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Among the big winners at last Sunday’s 84th Annual Academy Awards was Belfast-born director Terry George, whose short film ‘The Shore‘ won for Best Live Action Short Film.
George has previously been nominated twice at the Academy Awards, once in 1994 for Best Adapted Screenplay for ‘In The Name of the Father‘, and again in 2005 for Best Original Screenplay for ‘Hotel Rwanda‘. His win for The Shore, however, represents the culmination in a long labour of love which sought to depict Northern Ireland in a brand new light to the world.
The Shore stars Ciarán Hinds, Conleth Hill, Maggy Cronin and Kerry Condon, and centres around a man (played by Hinds) who returns to Northern Ireland after a long absence with his daughter (played by Condon) and forges a reconciliation with an old friend and an old lover (played by Hill and Cronin, respectively). The theme of reconciliation is an important one for George, who served as both writer and director on the project, with him stating in his acceptance speech:
Our little film was inspired by the people of Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, who, after 30 years of war, sat down, negotiated a peace, and proved to the world that the Irish are great talkers. I want to dedicate this to them.
George accepted the award with his co-producer – and daughter – Oorlagh, showing how much this film was a family affair. George shot the majority of The Shore in Killough, a small town in County Down, Northern Ireland, where many of the George family still reside and where George will be making a triumphant return later this week.
The film’s Academy Award success could not have been predicted when it made its initial premiere last April at the Belfast Film Festival, however, since then it has gone on to secure both an international distribution deal and cinema run, a television airing in the UK, and has even been made available for purchase on iTunes for just £1.49.
The success of the film will potentially result in a boom in tourism, but the main hope is that it will lead to an increase in activity for Northern Ireland’s film and television industry. Already this year, American cable dramas Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy have shot on location in the country, while the BBC’s upcoming crime drama The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson, has been confirmed to be shooting a significant part of its five-episode order in Belfast in the coming weeks.
All of this would have deemed unimaginable just a decade or so ago, when Northern Ireland was still in the throes of The Troubles. Yet, political advancements in the peace process and George’s own admitted fatigue with the ‘Hollywood’ way of making films all led to The Shore being made possible, and to a potential revision to the outside view of 21st century life in Northern Ireland.
Image Courtesy of http://theshorefilm.com/