Archive for 2008

BCI Increase

17th December 2008

It’s not all cut backs and gloom in recent funding decisions. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resource, Eamon Ryan TD, announced last week that he will increase funding for the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland’s (BCI) Sound and Vision programme by 2% on the previous allocation.

This increase will bring total investment in Ireland’s independent television production to almost €15.5m in 2009.

“The independent production sector is an important creative source, as well as a significant employer,” Minister Ryan said.

“This increase in the Sound and Vision fund from 5 to 7pc, combined with the increase in the RTÉ statutory independent production spend to €40m from €32m a year, gives some certainty to this sector in a tougher economic climate.”

The IBEC Audiovisual Federation 2008 Review revealed that 265 audiovisual productions were completed in Ireland in 2007, with a total production value of €195.7m.

Although these figures mark a significant reduction on the overall 2006 production figures of €279.8m, estimated figures for 2008 confirm that the industry has returned to strong levels of production, with an overall estimated value of €246m.

Audiovisual Federation director Tommy McCabe said: “The analysis in the report is divided under three headings: film, television and animation. The 2007 report shows a downturn in feature-film productions, but a continuing strong performance in TV and major TV drama productions, as well as a consistent growth in animation.”

With regard to film, production activity in 2007 declined to €19.3m, a reduction of 77pc on 2006. It is estimated that the level of production activity for feature films will increase to €64m in 2008, but this is still significantly below levels achieved in earlier years, and confirms the overall loss of growth in international feature-film activity.

“It is hoped that the improvements to Section 481 will increase the level of international productions in Ireland next year,” McCabe said.

Short News

16th December 2008
  • “Whatever Turns You On”, the short film written and directed by Declan Cassidy, won the Best Film award at the Florence International Film Festival in Italy.
  • At last week’s HDFest in Los Angeles – the world’s biggest festival devoted to purely HD films – the short film, “The Morse Collectors”, written by Pól Mag Uidhir and directed by David Cooke, won four awards: Best Director, Best Cinematography (Angus Mitchell), Honourable Mention for Best Short Film, and Honourable Mention for Best Screenplay.

Making Money From YouTube

15th December 2008

The New York Times has an article about the people who are successfully making money from videos that are posted for free on YouTube, but part of its partner program.

The program allows YouTube to highlight videos with original content, and to place advertisements within and around the material. It splits the revenues with the creators.

The program is a partial solution to a nagging problem for YouTube. The site records 10 times the video views as any other video-sharing Web site in the United States, yet it has proven to be hard for Google to profit from, because a vast majority of the videos are posted by anonymous users who may or may not own the copyrights to the content they upload. While YouTube has halted much of the illegal video sharing on the site, it remains wary of placing advertisements against content without explicit permission from the owners. As a result, only about 3 percent of the videos on the site are supported by advertising.

But the company has high hopes for the partner program. Executives liken it to Google AdSense, the technology that revolutionized advertising and made it possible for publishers to place text advertisements next to their content.

“Some of these people are making videos in their spare time,” said Chad Hurley, a co-founder of YouTube. “We felt that if we were able to provide them a true revenue source, they’d be able to hone their skills and create better content.”

Not Normal

10th December 2008

According to Northern Ireland Screen the NI Community Relations Council wishes to commission a series of 10-15 short films, focussing on the bizarre behaviour patterns and contradictions which are the ‘perceived normality’ of contemporary life in Northern Ireland.

It’s hoped the series will illustrate the division of society in Northern Ireland, principally sectarian but also racial. The working title for film series is Not Normal.

The film treatments should highlight the ironies, paradoxes of identity, double-takes, physical movement conventions, political and faith ‘place mapping’, avoidance behaviour, verbal circumlocutions, and silent knowledge, of domestic and public life in Northern Ireland, illustrating its contemporary implications in a divided society.

The approaches and film techniques should interest (principally) the 16 -25 year-old audience Proposals are called for from film production companies and individuals with a track record of working with and producing films for young people in this age range.

Each film proposal should be submitted on one A4 page, and should articulate:

  • The central idea
  • The treatment
  • The creative approach
  • The format
  • The genre

Applications from individuals should indicate the Film company or Executive producers with whom they will be working. The CVs of these must detail previous experience of delivery and production.

The commissioned films will be funded with an allocation of up to £2,000, which will be subject to contract, and against agreed budgets.

Each commissioned film must have copyright cleared for broadcast and transmission on the web, and be submitted to CRC on an edited DVD.

Each individual or film company may submit a maximum of 5 ideas or treatments for films.

The deadline for proposals is 5pm on 31st January 2009, and information on where to send the applications is on the web site.

New 481 Rules

8th December 2008

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has applauded new improvements to Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for film and television, announced today by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Mr. Martin Cullen.

The current Section 481 incentive which extends to 2012 has been amended in order to restore the competitiveness of Ireland as an international film and television location. As a result of these amendments, Ireland is now in a position to offer an extremely attractive package to international producers who choose Ireland as a location, comparing favourably with international competitors.

The benefits of high levels of film and television production in Ireland will include increased international investment in the economy, increased employment in this sector, positive spin-off effects for promoting Ireland as a tourist location and the improvement of Ireland as an industrial location for all aspects of creative endeavors.

Commenting on this recommendation James Morris, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board Chairman said “With the introduction of these amendments the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism is signaling a clear vote of confidence in the industry to deliver not only on the immediate employment and overseas investments in the next twelve months but also on the long term potential for the industry to continue to grow. In this context recently gathered statistics demonstrate dramatically the success of Government policy of promoting an Irish based screen industry through direct funding and film tax incentives. Since 1992 the numbers in the industry have grown from 1000 directly employed to 6000 in 2008 and given the nature of film and television production, this also represents substantial additional spin-off benefits in terms of expenditure in the wider economy.’

The new changes to the tax incentive were introduced by Government in response to the IFB commissioned report ‘Restoring Viability and Balance to the Irish Film Production Industry’ which was submitted to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen earlier this year and will be implemented in the 2009 Finance Bill.

The new changes will assist the IFB and the sector to raise the profile of Ireland as an international film and television location and entice Hollywood productions to locate in Ireland. Whilst Ireland has not attracted any major US features to film on location here this year, IFB-funded film and television projects contributed an estimated total of over €75 million to the Irish economy in 2008, showing a significant return on government investment in this sector. Improvements to our tax incentive for film production will have the direct effect of increasing this return to the economy in 2009.