Coastal villages are the real stars in festive film

Filming at the Londonderry Arms Hotel. INLT 50-631-CON
Filming at the Londonderry Arms Hotel. INLT 50-631-CON

Glenarm and Carnlough provided locations for the filming of a new festive Cinemagic production.

In A Christmas Star, Glenarm doubles for Pottersglen, a fictional village , while Carnlough ’s landmark Londonderry Arms Hotel also has a starring role.

From its whitestone farmhousesto the walled gardens, castle and marina, Glenarm was chosen to “embody the village” at the heart of this “charming family feature film”. Almost 100 cast and crew, including Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey) and Bronagh Waugh (The Fall) who switched on Larne’s Christmas lights, were on site for a fortnight. They were joined by 11 budding young actors who got the chance to act alongside the professionals.

Locations manager Stephen Killen said: “One of the main reasons we chose Glenarm as our primary lo-cation was because of the scenery. It is an incredibly beautiful and picturesque little village, and thankfully, it was very close to Belfast. Another reason was due to how helpful and keen Larne Council was to let us film here.

“The local community re-ally got involved in the project. Pupils from Seaview Primary School made Christmas dec-orations for a festive market scene, Broughshane Primary appeared as extras in the film, and the Londonderry Arms Hotel provided the production base and accommodation for the film’s cast and crew.”

Denise O’Neill, proprietor of Londonderry Arms Hotel, commented: “It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to have looked after the

cast and crew of the Cinemag-ic production ‘A Christmas Star’ over the last two weeks.

There has been tremendous excitement both in the hotel and in the village of Carnlough as the Cinemagic entourage took up residence.

“A particular highlight for us was the actual filming that took place in our Coach House Bistro and we look forward to seeing the hotel itself feature in the final production.

“Watching from the side-lines, I have been so inspired by the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of each and every member of the Cinemagic team and I have no doubt that they are in the process of creating a truly spe-cial and very unique film.

“I have had the opportunity to learn more about Cine-magic - its role generally in the film industry, and more particularly, the work it is doing,

both with and for children, teenagers and young adults in Northern Ireland is extremely impressive and so deserving of our support.”

Denise was confident that the spectacular coastal back-drop will inspire others to visit this particular stretch of the Causeway Coastal Route and trusted that “word will spread in the film industry that this particular part of the Antrim Coast offers not just simply stunning scenery, but also an enthusiatic welcome and can-do supportive attitude from everyone living and working in this area”.

A Christmas Star is Cinemagic’s latest project which marks the beginning of 25th anniversary celebrations. Cinemagic is an award-winning festival that embraces the magic of film, television and digital technologies to “educate, motivate and inspire young people.

Cinemagic chief execu-tive, Joan Burney Keatings, MBE said: “The scale of this project is so large, our first scene had 12,000 people in it. The film in its entirety will in-volve 14,000 people in North-ern Ireland. We have received great support from mentors

and industry professionals travelling from as far away as New York to be a part of A Christmas Star’

“Ultimately, the opportunities created for the young people and children both in front of and behind the cam-era are the most important part of this unique project.

Nothing like A Christmas Star has ever been done before. We are full of enthusi-asm and belief for the project and cannot wait to see the

finished product.”

A Christmas Star, a unique, educational and cultural film, will be screened by BBC

NI and UTV simultaneously next Christmas and will further reach a global audience through Cinemagic in the United States, Great Britain and Ireland. The project is supported by OFMDFM, Creative Skillset, Tourism Ireland, Aer Lingus, BBC NI, UTV, Department for Social Development, George Best Belfast City Airport, Pan-avision, Subway and Arts and Business Northern Ireland.

For further details on “A Christmas Star”, visit www.cinemagic.org.uk or search for the film on Facebook and Twitter.