As part of its pre-budget recommendations, the Audiovisual Federation has echoed a recent call made by the Irish Film Board to restore capital funding of €20M.
The appeal was made by the Irish Film Board in the first week of July this year, headed by newly appointed IFB chairwoman Annie Doona.
Doona’s appeal for the restoration of funding was supported by opportunity to build on the paramount success of Ireland’s film industry outputs in recent years, most specifically its Oscar success in 2016. In this vein, she stresses both the cultural importance and economic benefits of the Irish film industry.
As the Ibec group representing the audiovisual sector in Ireland, The Audiovisual Federation’s appeal for the sector to be supported in the 2017 has been made with the ideal of strengthening Ireland’s credentials as a world leader.
The statement reads:
“Restore the €20 million capital funding allocation of the Irish Film Board: It is vital that in future the Government benchmarks the funding to the Irish Film Board annually against similar agencies in other jurisdictions so that indigenous talent is leveraged and international investment is attracted.”
Further to this, it is being asked that the extension of Section 481 beyond 2020 be confirmed, in tandem with more vigorous anti-piracy measures and licence fee collection.
Building on the consistent narrative supporting the restoration of funding, Audiovisual Federation Director Torlach Denihan states that the momentum achieved in the sector in recent years presents Ireland with an “unparalleled opportunity” to further develop the recognition which has been achieved on an international level.
Denihan continues by reiterating the international competition for inward investment which the Irish sector is facing; this extends in particular to the UK and Northern Ireland. He also reminds us that competition from Northern Ireland is prone to increase, due to the weakening of sterling against euro.
"As an immediate measure the Irish Film Board’s capital funding allocation must be restored to €20 million in the forthcoming budget. To ensure that funding is adequate it should be benchmarked on an annual basis against similar agencies in other jurisdictions so that indigenous talent is leveraged and international investment is attracted.
Denihan’s remaining comments reiterate the importance clarifying the future of Section 481, the evasion of the television licence fee and digital piracy. He supports his statements on the latter as follows:
“Research by Grant Thornton concludes that digital piracy caused the loss of over 500 jobs in 2015 and cost the Exchequer €71 million in lost revenue. There is a need for a greater awareness of the economic harm caused by digital piracy, a more effective anti-piracy strategy and stronger enforcement.”
The closing statement indicates an urgency, not merely to continue strengthening the sector, but make achievements which will contribute to the wider industry, long term.
“The Audiovisual Federation urges the implementation of the above measures in tandem with a collaborative effort between the public service and industry to produce a strategic blueprint for the long term development of the sector, with follow up implementation via a public service/industry steering group. With enough support and planning we can build on the current run of success and make Ireland an even more attractive location for film and television production so that the potential of Ireland’s talent pool can be maximised.”