7 December 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Irish Film Writers and Directors Call for S481 Retention
27 Oct 2003 :
A number of Ireland's most prominent and successful film writers and directors last week joined forces with Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) to highlight their concern in relation to the expiration of the tax incentive for the film industry at the end of 2004.

Representing over 200 writers and film directors in Ireland, they highlighted the missed opportunity for growth in the Irish film industry if Ireland does not extend it's tax incentive and, subsequently becomes the only EU state without such an incentive. The incentive, which a SPI economic report shows provides a three to one return to the Exchequer on its investment, has been fundamental in the growth of Ireland's film industry, with 180 feature films and TV drama's being produced here in the past 10 years. The report predicts that the current level of employment in the industry of some 4,500 people would rise to 11,000 and a contribution of some 500 million in expenditure by 2010, with continued Government support.

Expressing their disquiet regarding the impending expiration of the tax incentive were Oscar winning film director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The Butcher Boy, Michael Collins, Interview with a Vampire), screenwriter Roddy Doyle (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van), writer and director Conor McPherson (I Went Down, The Actors, Saltwater, Endgame), director Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy, Sinners), writer and director Barry Devlin (All Things Bright and Beautiful, The Darling Buds of May), director Gerry Stembridge (About Adam, Ordinary Decent Criminal), director Paddy Breathnach (I Went Down, Blow Dry) and director Liz Gill (Goldfish Memory).

Screen Producers Ireland spokesperson Alan Moloney, comments, "Following the success of Neil Jordan's Oscar winning film The Crying Game in 1993, the Film Board was reconstituted and Section 481 extended to individuals. With Section 481 now due to expire, Ireland has the opportunity to extend it for a further ten years and reap further benefits from it's thriving film industry. Many countries place great emphasis on protecting their indigenous cultures through strong film and television support. It will stunt the growth of the industry and fundamentally limit the potential development and success of young up and coming Irish writers and directors if the Irish tax incentive is not extended. Given Ireland's recognition on the world stage for its creative talent it is a shame this could all be lost overnight."

Trish McAdam, Board Member of the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, the representative body for screen directors working in Ireland, asserts, "There is no doubt in our minds that not to extend this tax incentive will lead to a decline in the number of Irish films being made. Irish artists will be silenced and the Irish economy will lose an industry that is creative, culturally powerful, region-friendly, non-polluting, technically advanced and thus highly sought-after. History books and empty archive shelves of the future will bare witness to the irreparable damage that will be done."

Chair of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild (IPSG), Sean Moffatt, said, "It is remarkable that Ireland's impending loss of a tax incentive is already receiving international attention. At a recent meeting in Toronto of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds writers and their representatives from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US passed a resolution to 'urge the appropriate authorities in Ireland not to remove the tax incentives, as their removal would destroy the prospect for continuing success of Irish film and television production for the future'. This resolution demonstrates the support and merit that the Irish film industry has gained at an international level."

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