Game Of Thrones producer says new Belfast studio 'needed' to boost film industry
A new Belfast film studio is "what is needed" to keep Northern Ireland's film industry flourishing, a producer on the TV drama Game Of Thrones has said.
Belfast City Council has approved a plan for a studio thought to be worth up to £14m to be built on the shores of Belfast Lough.
County Antrim man Mark Huffam said it would help Northern Ireland to compete in the "world market for studio space".
"Let's get it built and let's see if we can expand when it's up," he said.
"I think it's really what is needed to keep the industry going which has been doing fantastically well in Northern Ireland.
"From the films that we've already done in Northern Ireland, everybody has left with a very enjoyable experience and have always been keen to come back."
Game Of Thrones, the fantasy adventure series, is filmed at Belfast's Titanic Studios and at other locations in Northern Ireland.
Last year, the film agency Northern Ireland Screen said Game Of Thrones had contributed £110 to the local economy, while other international film projects have also been based in Northern Ireland.
Mr Huffam, who has also worked on major Hollywood films Saving Private Ryan and The Martian, said the industry was giving people opportunities for sustainable creative careers.
"You can't do it without local talent, you can't be competitive without using local talent," he said.
"The great thing with the film and television industry is it trains that talent very quickly, so we've grown that talent pool in 10 years by a multiple of 10."
The new studio will be built at Giant's Park on Belfast Lough's north foreshore and will include production space and workshops.