A STREAM of Hollywood talent took a tour of the new West Cork Film Studios in Skibbereen last Saturday.
David Puttnam, whose films have won 10 Oscars and 25 Baftas, was joined by his wife, Patsy, as well as his near neighbour Jeremy Irons, who is one of the few actors to achieve ‘the triple crown’ – an Oscar for film, an Emmy for television, and a Tony for theatre. He was joined by his wife, Sinéad, of the Cusack acting dynasty.
Irish actor Ciarán Hinds, who was a special guest at last year’s Fastnet Film Festival, seems to have West Cork very much on his radar, because he returned this year and joined the hundreds of people who were given an early look at what the film studio can do for West Cork’s burgeoning film industry. Local award-winners were also well represented by Baltimore-based director Pat Collins.
‘We could not have gotten this far without the incredible support of David and Patsy Puttnam,’ Édaín Ní Dhomhnaill, one of the directors of the new studios, told The Southern Star. She also thanked Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O Sullivan for his support, as well as their own directors, and the large number of volunteers.
Édaín acknowledged the role that the Fastnet Film Festival has played in raising the profile of West Cork as a mecca for film-makers, but she believes the full potential for film making in this area has yet to be realised.
The new studios, located in a huge hanger-like portion of O’Donnell Furniture on the Baltimore Road in Skibbereen, will have the official opening in July.
Édaín explained how the WCFS was founded by a small group of highly experienced film makers living in West Cork. She said they identified the needs of the rapidly-expanding film and TV production units, working throughout the locality.
‘It wasn’t a broad leap,’ she said, ‘for the factory to diversify the building into a production studio’ – one that embraces ecologically-friendly technologies, and chooses best practice when it comes to environmental sustainability in film making.
Édaín who described WCFS as ‘a state-of-the art facility, with well-equipped construction facilities’ said it can offer practical and logistical support for Irish-made films.