News: George R.R. Martin Secures Irish Funding Boost For Nightflyers

George R.R. Martin has secured a significant funding boost from the Irish Film Board for his sci-fi horror series Nightflyers. It received €850,000 ($1.1M) from the Irish funding agency, the largest single award in the association’s latest round of funding. It will be filming at Limerick’s Troy Studios. Syfy had officially given a straight-to-series order for the series earlier this month. Universal Cable Productions will produce, with Netflix co-producing and having first-run rights outside of the U.S. 

Originally published as a science fiction short in 1980 by Analog Science Fiction and Fact, the story was turned into a 1987 film that didn't do very well at the box office. It starred '80s female lead Catherine Mary Stewart. The story sees  nine academics head into space on the ship Nightflyer, prisoners to a madman intent on killing them. Martin spoke about the series script, saying that:

“Honestly, at first I was baffled as to how they hoped to get a series out of my story, since at the end of the novella…pretty much everyone is dead (it was a horror story, after all). But in May, UCP got me a copy of Jeff Buhler's script, and I saw how he'd dealt with that. It was a good read, and yes, I came away with a better idea of where they'd find a few seasons.”  

 Mike Cahill (I Origin) will direct the pilot, and Andrew McCarthy (Orange is the New Black) will serve as a producer-director. The show stars Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) as Dr. Agatha Matheson, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin, David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris, Sam Strike (EastEnders) as Thale, Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie, Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl and BrĂ­an F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie. 

The latest funding round saw the Irish Film Board support a variety of projects after a successful year for Irish cinema, they supported funding in the total of €84m (US$105M), a 58% increase on 2016. They are now looking at various  initiatives that will support female talent, increase regional production spending and, and committing €6 million for Irish animation over the next three years. 

IFB Chair Dr Annie Doona said that: 

“As is evidenced in the wonderfully varied 2018 slate of productions, the definition of ‘Irish film’ continues to evolve and transform, as well as entertain and delight. We strive for this annual showcase of Irish creative talent to be as equal and diverse as possible because supporting a multiplicity of Irish voices is integral to the work of the IFB. We have made some progress in the implementation of our Six Point Plan on Gender Equality, and we remain committed to achieving all targets set in our strategy in the years ahead. What our audiences see on screen not only reflects society but challenges, subverts and ultimately transforms it. The screen is a powerful channel."