Lights, Camera, Action - new exhibition

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Cupcake (Wee Buns Ltd 2010), Dracula Untold (Legendary Pictures 2013) and of course Game of Thrones (HBO 2010-2014) have all recently put Ballymoney firmly on the film-making map.

Ballymoney Museum is celebrating this with a new exhibition about local film-maker, Charlie McAfee and the history of cinema in the town.

“Lights! Camera! Action!” has been designed and prepared by a team of enthusiastic volunteers as part of an initiative by the museum to provide skills for young people interested in a career working in heritage. The volunteers have been learning how to record and look after historic objects and discovering how to create a museum exhibition.

This exciting exhibition explores the history of film making in Ballymoney and the life and career of Charlie McAfee. Charlie was a shopkeeper, magician, film-maker and local character and his films document local history from a unique viewpoint. Charlie was the son of William McAfee, owner of McAfee’s on Church Street. After his father’s death, he ran the shop with his brother James.

In 1942, for the princely sum of £5 (about £200 today), he purchased a second-hand camera with which he was always ready to capture small snippets of everyday life which would otherwise have passed unremarked and unremembered. It wasn’t until the filming of the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at Ballymoney railway station in 1953 that Charlie began to realise that he had something special. In 1993, Charlie donated his film collection to Ballymoney Borough Council. They have been digitally re-mastered and can be seen today at Ballymoney Museum.

Ever since Mr O’Kane showed silent films at St Patrick’s Hall on Castle Street in the 1920s, Ballymoney folk have been fascinated by the movies.

“Lights! Camera! Action!” will delve into the history of the Palladium Cinema and the local film industry. On display will be cameras and film equipment dating from the 1920s to the modern day and a range of programmes, movie posters and memorabilia.

So, if you’re a film buff or just enjoy the popcorn “Lights! Camera! Action!” has something for everyone.

The exhibition “Lights, Camera, Action!” is now open and closes on 1st November. Admission free. Opening hours are Mon – Thur and Sat 9am – 5pm and Fri 9am – 4.30pm. Contact Ballymoney Museum, 028 2766 0278 or 028 2766 0230 and

*Charlie pictured doing a magic trick with one Joey Dunlop!