Belfast producer launches shingle

Attenborough will chair Real Holywood Prods.

Belfast, Northern Ireland-based producer Jo Gilbert has secured £20 million ($40 million) from property developer Robert Whitton to launch a film and TV production outfit.

Real Holywood Prods. (named after Belfast’s Holywood suburb) will be chaired by Richard Attenborough. Gilbert produced Attenborough’s latest movie, “Closing the Ring,” a romantic drama that opens Dec. 28 in the U.K.

Gilbert plans to use the coin to finance three movies, starting with the $10 million project “Yankee Kings.”

Written by Laurel Walsh and to be directed by Gerry Lively, it’s a romantic comedy about an American who returns to the Irish village where his grandfather fell in love with a local girl during WWII. He and his granddad plan to turn the village into an “Oirish” theme park.

Bill Campbell (“The OC”) is to star, with shooting scheduled for next spring in Northern Ireland.

Gilbert is also developing “The Chaps,” a $20 million project to shoot next summer, about two long-lost brothers who discover they are heirs to a crumbling aristocratic estate.

She also will produce $2 million telepic “That Grand Night,” an adaptation of M.J. Crisp’s play set in Monaco, to star Joanna Lumley.

Gilbert is an industry veteran who worked as an agent, casting director and co-producer before getting her first straight producer credit on “Closing the Ring.”

Real Holywood Prods. will open offices in London and Los Angeles to go with its head office in Belfast. Whitton will be an executive director, while Attenborough will take a non-exec role.

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