The Northman production team win award for work with Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe in Counties Donegal, Antrim and Sligo

A production team that overcame problems caused by the pandemic by turning parts of Counties Donegal, Antrim and Sligo into a 10th century Iceland in which A List actors like Nicole Kindman, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe could strut their stuff has won a major award.

By William Allen
Friday, 25th March 2022, 2:11 pm
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 2:17 pm

The Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) will celebrate the winners of the 2022 PGGB Awards in association with Warner Bros Studios Leavesden tomorrow night, as the UK industry gathers to recognise remarkable achievements made by Production Guild members working in film or television drama within the production office, accounting, locations, assistant directing, post-production and VFX.

Six awards will be presented at the glittering ceremony hosted by comedian and TV presenter Patrick Kielty tomorrow evening (Saturday 26 March) at The Grove in Hertfordshire - including the award won by the team behind the Viking epic - The Northman.

Dan Dark, EVP Warner Bros. Worldwide Studio Operations says: “It’s been a fantastic year for UK production with so many PGGB members making such an outstanding contribution to the industry. I’m especially pleased to see how our industry is recognising the importance of Diversity and Equality and is working to make all areas of our business more inclusive. The awards this year will be a great opportunity to come together in person and to celebrate the incredible achievements of our talented winners.”

Director Robert Eggers and crew on the set of THE NORTHMAN (Credit Aidan Monaghan copyright 2022 Focus Features, LLC)

The PGGB Film Production Team of the Year Award sponsored by Panalux was presented to the production team behind the action-filled Viking epic The Northman (New Regency/Focus Features). PGGB members Mark Huffam (Producer), Peter Eardley (Financial Controller), Naomi Liston (Supervising Location Manager) Darren Chesney (Production Manager), Nikki Chamberlain (UK Production Accountant), Tom Boardman (Payroll Accountant), Barry McGoniglet (Assistant Accountant) and Jakub Malar (Assistant Accountant) collect the award for their exceptional work on the action movie set in 10th Century Iceland.

When the UK entered lockdown just days before The Northman’s principal photography was due to start in March 2020, director Robert Eggers and crew quarantined in Belfast rethinking production practises and schedules, devising innovative solutions to Covid-safety challenges, and navigating arrangements with a multi-national cast that included Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk and Willem Dafoe.

With overseas locations off the table due to travel restrictions, the team set out to recreate the Scandinavian look and feel of the film here in Ireland, rethinking locations and set building and prepping everything from costumes and props to horse-training and armory-safety during shutdown. The three month shoot finally began in August 2020 at Belfast Harbour Studios and on location at Torr Head (County Antrim) where a full Viking village was built. Other locations included Five Finger Strand (County Donegal) and The Gleniff Horseshoe (County Sligo). The Northman will be released in the UK on 15 April UK and in the US on 22 April 22 via Universal Pictures UK.

Jury Chair, Producer & Executive Producer Callum McDougal (1917, Spectre) says: “The Northman was the first major feature to shoot in Northern Ireland during COVID-19. It was an absolute trailblazer, sending a sign across the world that we could continue to work safely in this country and deliver film successfully. The team really went above and beyond, showing an exceptional degree of resilience and ingenuity whilst remaining true to the original concept of the movie.”

Ethan Hawke stars as King Aurvandil in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aiden Monaghan / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

The full list of 2022 PGGB Award Winners are:

The PGGB Film Production Team of the Year Award sponsored by Panalux: The Northman (New Regency/Focus Features)

Special mention: Rocks (Fable Pictures/BFI/Film4)

The PGGB High-End TV Production Team of the Year Award sponsored by Netflix: The North Water (See Saw Films/BBC)

Special mention: Suspect w/t (Eagle Eye Drama/Channel 4)

The PGGB Inspiration Award sponsored by BCD Media and Entertainment: Samantha Perahia MBE, Head of Production UK, British Film Commission

Special mention: Lynn Saunders, Head of Liverpool Film Office

The PGGB Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award sponsored by Equals Money: Emily Stillman (Senior Vice President, Studio Operations WBSL) and actor Charlotte Riley, The WonderWorks

Special mentions: Channel 4’s ‘Black to Front’ campaign; The Film & TV Charity’s Mental Health campaigns; Jules Hussey (Brazen Productions); Nahrein Kemp (ITV Creative Diversity Partner), Digital Orchard Foundation; Sky Productions for The Rising

The PGGB Spotlight on New Talent Award sponsored by MBS Equipment Co: Fay Mohamed

Special mention: Elizabeth Perkins

The PGGB Contribution to the Industry Award sponsored by Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden: Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, EON Productions