22 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Screen Ireland anticipates potentially record levels of production activity in 2021
15 Jul 2021 : News Desk
Minister Catherine Martin TD and Screen Ireland CEO Désirée Finnegan visiting the production of Disney’s Disenchanted
Screen Ireland has published early estimated figures indicating potentially record levels for Irish film, television and animation production activity in 2021, despite the enormous ongoing challenges faced by the industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first half of the year alone, 37 Irish and international film, television, and animation productions have gone into production in Ireland. 

While the initial five-month production lockdown at the start of the pandemic created significant challenges for Ireland’s screen industry, the sector managed to get production up and running safely to address the backlog in production activity, contributing €213 million to the economy in 2020 across employment, goods and services. Early estimated figures indicate that 2021 is set to potentially break production activity records, with an estimated €289 million economic contribution recorded in the first 6 months of this year.  The highest annual production contribution on record is €357,615,025, which was achieved in 2019.

Throughout the pandemic, Screen Ireland created 20 separate funding measures in direct response to the impact of COVID-19, which were designed to support talent through the lockdown and to anticipate the challenges that production during a pandemic brings. These supports provided the conditions for recovery and would not have been possible without additional stimulus support provided by Minister Catherine Martin T.D., specifically the Production Continuity Fund, to get independent film and television back into production.  

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D,. and Chief Executive of Screen Ireland, Désirée Finnegan, visited the production of Disenchanted in the RDS, where  over 1,000 Irish people have been employed on the production of Disenchanted between crew, supporting cast, dancers, and extras.

Speaking from the production, Minister Catherine Martin T.D. said: “I am delighted to visit the production of Disenchanted today and to meet some of the talented crew working on the film. The filming has clearly captivated the public over the last number of weeks, and I am confident that the high number of domestic tourists visiting the set is just the start of the positive and long-lasting impact that the filming will have on the town of Enniskerry.  It is encouraging to see and know that the majority of people employed on this fantastic production are Irish.

Ireland’s crews and filming locations are world-class and contribute to the industry’s ongoing success in attracting productions of this calibre,” Minister Martin continued. “The screen and content industry continues to grow internationally, and this Government is committed to ensuring that Ireland continues to maintain and grow its foothold in the sector by supporting homegrown talent, independent production activity and continuing to attract incoming productions like Disenchanted.” 

Fís Eireann/ Screen Ireland’s Chief Executive Desiree Finnegan added: Despite the immense challenges the industry has faced throughout the pandemic, production activity levels are experiencing a strong recovery. This is indicative of the strength and creativity of the Irish industry, the continuous support received by Minister Catherine Martin TD and the increasing global demand for content. In practical terms, the production activity has generated a substantial contribution to the economy, created significant employment opportunities and ongoing skills development, ensuring that those working in the industry continue to progress and excel.”

“The industry has demonstrated its resilience and a commitment to the highest standards of health and safety protocols, as set out in the Covid-19 production guidelines,” Finnegan continued. “Screen Ireland’s priority has been to ensure that the industry was appropriately supported throughout this challenging time, so that it could make a strong recovery and continue on the growth path that it has been experiencing in the last number of years”.

About Production Activity in Ireland  

A range of new independent feature films have gone into production this year with support from Screen Ireland. These include Aisha staring Letitia Wright and God’s Creatures starring Paul Mescal and Aisling Franciosi filmed in Donegal.  Joyride is currently filming on location in Kerry. Martin McDonagh’s highly anticipated The Banshee of Inisheer will commence filming later in the summer on location on Inis Mór and Achill Island. 

Nocebo, directed by Lorcan Finnegan, has also wrapped safely and series two of the TV Drama Smother has just wrapped in Co. Clare. The eight-part drama series KIN, which was filmed in Dublin, will air on RTÉ. Redemption, a TV drama for ITV has just completed filming and Graham Norton’s Holding will shortly begin filming in Cork.

The Irish animation industry demonstrated enormous adaptability and resilience during the pandemic, with large animation teams working together remotely to complete production on feature films such as Moetion Films’ Two by Two: Overboard!, My Father’s Dragon, and Karma’s World are currently in production in Ireland for Netflix along with a wide range of new projects.

Disney’s feature film Disenchanted is one of two Walt Disney Company projects to film on location in Ireland over the last 18 months with 20th Century Studio’s historic epic The Last Duel, filmed at locations in Meath, Wicklow, and Tipperary.  Over 1,000 Irish people have been employed on the production of Disenchanted between crew, supporting cast, dancers and extras.

Future Growth and Skills Development

Looking to the future, Screen Ireland is developing a new Talent Development & Inclusion Programme focused on creating new opportunities to build careers across the depth and breadth of production activity.

As part of the Programme, the Passport to Production skills development initiative will place up to 75 participants on work placement with productions backed by major international studios and independent film and television companies. Screen Ireland has also established three new Talent Academies and Crew Hubs aimed at supporting talent development and sustainable and inclusive growth of the crew base.

27 major productions have submitted Section 481 skills development plans to Screen Ireland in 2021 to ensure continued lifelong learning opportunities across a number of crew roles on set. 337 participants benefited from skills development opportunities and workplace training on these productions  the skills development unit within Screen Ireland. In total the agency has delivered over 120 continuous professional development courses to over 2,000 participants since the start of the pandemic.  

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