Belfast’s Titanic Studios has opened two new film and television production studios at a cost of £8.3 million.
The new stages add an additional 42,000 sq ft to the existing 70,000 sq ft Paint Hall facility that has been operating since 2007 when the Tom Hanks-starring feature film City of Embers was made in the city. Currently home to the worldwide HBO television hit Game of Thrones, the expansion transforms the studios, housed on an eight-acre site in the historic dockyards where the ill-fated Titanic was built, into one of the largest and most modern television production bases in Europe.
Funding for the development was provided by Titanic Quarter – home to the recently opened Titanic museum, science park and a burgeoning financial services hub – and Invest NI.
Chief executive David Gavaghan said: “[The new stages] are a most timely addition to our film production landscape as Titanic Quarter seeks to ensure Northern Ireland capitalizes fully on the huge global opportunities which exist in this sector. International demand for film-set location in Northern Ireland is currently outstripping our resources and it is vital that further investment in ‘Hollywood ready’ studio space and supporting infrastructure is forthcoming. Northern Ireland has never had a better opportunity to increase its market share within the screen industry”.
The new studios will be named after Belfast film-makers Brian Desmond Hurst (whose films include the war thriller Dangerous Moonlight and the 1951 film Scrooge starring Alastair Sim) and William McQuitty, director of the Titanic epic A Night to Remember and a co-founder in 1959 of Northern Ireland’s commercial television broadcaster, UTV.