Morgan O’Sullivan, A great ambassador for Ireland and worthy recipient of IFTA’s Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award.

At this year’s 8th Irish Film & Television Academy awards (IFTA) Morgan O’Sullivan will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award.  The awards ceremony will take place at Dublin’s Convention Centre on 12 February.

Most would agree that Morgan O’Sullivan has been the single most significant figure for the Irish Film Industry for more than 25 years. When I first began working in Irish Film in 1992 Morgan was already a legend at Ardmore Studios. In my years about the studio’s I have always witnessed Morgan going about his business at Ardmore in a warm and friendly manner. As producer he has always shown tremendous passion for the industry, bringing bigger and better production to Ireland over the years. And one who always has the greatest of respect of crews through out all sectors of the industry.

The list of production that he has bought to theses shores are some of the best that have been produced in Ireland over the past 25 years. They would include Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, at that time the most ambitious production to have been done in the previous 20 years.

Braveheart proved to  a turning point in the Irish film industry, providing Irish crews with a great  opportunity to gain experience and develop their craft on a major Hollywood movie, the industry has never looked back.

Some of the other production Morgan was responsible since then include The Count of Monte Cristo, Veronica Guerin, King Arthur, Reign Of Fire, Angela’s Ashes, Tristan & Isolde, Ella Enchanted, PS I Love You.  Morgan was also responsible from bringing and producing many ‘CBS move of the week’ here in the mid 90’s some of which I worked on, including A Secret Affair and The Adventures of Mrs Polyfax. I also worked on many feature films that Morgan produced including David Copperfield, An Everlasting Piece, The Seventh Stream and Becoming Jane. I owe of my success and development to projects that were produced by Morgan O’Sullivan.

In recent years film making has been going through a transition, and there are many changes in the way we work.  The number of big budget movies have been in decline, the development of digital cameras, advances in green screen technology, 3D movies and with the arrival of HDTV many productions are going straight  to DVD.

Over the last 10 years American networks have produced many high quality TV dramas such as The Sopranos, The West Wing, The Wire, a among others, such productions attract big stars and have been sold worldwide to other networks, plus the added sales from the Series box sets. Morgan has been quick to respond to industry changes by switching to producing high quality TV dramas.

In 2006 Morgan was successful in bringing Showtime to Ireland produce The Tudors, the series proved a  major success in all 4 series were shot in Ireland, and is currently been shown around the world. Following up on the success of the Tudors,  Morgan in 2010 began work on Camelot is a historical-fantasy-drama TV series based on the legend of Arthur co-produced by the Starz cable network and GK-TV it will premier in America on April 1st , 2011.

The success of the Tudors and Camelot has highlighted a deficiency in our own Film industry, we need a modern studio. Ardmore Studios first opened on May 12, 1958 by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce Seán Lemass. Ardmore now in private hands since the 80’s has seen no serious investment since the mid 1070’s and is now seriously out-dated for modern film making. (see previous posts I have written)

In a recent interview with Matt Cooper on Today FM (Friday 14th January) Morgan highlighted the fact if we are to continue to compete in a changing film environment. Larger and more modern facilities will be required for today’s film-making.  Plans are already under-way for a new 3 new studio development in Wicklow. Lets hope Morgan will continue to strive to see this second film studio up and running in the near future.

Best wishes to Morgan on this award he truly deserves for his vision and determination to achieve the best in Irish Film production, and a terrific ambassador for Ireland.

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