30/08/2011

Irish Fairy Story Could Be 'Dream Come True'

Although it is very early days, a new DreamWorks produced movie series may be coming to Ireland, writes Brian McCalden.

The company, founded by Steven Spielberg, has recently bought the rights to a fantasy book that is actually set among the 'Fae' or the fairy folk in the Irish Republic.

Fever, a five-part saga involving a war between the 'wee people' and humans, could be a wish come true for both the Irish Film Board (IFB) and also the production facility, Ardmore.

The tale of Irish mythology - written by Karen Marie Moning - is part of a project that the IFB said is however at "a very early stage".

A spokeswoman told Regional Film & Video that the organisation is keeping tabs on the development - announced at the end of August - and that their Los Angeles-based representative, Jonathan Loughran, is keeping particularly close to the movie deal as it develops.

She was speaking amid news that the author has already said that she will try to get the film made on location in Ireland.

She told the Sunday Times: "When I first saw Dublin, I knew I was going to set a story there. I've long felt an inexplicable fascination with Ireland."

If the movie were to be filmed in the Emerald isle, it could also be welcome news for the local TV and film production facility, Ardmore.

Although refusing to comment any further, Kevin Moriarty, Managing Director of Ardmore Studios told RFV: "I am not in a position to provide any information at the moment.

"We are currently exploring the options on a number of productions," he said.

He wouldn't comment on any speculation of the production of Fever, or it being set in Ireland - or being filmed at the Ardmore facility - and wouldn't be drawn.

"It would be premature to comment on any specific production," he said.

It could be a 'fairy tale ending' for Ardmore however, as the recent decision by the Starz network not to proceed with a second series of the big budget TV drama series Camelot after the conclusion of season one on US screens was bound to have been a blow.

Mr Moriarty believes the pullout could provide an unexpected but welcome opening for other producers currently hunting for a high quality facility with a proven track record of success.

He said: "The loss of Camelot is disappointing, but I am optimistic that we could soon have another production in its place."

Based in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ardmore Studios is Ireland's leading film and television production centre and has called 'action' on over 100 movies since it first opened in 1958, including many screen classics and Oscar winners, such as The Lion In Winter, Braveheart and My Left Foot.

This tradition of excellence has continued right up to the present day, most notably with The Tudors: "The success of The Tudors firmly underlines Ardmore's credentials as a top quality production venue and while it is difficult to second guess the decision to drop Camelot, I am pleased that we received a lot of positive feedback about it that reflects well on the facilities and services we provide at Ardmore.

"From the point of view of a film or television producer, it can sometimes be a major challenge to find a quality production facility, so in that light, the opening created by the departure of Camelot represents a real opportunity," concluded Mr Moriarty.

Productions based in Ardmore can also avail of generous tax incentives for filming in Ireland - since 2008, film and television productions filming in the Republic can claim back up to 28% of their spend in the country.

See: Camelot Closure Creates Unexpected Opportunity At Ardmore Studios

(BMcC/CD)

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