Northern Ireland Screen

#FilmHistory: Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive project nominated for award

Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive which has preserved Northern Ireland’s rich screen heritage is in line for a prestigious accolade after reaching the finals of the National Lottery Awards.

Unlocking Film Heritage: Northern Ireland on Film, run by Northern Ireland Screen, is competing against six others in the Best Heritage Project category. They beat off stiff competition from over 1,300 organisations, a record number of entries, to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner and receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in September.

The BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage project is one of the biggest film archive schemes ever undertaken, aiming to digitise and make available 10,000 titles from across the UK by the end of 2017. As part of this, Northern Ireland Screen has been curating and making accessible film materials that tell the region’s unique stories for audiences old and new, spanning from 1897 to the present day.

We are delighted that our work in Northern Ireland for the Unlocking Film Heritage project has been recognised through this nomination for a National Lottery Award.

National Lottery funding has allowed us to preserve parts of Northern Ireland history, society and culture that would otherwise have been lost. It’s about capturing memories and stories and being able to share these across the region. Not only was it essential to safeguard this material for future generations, but we use these films to make an impact on people’s lives today, bringing film into communities across Northern Ireland – into nursing homes and schools, working with local hospices and historical societies – and reaching people who live in rural or isolated areas.

We hope the public will get behind us and vote for us in the Best Heritage Project category.
Francis Jones, Digital Archive Officer – Northern Ireland Screen

National Lottery players raise £30 million every single week for Good Causes across the UK and the work done with that money is truly life-changing. The National Lottery Awards celebrate the talent and dedication of the amazing staff and volunteers who run these incredible National Lottery funded projects for the benefit of their communities. Unlocking Film Heritage: Northern Ireland on Film has worked very hard to become a finalist and they now need your support.  So get voting!
Jackie O’Sullivan – National Lottery Awards

To vote for Unlocking Film Heritage: Northern Ireland on Film, go to or telephone 0844 836 9703* and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs for four weeks from 9am on 29 June until midnight on 27 July.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

*From UK only