Watch: US film and law firm to make city its main Euro base

A partner at the US law firm SmithDehn - whose clients range from HBO and Sony Pictures, to Paramount Pictures and Channel Four - says the success of a new media law course at Magee has inspired the establishment of its new European front office in Londonderry.

Russel Smith, made the comments as SmithDehn Northern Ireland (SDNI) and Social Construct Media, two new international film and TV-related companies, announced their formation and offices in Artillery Street.

The SmithDehn partner and Social Construct Media CEO, said: “Our film and television course in Derry has been a wildly successful experiment. It has proven to us that in and around Derry and the Northwest of Ireland, there is an amazing supply of under-utilised talent.

“We want a European front office, not a back office. We want to hire creative, intelligent, energetic, and dynamic people who will wow our clients, step onto the global stage, and eventually represent us at film and television festivals and markets, such as Cannes and Berlin. We know we can and will hire those people here.”

Mr Smith has been involved with the aforementioned new Masters level entertainment and media law course at Magee.

He is joined by two of the top in-house lawyers at HBO; Viviane Eisenberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for Programming and Marketing, and Peter Rienecker, Vice President for Legal Affairs.

However, Saturday’s (April 19) announcement is an exiting new development with SDNI promising to hire and train legal talent from across Northern Ireland and Ireland to service SmithDehn’s hundreds of film/television clients regarding US legal matters.

SmithDehn has also combined resources with Social Construct Films, to form Social Construct Media (, a dynamic new force in international film and television development, financing, production and sales.

One of Social Construct Media NI’s first film projects will be a positive, uplifting, scripted drama featuring Northern Ireland, arising from ideas to be developed by a local, cross-community story collective.

At the moment, Social Construct Media NI has a slate of three films and three TV series planned for shooting and post-production in Northern Ireland, starting as early as this Autumn.

Social Construct Media’s Creative Director and Founder Zak Kilberg said: “Social Construct Films is thrilled to be in partnership with SmithDehn and to be launching our European company together, in Northern Ireland.

“There is a vast wealth of untapped creative talent, resources, and stories here. We’re excited to connect all of this to the worldwide film and television market.”