Belfast boxing film makes its funding target with a day to spare

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson

Makers of Guard – the Northern Irish boxing film that has attracted the support of a raft of Hollywood A-listers – are a celebrating hitting their funding target.

In spite of vocal support from Hollywood A-listers of Liam Neeson and Gillian Anderson, and local boxing star Michael Conlan, an online fundraising campaign due today (Wednesday) only just met its fundraising target of £12,000 yesterday.

Guard will now go into production in Belfast early next year as hoped.

Michael Conlan, currently training in LA for his professional debut early next year, commented:

“Guard’s a cracking project and it’ll be a great wee film. I’m getting behind it and I encourage boxing fans at home to do the same. A boxing movie set in Belfast, it’s been a long time coming”

The script, written by The Fall’s Bronagh Taggart – who also penned BBCNI’s 6Degrees – has been lauded by many in the industry, including BAFTA award-winning director of The Secret, Nick Murphy, and former President of HBO, Elaine Sperber. But the team behind the project say they need a minimum of £12,000 to make it happen.

Director Jonathan Harden, currently appearing in BBC drama My Mother and Other Strangers commented: “The support we’ve had from the industry has been amazing, but we need the people of Northern Ireland to get behind us and help get the film made. Liam Neeson, Gillian Anderson and James Nesbitt all think very highly of the script; that should tell people just how good this could be. The only remaining hurdle is financial. As hard as it is, that’s the reality of making a film.”

Belfast-born Geraldine Hughes, who starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa, is the latest name to join the long list of backers.

And Hughes, a veteran of Hollywood’s biggest boxing franchise, sees award-winning potential in the project. Speaking from her home in New York, Hughes suggested that Guard could be a contender for an Oscar: “Jonathan and Bronagh are a courageous pair who are creating a piece of work with great nobility of purpose. I support them 100 percent and am excited that a female character is getting into the ring and will no doubt be bringing another Northern Irish film to the Oscars.”

The rest of the team behind GUARD are no strangers to success. Those on board include Glengormley BAFTA-winner Michael Lennox, Emmy award winning casting director of Game of Thrones, Robert Sterne and RTS award-winning local filmmaker Sean Murray.

To find out more and to back the film, visit