Hollywood Director Hits Out at Proposed 50% Cuts to Nerve Centre's Education Programmes

Hollywood Director Hits Out at Proposed 50% Cuts to Nerve Centre's Education Programmes

One of Hollywood's most influential directors, Paul Greengrass, has spoken out against cuts to groundbreaking education programmes that will affect thousands of young people across Northern Ireland.

The proposed 50% cuts to Northern Ireland Screen’s budgets, announced earlier this week, will devastate Northern Ireland’s three Creative Learning Centres (CLCs) in Derry~Londonderry, Belfast and Armagh, and the Nerve Centre’s hugely popular Foyle Film Festival, INTO Film Clubs and Film Education programmes.

Best known for Hollywood blockbusters Captain Phillips, the Bourne Supremacy and the Northern Ireland-made Bloody Sunday, the BAFTA-winning director visited Derry~Londonderry last year as part of its City of Culture celebrations and was inspired by the work of the Nerve Centre.

The devastating impact of proposed funding cuts across the region has now prompted him to speak out:

'The vibrancy, creativity, commitment, inventiveness, and sheer scale of the cultural activity taking place in Derry – particularly amongst young people – was to me breathtaking and inspiring,' Greengrass said.

'Those of us who have had the privilege to be welcomed to Derry and have seen this wonderful city emerge from dark days to stand as a beacon of hope not just for our country but for Europe and far beyond, can only register the strongest protest at the extent of the proposed cuts to the Education and Film sector in Northern Ireland. And for Derry, so also for Northern Ireland as a whole.

'Northern Ireland is now an established fixture in the international movie landscape – a place to come and make films, sustained by boundless local talent and ingenuity.  But we are only at the beginning of the journey to what can be achieved here in terms of jobs and creative opportunities for the next generation.

'We must protect what has been built. And we must continue to develop it.'

BBC Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart has also joined our campaign against the cuts and is urging young people to get involved:

'Northern Ireland is going back to the stone age,' he said. 'There are proposals to cut 50% of the funding to the Nerve Centre in Derry. This place has been a vital utility for the young people of Derry in so many different ways since I was a young nipper. To cut its funding would be tragic. 

'Take literally 60 seconds of your time and go and sign the campaign petition via www.nervecentre.org.'

The Nerve Centre’s work in the area of creative learning and film education impacted on over 30,000 last year, including teachers, youth leaders and young people, 80% of whom are from disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has asked Northern Ireland Screen to prepare for cuts to its budget next year from £1.9m to £1m.

The proposed cuts will also affect other organisations including Cinemagic, Belfast Film Festival, the Queen's Film Theatre, and CultureTECH.

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