint initiative of Cork County Council, Cork City Council and the Cork Film Centre.

It has a database of 72 on its cast directory, 65 crew, 22 production companies and 716 listed locations.

*www.corkscreencommission.com

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