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Screen Ireland welcomes crucial support from Government to enable a return to production for Independent Film & TV
27 Jul 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Screen Ireland
Screen Ireland has welcomed the range of arts and culture supports announced by the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin T.D., on Friday as part of the July stimulus package.

Minister Martin announced a new €10 million pilot Performance and Production Support Package, €5 million dedicated to the audiovisual sector, which will help de-risk costs and enable independent Irish production activity to return. The agency is also pleased to welcome an additional €3 million in TV Drama funding, focused on increasing TV drama production activity and creating additional jobs in the sector.

The Irish creative screen industries currently generate a significant contribution to the economy and create high-quality employment. The sector has experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade, with its contribution to the economy growing from €164 million in 2010 to €357 million in 2019, a remarkable increase in 10 years. The animation sector in particular has seen its annual production activity increased fourfold in the last 10 years, to €180 million in 2019. Ireland’s screen industries are responsible for 12,000 jobs by way of direct, indirect and induced employment and have an added value of €692 million to the Irish economy.

The global opportunities offered by high-end television production resulted in Screen Ireland’s establishment of a TV Drama Production Fund in 2019, emphasising the potential to build the Irish television sector in partnership with RTÉ, TG4, Virgin Media, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The substantial cultural contribution made by the sector was demonstrated in this year’s reception to Normal People, the Element Pictures adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel. Normal People was developed and produced in Ireland with key Irish talent, and to date has had record-breaking success, with over 2.5 million views on RTÉ and 38 million requests on BBC iPlayer in the UK. Screen Ireland’s aim is to drive the expansion of the indigenous TV drama and animation sector by enabling Irish talent to create high-end screen content for both Irish and international audiences.

Commenting on the additional funding, Screen Ireland Chair Dr. Annie Doona said:

“I would like to thank Minister Catherine Martin T.D. for recognising the value and further potential of the Irish creative screen industries to create high-end jobs and contribute to the recovery of the Irish economy. The new pilot Performance and Production Support Package will instil confidence to recommence production and support the film and television drama sector, when designed in consultation with the industry. The increased global demand for content has resulted in the unprecedented growth of the audio-visual industry internationally. The industry in Ireland has experienced exceptional growth in the last decade and the ambition is for Ireland to become a global production hub for film and high-end TV production.”

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, said:

“The new pilot Performance and Production Support Package is a crucial and timely support for the indigenous industry and will create confidence in enabling film and television projects to get back into production. The additional funding for TV drama will enable Screen Ireland to support Irish creative talent working across the TV drama sector through a diverse slate of projects, stimulating employment across the sector. Our sincere thanks to Minister Catherine Martin T.D. and the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht for providing these significant industry supports.”

As part of the Government’s roadmap, to slowly open up the Irish economy over the last number of months, live action film and TV production activity has been allowed to resume since June 29th. In planning a safe return to production, the industry has issued comprehensive health and safety protocols, noting that each production will have their own specific requirements. Screen Ireland has already launched a €1 million COVID-19 Production Fund, which is designed to partially offset additional production costs associated with implementing the new guidelines.

In addressing job growth and skills development across the sector, Screen Skills Ireland, the skills development unit within Screen Ireland, is working with industry to grow and develop skills in a sustainable and targeted way through the recently introduced Section 481 skills requirements development plan for production companies and the 10-point Action Plan, providing a solid framework for growth.

The stimulus measures will create more opportunities for paid creative and cultural activity more generally, including increased support for the Arts Council, TV drama production, live performance, and specific measures targeted at musicians.  The audiovisual production support package will be designed in consultation with the sector and further details will be outlined at screenireland.ie.





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