24 June 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Cork Film Centre under threat after government cuts funding
21 Jan 2015 : Seán Brosnan
The Cork Film Centre's funding has went from €102,000 in 2008 to none in 2015
The Cork Film Centre, a resource based organisation focused on developing, promoting and facilitating the advancement of filmmaking in the southern half of Ireland, is under threat of closure following the decision by the Arts Council not to provide funding in 2015.

The Cork Film Centre has seen its Arts Council funding fall from a high of €102,000 around 2008, to just €70,000 in 2013 and €35,000 in 2014. The centre is a not for profit, membership-based organisation but also receives some support from Cork City Council and Cork County Council, as well as generating limited income through workshops and occasional special projects.

The immediate effect of the Arts Council’s decision at the Centre was two redundancies of the only full time staff – with the centre now relying on the efforts of volunteers and part time staff.

Chris Hurley, artistic director of Cork Film Centre said: ‘The redundancies of the staff was obviously the most immediate impact of the cuts but in addition to that we will probably have to restrict opening hours here at the centre. On top of that – the long term problem is that the equipment we have will become obsolete with things moving so fast in the industry these days – and we won’t be able to buy more.’

The Centre - which provides support and access to resources for filmmakers, video artists, animators, and those engaged in multi-disciplinary work involving the moving image – is one of only three such centres in Ireland. The other two centres are the Galway Film Centre, who have seen cuts of 40% last year and Filmbase in Dublin who have seen no cut in core funding at all.

‘To a degree, I think it was a certain extent of centralisation and perhaps we aren’t as big or as established as Filmbase or Galway Film Centre. We also deal a lot with experimental filmmakers. But if we weren’t here and a filmmaker from Cork needed a piece of equipment, then it’s going to take them a day to go to Dublin and the same then to return it.’

With Section 481 enhanced and broadened again this year and extended until 2020 – a move universally welcomed by the Irish film industry as it cements the Government’s commitment to investing long term in the film industry – the cutting of the funds in Cork is “a little short-sighted”, according to Hurley.

‘It doesn’t make much sense to be honest. This Centre being open would allow young people to build skills here rather than have to move around the country so I think even though Cork doesn’t immediately fall into any of those new tax incentive brackets, it doesn’t make much sense long term.’

With the detrimental effects of the cuts already taking hold, what is the next move for Hurley and the Cork Film Centre?

‘In the immediate future, we intend to stay open. We are going to do what we can. I don’t know if that is counter-productive or not because if funding is cut and you are still open, then what is the need for funding? But I think over time the effects will be felt. We will keep applying for funding. If we go away, it will be very hard to start something again. If we stay open, we have the opportunity to re-apply next year or the year after which wouldn’t be the case if we closed and had to start afresh. So, we will definitely do what we can to stay open.’

More information about the Cork Film Centre can be found at: www.corkfilmcentre.com/.

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