Margo Harkin: Waveriders Bio

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Margo Harkin, Producer

Margo was born in Derry and continues to live and work there through her company Besom Productions. She is a graduate in Fine Art (Hons) from the Ulster College of Art & Design 1974 and completed a post graduate course in theatre design with Percy Harris and Hayden Griffin at The Theatre Design Course, Riverside Studios in 1981.

In the late 70s, she was employed as a secondary school teacher, community worker and Derry City Council festival organiser but reached a creative turning point in her career in 1981, when she was employed by the Derry based Field Day Theatre Company founded by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea.  Starting out as Assistant Stage Manager she progressed to Stage Designer for Field Day and other companies before co-founding the Channel 4 funded Derry Film & Video Film Workshop in 1984.  Her work with DFVW included Producer on the documentary Mother Ireland 1988 and co-writer and Director on the drama Hush-A-Bye Baby, 1990, both award-winning films.

Margo founded Besom Productions in 1982 where she has created a long filmography producing educational series, documentary and drama work for Channel 4 Television, BBCNI, RTÉ, TG4, ZDF Arte and RAI TV. Her highly personal documentary, Bloody Sunday – A Derry Diary was made over a period of 6 years in the lead up to the publication of the Tribunal of Inquiry Report into the events of Bloody Sunday. It was nominated for Best Documentary for the Prix Europa 2007 and the Irish Film & Television Awards 2008 and is still a work in progress.

In 2004, she began a collaboration with Dublin based Joel Conroy of Inís Films which resulted in the documentaries The Hunger Strike and Ocras - directed by Margo and co-produced by Joel - before moving on to produce the ambitious feature documentary WAVERIDERS directed by Joel. The film won the Audience Award at its première screening at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2008 and has continued to garner awards in the lead up to its cinema release by Element Pictures Distribution.

As a long time advocate and lobbyist for film interests, Margo’s board memberships have included: Co-founder & Director of the Northern Ireland Film Council, Vice Chair and D.E.N.I. appointed Director of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission (now Northern Ireland Screen), Director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, The Irish Film Institute and the Irish Film & Television Academy. Margo has completed the Eurodoc (Documentary) MEDIA Training programme, the Arista Story Editing Workshop and the Advanced Adept Story Editing programme.

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