The first Indian film to shoot in Northern Ireland begins principal photography today. The team behind DAVID, directed by Bejoy Nambiar and produced by Swapna David of Hobo Pictures Ltd, has been on location recce and in pre-production for over a week and will begin filming today, Wednesday 12th September, on location in the city.
The film was enticed to Northern Ireland on the back of a trip to India earlier this year by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster. In a collaborative effort between Invest Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen, Indian Production company Getaway Films has received £30,000 funding through the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
An intriguingly woven three-story film that spans three different decades, the first part of the tale is set in the 1970s and will film on location in Belfast.
The story, which will be shot in black and white, follows an Indian Muslim in Belfast, the eponymous David of the title, who works for Ghani, a devout Muslim and local mobster. After the loss of his own father, David looks up to Ghani as a surrogate father and mentor. However, David soon faces a moral dilemma when he discovers a dreadful secret in Ghani’s past.
Welcoming the film team to Northern Ireland Minister Foster said "I had the opportunity to meet the Indian film industry in April, during a visit to India organised by Invest NI. The company was considering a number of locations for the making of this film so I am delighted that we were able to secure this for Northern Ireland.
"The value of attracting an industry that has an audience of over a billion people globally cannot be underestimated. Not only will this raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a movie location, but it will also bring in a fresh wave of tourists to Northern Ireland – something that has been proven in other countries that have played host to Indian movies.
“There are also potential opportunities for Northern Ireland's growing creative industries sector. I applaud the efforts of Invest NI’s India team and NI Screen in promoting Northern Ireland and hope that we will see more Indian movies made here as a result.”
Swapna David, producer, DAVID: “Belfast has been a treasure chest of beautiful locations, fabulous people and a very supportive local government. Minister Foster and the Invest NI's India office have been amazing in their effort to introduce us to Belfast and to coax us to explore Northern Ireland as a filming location for Indian Films. And since we have been here, NI Screen and the Belfast Council have extended their sincere warmth and support, so much so that we don't feel like this is our the first time here. I am surprised that Indian films haven't been here before and am very thrilled that we are the first Indian production here. This is just the beginning. We are looking forward to being back here next spring."
Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen: “We are delighted to welcome the cast and crew of DAVID toNorthern Ireland. This might be a first for us but we hope not the last. India has a rich history of film-making and Indian cinema is a recognized global industry. In pursuit of our mission to develop the screen industry in Northern Ireland, it makes sense to look east, as well as west, in terms of inward investing films.”