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Minister Martin embarks on US trade mission to boost investment in Ireland's film industry, tourism and culture
08 Mar 2023 : News Desk
Catherine Martin
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin (T.D.) Catherine Martin is to meet with world leading US studios and production companies including Sony and Disney as part of a US trade mission.

The trade mission aims to build on recent critical success for the Irish screen industry and recognition of Irish talent on the world’s stage. Minister Martin will seek to strengthen working relationships between the Irish screen sector and some of the world’s largest film studios and production companies, as well as strengthening Ireland’s reputation as a global tourist destination.

This week will see a number of meetings taking place with US studios and production companies including Sony and Disney, which includes representatives from Marvel, Searchlight and Lucas Film. These meetings will update key industry partners on the continued growth and evolution of the sector in Ireland; discuss opportunities for increased collaboration; explore new opportunities for production as well as sectors in the industry, such as post-production and Visual Effects (VFX); and reinforce the strong and ongoing Government support for the industry and Irish artists, contributing to the Global Ireland 2025 aim to double Ireland’s global cultural footprint.

Following the remarkable success of ‘An Cailín Cíúin’ (‘The Quiet Girl’), which became the first ever Irish language film nominated for an Academy Award, the Minister will present a special award to the film at the Oscar Wilde event this Thursday. This will be hosted by the US-Ireland Alliance which promotes Irish film and culture in Los Angeles by honouring Irish and Irish-American screen talent.

“The eyes of Hollywood and the world are on Ireland this Oscars weekend and this presents an important opportunity to showcase Ireland’s culture and creative talent to a global audience” said Minister Martin of the trade mission. “This weekend is also important for Ireland and Irish people around the world. Some 14 Oscar nominations is incredible for a country the size of Ireland and I know the nominations are a source of national pride for young and old. It highlights the country’s contribution to the arts and culture, provides opportunities to further promote Ireland as a tourism destination, and will inspire future generations of Irish creative talent and filmmakers."

Minister Martin will also visit Winston House, a recent recipient of Culture Ireland funding. Culture Ireland, which is part of the Minister’s Department, is responsible for promoting Irish arts internationally and provides grants to artists to tour globally.

“Irish artists and arts have long been held in high regard in the US and, through Culture Ireland, my department supports artists to travel to present their work to American audiences and millions of diaspora annually. I look forward to visiting Winston House in LA which has received financial support for the participation of a selection of current and emerging Irish artists at their new Irish Friends Festival this month."

“I will also be promoting Ireland as a world-class tourist destination with the help of Tourism Ireland and will be taking part in meetings with representatives of various sporting bodies, along with St. Patrick’s Day events in San Diego and Los Angeles during the visit.”

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive, Screen Ireland, said: “Our pride in the recent acclaim for Irish talent across acting, Irish-language film, VFX and craft continues to emphasise our belief in the talent and artistry of the Irish creative screen industries, and how this sector continues to innovate and break new ground at home and abroad. We hope the industry’s success, and record-breaking number of Academy Award nominations, will inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Irish filmmakers to be ambitious in telling the cultural stories that matter to them.”

Ireland is internationally renowned as a global hub for animation and, more recently, post-production and VFX have become leading areas of expertise in the Irish screen industry, with high-profile work on some of the biggest films and television series in the world, such as Marvel Studios’ ‘Wakanda Forever’.

The Irish screen industry provides a tangible economic benefit to our country, through jobs, skills development, regional development and production spent on local goods and services. Production spend in the Irish economy hit a record high in 2021, an exceptional year due to the increased level of activity taking place following the Covid-related production shutdowns.

This year’s trade mission will celebrate these successes while emphasising the business and strategic opportunities these cultural milestones represent. A key example will include ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, a film boasting a wealth of Irish talent on screen and behind the camera as well as showcasing the landscapes and settings of Achill and the Aran Islands.

Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage its behind-the-scenes promotional film, using footage shot during the filming – capitalising on the positive exposure for Ireland, bringing the beautiful scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way to the attention of people in Ireland’s main markets and inspiring them to come and visit.

Recent large-scale productions based in Ireland have ranged from Disney’s ‘Disenchanted’, which transformed the village of Enniskerry during production, to this year’s viral hit ‘Cocaine Bear’, shot on location in the Wicklow countryside which was recreated as a US National Park. All projects were in receipt of Section 481 funding, and utilised Irish crews, in addition to spending on local goods and services.

In 2019, the island of Ireland attracted 1.7 million tourists from the United States, approximately 10% of all American visitors to Europe. The US was Ireland’s most important source of overseas tourism revenue and the second-largest source of tourists in 2019.

Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive and targeted programme of promotional activity in the United States again this year. This includes the new ‘Fill Your Heart with Ireland’ campaign, which will be launching early next month on multiple channels. Minister Martin opened a Tourism Ireland office in Ireland House, San Francisco, in 2022. The expansion of Tourism Ireland’s presence in the US will continue to develop tourism to Ireland from the western region of the US over the coming years.

The Minister’s visit also forms part of the Government’s extensive international programme to promote Ireland and Irish interests around the world for St. Patrick’s Day, such as reaffirming Ireland’s commitment to the people of Ukraine, and celebrating Ireland’s contemporary and traditional arts, culture and heritage.

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