New writer scheme launched for NI talents after local Netflix success 'The Land of Saints and Sinners'

Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds In the Land of Saints and Sinners
-Credit: (Image: Netflix)

Could you be the next breakout writing talent in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland Screen has launched its New Writer Focus (NWF) scheme for 2024-2025 and are looking for the next big thing in local film and TV.

The call comes as local writer Mark McNally’s film, The Land of Saints and Sinners, appeared on Netflix, to critical acclaim.

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Mark is the most recent NWF recipient and Northern Ireland Screen is on the lookout for other talent from these shores to follow in his footsteps.

The scheme, which is now seeking scripts to develop, is only open to Northern Ireland resident writers new to feature film.

Ursula Devine, Development Executive at Northern Ireland Screen, said this was a great opportunity for aspiring screenwriters.

She said: "The NWF scheme is your chance to develop your script and bring it to the attention of industry professionals.

"Whether you’re an emerging voice or a seasoned writer venturing into feature films for the first time, NWF provides an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Mark McNally, Susie Farrell, Tess McGowan and Colum Eastwood.”

The latest film to emerge from this partnership was The Last Rifleman, written by New Writer Focus screenwriter, Kevin Fitzpatrick, directed by Terry Loane and starring Pierce Brosnan.

Northern Ireland Screen has said it is looking for compelling stories with a unique or fresh perspective, ambitious authored voices and stories with strong character journeys, as well as a range of art-house and commercial stories.

The New Writer Focus scheme comprises three major components, namely a Writers Room, with monthly meetings, individual project and writer development, and development seminars and networking opportunities.

Up to four scripts will be chosen for development between September 2024 and April 2025.

If you’d like to apply, you’ll need a first draft completed script of the project you wish to develop through the scheme, as well a one-page synopsis of your story.

The scheme is open to NI resident writers who not have not yet had a produced feature film and writers who have not already completed NWF. Writing teams of up to two writers can also submit a joint application.

The closing date for applications is midnight, Sunday, June 23, 2024

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