Acclaimed film-maker Tom Collins has called on the local councils in Derry and Donegal to appoint a screen officer to promote the North West around the world as a film location.
Tom said the creation of a cross border screen officer would “push the area around the world as a new centre to create films. The landscape is amazing and cross border co-operation between the councils would be a practical step forward.”
The award winning director, who has twice been nominated as Ireland’s entry for the Foreign Film Category in the ‘Oscars,’ said he always looks forward to shooting films in Derry.
Tom, who hails from the city, said a screen officer “could make it easier for film-makers to get projects off the ground. There are lots of good people involved in the film industry here and they need some way to channel government help which is already available.”
Tom’s new film ‘Penance’ begins shooting in Derry and Ramelton in the coming weeks and the director said he is ‘excited’ at the opportunity to film close to home.
An open casting call for extras was held in the city at the weekend and Tom said the response was ‘fantastic.’
“There has been great feedback in Derry and Donegal and it gives me an opportunity to touch base with local actors and extras,” he said.
The film follows firebrand priest Father Eoin O’Donnell and teenage parishione, Antaine, leading up to the 1916 Rising. They meet up again 50 years later in Derry as the ‘Troubles’ are erupting in the north.
Tom said the characters are not based on people he knew while living in Derry ‘because I would get sued! I chose characters that people could relate to.’
‘The film tries to look at the effect of 1916 on 1969 and how history is all tied in together. “I love the thought of working and filming in the north west again.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage, but now I am really excited.”