New screen skills academy for NI teens

  • A new Production Design and Film Construction Academy is open in Belfast to applicants aged 16-19 aspiring for a career in Northern Ireland’s screen industry.

    Successful participants will have the opportunity to work alongside local costume designer Enda Kenny, who worked on Academy Award nominated movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and make-up artist Connie McGrath, who worked on the television series ‘Krypton’ and Paramount Pictures’ production of ‘The Lost City of Z’.

    Students will also be able to develop industry skills in areas of production design and set construction, which will include painting, carpentry and hairdressing.

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    The Production Design and Film Construction Academy will run between November 2019 and May 2020 in two phases. The first phase which will run from November to December offering participants a series of master classes and workshops facilitated by industry professionals in areas such as costume, make-up and set decor.

    Participants will then be invited to apply for the second phase, which will commence in January through to May. This phase will teach skills needed in the art and construction departments, to then be used on a production of a short sci-fi film to be shot in April.

    The programme is being delivered by Nerve Belfast and Northern Ireland Screen, and is supported by Belfast Harbour, whose CEO Joe O’Neill commented: “As part of Belfast Harbour’s strategic ambition to establish Northern Ireland as a leading European creative and media hub, we have already invested £20m in the Belfast Harbour Studios which opened in 2017 and have committed £35m to expand the facilities."

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    Belfast Harbour’s plans for the expansion of the Belfast Harbour Studios complex at Giant’s Park include six new studios and supporting workshops.

    Screen Academies Manager at Nerve Belfast, Jennifer McAlourm said that the Academy “intends to provide new entrants with the technical skills, creative opportunities and ‘real world’ production experience that they need to gain employment within our local screen industries.”

    The Academy will run from November at Nerve Belfast at Havelock House, the former home of UTV Studios. Young people can apply now by visiting

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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