Film executive who helped bring Game Of Thrones to Northern Ireland honoured

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Richard Williams (Mary McVey)

A film executive who was instrumental in bringing Game Of Thrones to Northern Ireland has told of his delight at being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Richard Williams, the CEO Of Northern Ireland Screen, is to be awarded an OBE for services to the Screen Industries in Northern Ireland.

According to the latest figures from Northern Ireland Screen, an estimated £251 million has been returned to the Northern Ireland economy as a result of Game of Thrones filming there.

Mr Williams said: “I am delighted to accept this award which I see as a celebration of the tremendous value to Northern Ireland from the growth of the screen industries here and also recognition of the part that all my colleagues at Northern Ireland Screen have played in that success story.”

Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams
Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams (PA)

He hailed Game Of Thrones, which airs on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK, for “transforming” the screen industries in Northern Ireland.

Mr Williams said: “It leaves a legacy of film studio infrastructure at Titanic Studios and Belfast Harbour Studios, an experienced crew hailed by HBO as the best crew in the world; supply chain companies used to dealing with the highest demands of modern content production; a screen tourism footprint that covers most of Northern Ireland and will be built on greatly in the near future; and, a brand association that provides the screen industry with the highest level of credibility.

“However, more than anything else, Game Of Thrones has unlocked a self-confidence in the next generation of screen industry talent who genuinely believe anything is possible.”

A substantial portion of the gritty series, based on the George RR Martin fantasy books, was filmed in Northern Ireland over the show’s eight series run.

Other names being honoured in the film sphere include co-founder and chief executive of Left Bank Pictures Andy Harries, who will receive an OBE for his services to film and television.

Andy Harries
Andy Harries (Left Bank Pictures/Jack Harries)

Mr Harries, whose credits include The Crown, The Royle Family and Mrs Merton, said: “I love The Royle Family and I love the Royal Family.

“I have been lucky enough to make amazing shows over the last 30 years that span the breadth and width of British culture and British talent.

“Mrs Merton or her Majesty? It’s a tough call, but I am honoured to accept the OBE on behalf of the UK’s creative industries. We punch above our weight around the world with our great shows – long may it continue.”

Other recipients include Nicola Shindler, who is being awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting.

Her production company has made TV shows like Happy Valley, Queer As Folk and Scott And Bailey.

There is a CBE for Morris Angel, the chairman of long-established costume supplier Angels Costumes.

There is also an OBE for Alastair Fothergill, the producer of Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

Girl From The North Country actress Sheila Atim has been made an MBE for services to drama and Cary Rajinder Sawhney, director of the London Indian Film Festival, was made an MBE for services to film.

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