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Twinbrook man Terry George will arrive home this weekend

West Belfast celebrates Oscar success

By Gráinne Brinkley

THE celebrations for Twinbrook film director Terry George are set to continue this weekend as he returns home to Ireland after picking up an Oscar for his short film ‘The Shore’. The film took the top prize in the Best Live Action Short Film at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Monday night, causing much celebration among his West Belfast family and friends who were assembled at the Anchor Bar in Killough, County Killough, to watch the awards ceremony live.


Terry has been nominated for an Oscar on two previous occasions – one in 1993 for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for In the Name of the Father, and Best Writing, Original Screenplay in 2004 for Hotel Rwanda.

‘The Shore’, which he wrote, directed and produced, tells the story of an Irish exile (played by Ciarán Hinds) who fled to America to escape Belfast’s violence and 25 years later is bringing his grown-up daughter back to meet his childhood friends. The film was made with the help of Terry’s own family and friends and was shot entirely on the County Down coast.

In his acceptance speech at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, he paid special thanks to his daughter Oorlagh who helped find the finance for the film.

“I’d like to thank the Academy because now I don’t have to wait for her wedding to tell the world how brilliant she is,” he said.

He dedicated his award to the people of the North.

“Our little film was inspired by the people of Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, who after 30 years of war, sat down, negotiated a peace and proved to the world that the Irish are great talkers,” he said.

“I want to dedicate this to them.  This is about reconciliation in Northern Ireland, it is really close to my heart.”

Friends and family of Terry gathered in the Anchor Bar in Killough, where part of the film was shot, to watch the Oscar ceremony live. But Terry’s brother, Colin community worker Michael George, described how the family missed Terry’s big moment when the bar’s live Oscar feed cut out.

“It was a bit of a mess towards the end so the feed cut out and we did not get to see them getting the award live,” said Michael who, like most of the George family, had a bit part in the film.

“As I was out the back checking to see what was wrong Terry called me to say he got it. But we managed to see it an hour later. He was really chuffed and wanted to let everyone know how pleased he was and how grateful he was for all the help he got from everyone. He’s coming home this weekend, so we’ll probably be having another party.”

Michael described how the making of The Shore came after a time of personal loss for the George family with the death of their mother Marie in February 2010.

“The whole thing came together after a traumatic time for us, with the death of our mother and grandmother,” said Michael.

“The dedication and love everyone put into their own part is a tribute to her and the Oscar itself is a fitting legacy to someone who loved and inspired the whole family circle.”

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín congratulated Terry on his award.

“This magnificent achievement has showcased our local film-making talent on a global stage,” she said.

“I would like to again congratulate Terry and everyone involved. I am sure we can continue to build on this success as our creative industries go from strength to strength. Their achievement demonstrates the wealth of talent and experience we have in our local film industry that is now being showcased on the global stage.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, described the win as “a real boost for Belfast”.

“I am now looking forward to welcoming him back to his native city,” said the Mayor.

“This is further proof of the excellence of our creative industries and our potential for film-making.”

Executive Producer of The Shore, Danny Moore, of the company Lough Shore Investments, which helped to fund the film, said the company was delighted at Terry’s achievements.

“The Lough Shore model is to invest in world class management teams with big aspirations and a passion to succeed. When Terry George first approached us about The Shore he certainly had those big aspirations and winning that much-coveted Oscar was his ultimate goal,” he said.

“It’s been an incredible journey and we were delighted to see him deliver that moving acceptance speech last night.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday night Lisburn  City Council  voted to send Twinbrook film director Terry George a letter of congratulations on winning as Oscar for his short film The Shore.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of sending the letter at the February full Council meeting on Tuesday night.

The motion was brought by Colin Sinn Féin councillor Angela Nelson.

“I think it would also be great if the film could be shown here at the Civic Centre in light of the fact that Terry is from this Council area,” said Councillor Nelson.

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