This week marks the beginning of James Hickey’s new role as Chief Executive Officer of The Irish Film Board as he begins the full-time position to which he was appointed to in February this year.
Previous to this appointment, James Hickey was the Partner of and Head of the Media and Entertainment Law Group of Ireland’s largest law firm, Matheson Ormbsy Prentice. During the 1980s, his work as a solicitor saw him focus on representing music recording artists dealing with record companies and music publishers and film producers dealing with the Irish Film Board. Hickey has also acted as chairman of The Project Arts Centre and Chairman of the Abbey Theatre.
As James Hickey steps into this crucial role in the Irish film industry, representative bodies have emerged to show support and welcome James as the new CEO of the Irish Film Board. Tommy McCabe, director of the Audiovisual Federation extended a hand of welcome to James Hickey, saying the appointment is both “welcoming and innovative”. “He will bring a lot of commercial and legal acumen built up over many years to the job,” commented Mr McCabe. James Hickey’s résumé details a wealth of legal experience in the film industry where he has worked on a number of successful projects such as ‘Once’, ‘Kisses’, ‘Breakfast on Pluto’, ‘Intermission’ and ‘In The Name of The Father’. Hickey has worked in a legal capacity with the producers of Irish television co-productions such as ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Camelot’ and Irish drama television series such as ‘The Clinic’, ‘Single Handed’ and ‘Raw’ and the Irish versions of the formats of ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Dragon’s Den’.
Wishes of success and good-luck were also passed on by Screen Producers Ireland, whose Chief Barbara Galavan commented saying “Screen Producers Ireland takes this opportunity to wish James Hickey every success in his new role as CEO of the Irish Film Board. James is a highly experienced industry professional and we have no doubt that this wealth of experience will be of great benefit to him and the Irish Film Board.”
James Hickey was appointed to the position following Simon Perry’s departure after Perry’s contract ran out in January 2011. For the intervening months, Perry has been working in a consultative basis with the Irish Film Board. Hickey’s appointment has also been gladly received by the Animation CEO Damian Farrell who said this week “we are very pleased about James Hickey’s appointment to the Film Board as Chief Executive Officer. His appointment is welcomed by the animation sector who see great opportunities in working with the Film Board to deliver full time jobs through exporting content internationally.” Once again, Hickey’s experience in the legal and commercial sector was praised by the Animation chief who went on to say “we believe he will bring a fresh understanding and approach to how the Irish Film Board operates in an international context across all medium and genres.”
Further references to Hickey's tremendous experience were made in comments from Des Courtney of SIPTU, who said he hoped Hickey would "use his experience in a positive way to engage with all of the stakeholders in the industry in a way which, heretofore, the Irish Film Board has both failed and, indeed, refused to do." Des Courtney went on to comment that SIPTU "have been seeking the support of the Irish Film Board to ensure that the views of all of the practitioners within the Film industry (and not just those seeking and securing funding) have an input into the decision making processes the Film Board utilise. This is particularly important in relation to funding, particularly in the context of the poor Health and Safety and employment standards of many Irish producers, issues which the Film Board seem reluctant to discuss."
When his appointment as CEO of The Irish Film Board was announced in February 2011, IFB Chairman James Morris said “On behalf of the Board I am delighted that someone of the calibre and experience of James Hickey has agreed to serve as the Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board for the next five year period. James will be joining and leading a team of staff at the agency of the highest dedication and professionalism. His challenge will be to continue to build on the achievements of a growing group of Irish directors, writers, actors and producers while at the same time ensuring, with the support of the industry and Government, that the growth and employment potential of the whole audio visual sector is achieved.”
Note: Reps from the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland and the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild were unavailable for comment at time of publishing.