Time taken to approve road closures for film production must be reduced - Ó Muilleoir
Speaking after a roundtable meeting with Belfast City Council, PSNI, Screen NI, the Department of Infrastructure, and film-makers, Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir called for a dramatic shortening of the time taken to approve road closures for film production.
The South Belfast MLA said:
“I met recently with location companies who say the three-month application process for road closures to facilitate movie crews is too long, too uncertain and too bureaucratic for an industry which depends on its film sector-friendliness to survive.
“If an application is refused after a three-month wait, that can jeopardise a multi-million pound film investment and put in peril jobs which are created by major film investment. In trying to make the process of film-making more streamlined and more reliable, the new legislation instead has created a headache for film producers and threatens to damage our hard-won reputation as a film-friendly city. Make no mistake: other regions and cities are queueing up to lure this lucrative but fickle industry from Belfast.
“The message from film producers to me is clear: we risk killing the golden goose of film-making which has generated so much positivity, economic benefit and opportunity for all. Anyone who doubts that should reflect on the fact that HBO only filmed the Dark Hedges on one half-day shoot. The amazing growth of the film industry mirrors the success of the peace process. However, if this industry is not appreciated and supported, it will go elsewhere.
“Today, my challenge to all the stakeholders is to reduce the time to process road closure applications from three months to three weeks."