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City of Ember set to shoot in Belfast

March 14th, 2007 by Paul Martin

The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission (NIFTC) has announced that City of Ember, a major multi-million dollar feature film, is to shoot in the province this summer.

[Side note to Walden Media: I didn’t have a chance to get up to Northern Ireland when I was in and around Dublin last week, so a set visit would rule! Plus, that’s where C.S. Lewis was born. 😉 – Paul]

Negotiations over the past six months with Playtone Productions and Walden Media (already known here for the adaptation of CS Lewis’ ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’), have resulted in the Hollywood film coming to Northern Ireland in the face of stiff competition from other regions and film commissions.

‘City Of Ember’, a children’s fantasy sci-fi adventure from the book by American writer Jeanne DuPrau, is set in a future when the earth’s citizens have moved underground to escape the planet’s toxic atmosphere. Ember is “the only light in the dark world” that is slowly dying as supplies begin to run low and the electricity generator starts to fail. The story centres around two teenagers, Lina and Doon, who are destined to be the unforeseen heroes of Ember as they dare to venture into the forbidden “Unknown Regions” to try and save their city.

The movie, which will be filmed entirely in Northern Ireland, is due to start shooting in early summer for a 16-week shoot until October. Pre-production has already begun on the massive set, which will see the former Paint Hall in the Titanic Quarter transformed into the underground ‘City of Ember’.

NIFTC Chairman, Colin Anderson, said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm that the film everyone has been speculating about for the past few months is definitely coming. This means a great deal to Northern Ireland ? in terms of economic benefit, helping grow the industry here and showing the world that Northern Ireland can pull in a major Hollywood blockbuster. In particular I would like to pay tribute to the management of Titanic Quarter who were instrumental in helping secure this production.”

Producer John Schofield for Playtone Productions and Walden Media stated: “We are very much looking forward to the Northern Ireland shoot. It’s a great place with great people and we’ve already been made to feel very much at home here. We are excited about building the city of Ember in such an historic landmark in Belfast.”

City Of Ember will be directed by Gil Kenan (‘Monster House’, ‘Pac Man’) with the screenplay by Caroline Thompson (‘Corpse Bride’, ‘Edward Scissorhands’) and is produced by Playtone Productions and Walden Media.

[4NI.co.uk]