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Section 481 cap increases to €70m while IFB Funding continues at 2015 levels
14 Oct 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Another improvement has been made to the Section 481 film tax credit allowance in this year’s Budget as Minister Michael Noonan announced this week that the cap on eligible expenditure is to rise to €70 million.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said: “Ireland has a significant opportunity as a location for the production of films and television programmes. Having reviewed the film tax credit, I'm increasing the cap on eligible expenditure to €70 million. This limit will be kept under review going forward. It is my hope that the industry will now make the necessary investments in studio spaces in order to attract high quality films and create new jobs. This change is subject to state aid approval."

In other budget news, the funding for the Irish Film Board (IFB) remains at a capital budget of €11,202,000 and administration budget of €2,769,000 for 2016.

With the same funding in 2015 the IFB directly invested €10m in feature film and TV animation generating production expenditure of over €40 million. In 2015 the IFB is supporting twelve Irish feature films, seven creative feature co-productions, fourteen feature documentaries, three animation TV series and 12 short films, all of which aimed to tell Irish stories to audiences in Ireland and all over the world, as well as invest and develop Irish creative talent in screen content.

With the limitations in funding over recent years the IFB has striven to continue to invest in Irish filmmaking and ensure a continuation of high production levels in Ireland, presenting a strong cultural and economic return on Government investment in the agency. The IFB is committed to continuing to do this in 2016 with the allocation of funding by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Commenting on the news, IFB Chief Executive James Hickey said: “We welcome the continuation of funding to the Irish Film Board from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. We will continue to work to deliver the maximum benefit to all the stakeholders in terms of feature film, feature documentary, creative coproduction and TV animation production for the benefit of Irish audiences and audiences throughout the world.”

2015 has so far proven to be a strong year for the Irish film, television drama and animation industry. Beginning with a remarkable reception for Brooklyn at the Sundance Film Festival, Irish film has gone on to win prizes at the world’s top film festivals including ‘The Lobster’ winning the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and more recently ‘Room’ securing the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Irish films this year have struck a chord with critics and audiences, with releases such as Patrick’s Day directed by Terry McMahon, Glassland with Jack Reynor and Toni Collette, the Academy Award-nominated Song of the Sea and Older Than Ireland which is currently on release and which celebrates centenarians born before the establishment of the Irish state. The animated feature Two by Two in particular has proven to be highly popular, with box office of over €3.8 million in Ireland and the UK. Production activity has remained strong, with ‘Penny Dreadful’, ‘Vikings’ and ‘Ripper Street’ returning to Ireland for further series.

James Hickey went on to say: “In the weeks and months to come, the IFB is looking forward to seeing how Irish audiences respond to wonderful films such as John Crowley’s Brooklyn, based on Colm Tóibín’s acclaimed novel and Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, adapted by Emma Donoghue from her own novel. Heading into 2016 we will also see the premiere of our one-off After ’16 short film initiative, with nine short films commemorating, celebrating and ruminating on the Easter Rising in its centenary year.”

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