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Statement regarding further support measures for Creative Screen Industry announced by Screen Ireland
17 Apr 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Screen Ireland
The Board and Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (Screen Ireland) recognise the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our industry.

As it continues to create unprecedented levels of disruption across the Irish and international creative screen sector, Screen Ireland’s key priority is to provide practical and effective funding measures to support production companies and creative talent, across feature film, TV drama, animation, and documentary.

The Irish creative screen industries have grown significantly over the last ten years in terms of employment and economic contribution.  Our key priority is to support the sector during this critical time, to ensure that Irish creative screen talent can continue to play a key role within Irish cultural life and make a critical contribution to rebuilding the economy when this crisis is over.

Building on a number of early initial measures announced last month, Screen Ireland has continued to monitor the situation and is today announcing a further round of stimulus measures to support the sector. These new measures include practical supports and are designed to aid production companies and creative talent in developing a strong slate of quality projects so that the industry can emerge from the current situation in a position to scale up production activity.

These measures include:

  • Strategic Slate Development Fund
  • Enhanced Development Support
  • Creative Concept Development Scheme
  • Enhanced Investment in Screenplay & Spotlight Schemes
  • Financial Planning for Companies
  • Funding Schemes for Skills Development

Strategic Slate Development Fund

The Strategic Slate Development Fund aims to empower successful applicants to build a strong slate of creative screen projects. Originally announced earlier this year, this Strategic Slate Development Fund has been enhanced and customised to respond to the challenges the global pandemic presents. 

The fund is valued at up to €3 million and aims to support strategic slate project development with strong creative ambition and a focus on diversity and inclusion. We are aiming to support production companies, working closely with screenwriters and directors with strong creative vision to develop their own IP.

The Strategic Slate Development Fund will come from Screen Ireland’s 2020 capital budget allocation for slate funding and has been increased by €2 million in response to the impact of the global pandemic. In order to address growing cash flow challenges the fund will be made available as quickly as possible and over a one year period.  This shortened timeframe will also allow Screen Ireland to respond to the anticipated increased need for production funding in 2021, as a result of low production levels in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Enhanced Development Support

Screen Ireland will also provide an additional €1 million in enhanced development support across feature film, TV and animation, which will be available to Irish production companies working with writers on a project by project basis, where the Strategic Slate Funding Scheme does not apply. 90% of this funding will be made available upfront for successful applicants.

Creative Concept Development Scheme for Directors

A new creative conceptual development fund will be made available directly to Irish directors aimed at investing in the early vision of a director to develop high value, well-refined projects for feature film and television. The scheme aims to generate exceptional screen work with the early creative leadership of a director and refined development before bringing it to a producer or financier. At the end of this process, directors will have created a proof of concept for a feature film or television show ready to take to a producer or to the market.

Enhanced Investment in Screenplay & Spotlight Schemes

Screen Ireland is committed to supporting writers directly in the form of an additional €100K total investment into the Screenplay Development and the Spotlight writing schemes. The Spotlight scheme is aimed at discovering and developing diverse, fresh, and exciting new screenwriting talent in Ireland.  The scheme is intended as an opportunity for new writers to develop a feature film screenplay, with guidance and mentorship from leading industry figures at the very beginning of their careers.  Screenplay Development supports experienced writers/directors to write a live-action or animated feature film from initial idea stage in the form of treatments or early script draft to a viable first draft screenplay. 

Financial Planning Support

Screen Ireland will also be making a line of funding available for companies in need of urgent financial planning support as a result of the challenges caused by this pandemic. This new initiative will provide funding to enable production companies to develop a financial plan with the advice of a financial consultant. The fund is worth up to 150K, with companies able to apply for a maximum of €5K.

Funding Schemes for Skills Development

Screen Skills Ireland has repurposed two of its funding schemes. The Festivals and Events Funding Scheme has been repurposed as a Skills Development Events Funding Scheme, which will assist Irish organisations and film festivals to provide online industry events including masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions, and seminars. The International Bursary Award Scheme has been repurposed as a Bursary Award Scheme to support industry professionals to undertake high-level online skills development courses.

Screen Skills Ireland will also introduce two new funding schemes. The Screen Mentoring Funding Scheme will support industry professionals to access Mentor support over a 12-month period. The Stakeholders & Guilds Funding Scheme will support screen stakeholders and guilds to deliver a range of skills related activity over the course of a year.

Screen Ireland is committed to developing projects, which are inclusive and representative of contemporary Ireland. As such, the organisation strongly encourages applications across all funds and schemes from those with diverse voices and underrepresented backgrounds.  Funding for all Screen Ireland support measures will be allocated from Screen Ireland’s 2020 capital budget.

Government Supports

Screen Ireland has developed this range of measures, alongside the Government’s financial support package for employers, employees, self-employed and cast and crew affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has a dedicated helpdesk for queries about these income supports.  If you are a member of the Irish audio-visual industry and are experiencing challenges accessing these financial supports, we encourage you to get in touch directly with the Department, sending an email to artsunit@chg.gov.ie  with a short description of your question along with your telephone number.  An official will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your query.

During these exceptionally challenging times, Screen Ireland will continue to assess the ongoing needs of the broader industry and is establishing a COVID-19 Industry Sub-Committee as we plan for industry recovery.  We recognise that there is much more to be done, and are continuously working with industry partners and stakeholders to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on our industry.

Please contact Screen Ireland with any COVID-19 related queries or concerns at info@screenireland.ie

The Board & Executive Team, Fis Eireann / Screen Ireland

Click here for further details and guidelines on the strategic development fund on the Screen Ireland website.

Click here for further information and details of the skills development funding on the Screen Skills website.

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