Northern Ireland is enjoying a production boom with several filmsbacked by the Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission (NIFTC) beginning shoots.

Seven films are due to start principal photography between now andnext Spring start in Belfast and along the border with the Republic of Ireland.

Alreadyshooting is 48 Angels, a low-budget feature set in contemporary NorthernIreland, which has just started filming on the Donegal border.

It's the story of two boys from opposite sides of the sectarian divide and of aterrorist who finds he's now lost his place in the world. It has been written anddirected by Marian Comer and produced by John McDonell and Robert Medema.

Starting principal photography this week is In Like Flynn from SuboticaEntertainment, producers of Song for a Raggy Boy.

Starring Iain Glen, Flynn is directed by first-time featuredirector Nial Heery from his own script. It's about an unemployed driver withmusical aspirations and a backwoods mechanic who discovers there is more tolife than well-stocked toolboxes and country music. TristanOrpen-Lynch and Dominic Wright produce.

Next up will be sibling drama Middletown starring Matthew MacFadyen (Prideand Prejudice) as the overzealous Reverend Gabriel Hunter who returns tohis hometown and becomes enmeshed in a battle of wills with his brother.

BrianKirk, whose credits include BBC TV drama Murphy's Law will direct from ascreenplay by Daragh Carville and Michael Casey (The Mighty Celt, FreezeFrame) will produce for Green Park Films.

AndrewHerwitz of The Film Sales Company is representing the film for worldwidesales.

Nicolas Roeg is reunited with Don't Look Now star Donald Sutherland in asupernatural thriller, Puffball, an adaptation of Fay Weldon's novel ofthe same name, adapted by her son Dan Weldon.

It'sa dark story of a couple whose lives are almost destroyed by infidelity, theparanormal and bad weather when they purchase a remote, dilapidated cottage.

Thefilm will also star Samantha Morton and Miranda Richardson and is due to startshooting in February. Salesare being handled by Wild Bunch.
After Puffball the writing/directing partnership of Pearse Elliott andPaddy Breathnach will crank up a teen horror project, Shrooms, producedby Treasure Entertainment.

Followingin March will be Sin Spree, a dark rites-of-passage drama and the firstin the NIFTC's Low-Budget Features scheme. Itcomes from the same creative team as Middletown.

March should also see Richard Attenborough's Closing The Ring startshooting in Belfast and the surrounding area.

Basedon a true story, the film is a romantic drama set in the US and Ireland about awoman whose life is changed when she finds a gold ring on an Irishhillside.

Attenboroughwill co-produce with Jo Gilbert, with the production based out of Belfast's newTitanic Studios (headed by Gilbert and sister Judy).

ActorPeter Woodward makes his feature writing debut and Jools Holland will score thefilm.

ShirleyMacLaine is attached to star in the UK-Canadian co-production, with worldwidesales handled by ContentFilm.

The turnaround in production volumes in Northern Ireland has coincided with theintroduction of the NIFTC's Film Production Fund 2004-2007.

TheNIFTC will invest between £150,000 and £600,000 up to a ceiling of 25% of theoverall project costs in a live action or animated feature film or a liveaction or animated television drama single, series or serial where theproduction can be shown to have a strong cultural relevance to NorthernIreland.

TheFund is intended to assist in completing the budgets of productions that arealmost fully financed.

TheNIFTC also adjudicates on and dispenses UK Lottery funding for film projects inNorthern Ireland.