NORTHERN Ireland talent was the toast of the film industry on Sunday night after scooping success at the most glittering awards show on Earth, the Oscars.
Although Kenneth Branagh missed out on the gong for Best Supporting Actor after being nominated for his role in My Week With Marilyn, and Jordanstown woman Helen Dallat was unfortunate not to win for her illustrative work, it was Terry George who kept the flag flying and stole all the plaudits when he collected the award for Best Live Action Short Film for his work, The Shore.
The Belfast-born director had previously been nominated for an Oscars for his screenplay for the 1993 film In The Name Of The Father, and again for Hotel Rwanda in 2004.
The Shore – written, directed and produced by Mr George – was shot entirely on location in Coney Island, Co Down, and tells the story of the fictional Jim Mahon who returns to Belfast with his daughter Patricia after 25 years in exile having fled Belfast’s Troubles decades earlier.
Local actors Ciaran Hinds, Conleth Hill and Maggie Cronin are among the cast.
After receiving his award at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Mr George thanked the people of Northern Ireland.
“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,” he said.
Yesterday, First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness praised the film, particularly for showcasing the stunning Ulster coastline to audiences across the world.
“We congratulate Terry George and the cast and crew of ‘The Shore’ and also Northern Ireland Screen, which provided the funding for its production,” they said in a statement.
“Winning an Oscar is a brilliant achievement and this short film showcases our position as a premier location for film and TV production.
“It is a vote of confidence and global recognition for our ongoing commitment to the film industry.
“The cinematography captures the beauty of our coastline and gives cinema-goers the world over the opportunity to view our beautiful landscapes.”
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said the award was a “fantastic achievement” by the Northern Ireland film industry.
“It is wonderful that local talent and hard work is being recognised on the global stage,” she added.
The Shore was produced in association with Northern Ireland Screen and Tourism Ireland.
Danny Moore, Lough Shore Investments founder and executive producer of The Shore, said: “The Lough Shore model is to invest in world class management teams with big aspirations and a passion to succeed.
“When Terry George first approached us about The Shore he certainly had those big aspirations and winning that much-coveted Oscar was his ultimate goal.
“For us, The Shore afforded a very unique means through which we could showcase Northern Ireland abroad, both as a place to do business, film or otherwise, and as a rapidly expanding tourist destination.”
Silent movie The Artist was the big winner at the Oscars taking five awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.
Director Michel Hazanavicius - winning on his first ever nomination - thanked the dog, Uggie, who appears in the film but added: “I don’t think he cares.”
The film also won the Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Costumes.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo also won five Oscars, mainly in technical categories.
And Meryl Streep won Best Actress for her portrayal of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady – her 17th Oscar nomination and third Oscar win.
See Business, page 23.