Seventy-five jobs are to be created in the North West with the setting up of two new international film/television-related companies in Derry.
At a launch party held in the city last night, American-based entertainment law company SmithDehn revealed the firms – Social Construct Media and Smith Dehn Northern Ireland (SDNI) – would have its headquarters in Artillery Street.
Russell Smith, SmithDehn partner and Social Construct Media chief executive, said the decision to set up the companies here was due to the North West’s “amazing supply of under-utilised talent.”
“We want a European front office, not a back office. We want to hire creative, intelligent, energetic, and dynamic people who will wow our clients, step onto the global stage, and eventually represent us at film and television festivals and markets, such as Cannes and Berlin. We know we can and will hire those people here.”
Zak Kilberg, Social Construct Media’s creative director and founder, said he was “thrilled” to be in partnership with SmithDehn.
He added: “There is a vast wealth of untapped creative talent, resources, and stories here. We’re excited to connect all of this to the worldwide film and television market.”
The local hiring process for the two companies is already underway in both Northern Ireland in the Republic.
Dubbed “legal heavies” by The Wall Street Journal, SmithDehn’s client list includes broadcasters such as HBO, BBC America, Channel 4, and ITV; Hollywood studios such as Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Media Rights Capital and leading production companies such as Raw TV, Passion Pictures, and Lion Television, to name a few.
One of Social Construct Media NI’s first film projects will be a “positive, uplifting” scripted drama featuring Northern Ireland, arising from ideas to be developed by a local, cross-community story collective.
At the moment, Social Construct Media NI has a slate of three films and three TV series
planned for shooting and post-production in Northern Ireland, starting as early as this autumn.
In a related development, SmithDehn also announced the expansion of its university course on the business and law of film and television at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster in Derry by running it on an annual basis.