McAleese makes stop at Warner Bros.

President visits to raise Ireland's profile in film biz

Irish President Mary McAleese hailed the long association between Ireland and Hollywood while highlighting the latest round of financial boosts for filming in Ireland during a state visit to Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on Monday night.

McAleese included her Hollywood visit as part of a larger California tour to boost Ireland's profile on the West Coast. The event at Warner Bros. was organized by the Irish Film Board and Enterprise Ireland. McAleese quipped that so popular have Hollywood films been in Ireland for so long that she suspected her children would prefer her to be president of Warner Bros. rather than president of Ireland.

Jonathan Loughran of the Irish Film Board's Los Angeles office noted that the presidential visit came at an important and exciting time for the Irish film industry.

"Our indigenous film sector is booming with 25 feature films funded this year alone by the IFB and on the incoming production side, we hope to see Showtime's 'The Tudors' return for a 4th successive season and look forward to welcoming more US feature films and television series to Ireland in 2009."

On hand at the event was Warner Bros. Entertainment president and COO Alan Horn, and Bill Daly, senior vp postproduction, who worked with Loughran to bring the Irish president to Hollywood and to rally a small army of Irish-Hollywood elite, including Colin Farrell and Fionnula Flanagan, Ed Begley Jr. and Ray Bradbury, author/actor Bernadette O'Neill and film composer Patrick Cassidy.