Archive for July, 2009

IFB Stands Up

27th July 2009 by Maura McHugh

Bord Scanánn na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board (BSÉ/IFB) has made a statement about the recommendations in the Report of Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (An Bord Snip Nua).

To be clear, the Report recommends the abolition of the Irish Film Board, the winding-up of its investment funds and the transfer of its enterprise functions to Enterprise Ireland.

Government funding, provided directly to the sector through BSÉ/IFB (€18.8m in 2009), is a key component of the entire audiovisual content industry. A recent survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers valued Ireland’s audiovisual content industry at over half a billion euro per annum and found that it now offers permanent employment to over 6,000 individuals. The industry in turn supports an ecology that generates many other indirect employment benefits arising out of production activities around the country.

The immediate loss of employment that withdrawal of BSÉ/IFB funding will cause is likely to cost the State in excess of the sought after savings. Further, the strategic importance of Ireland’s content industries to the creation of a Smart Economy – as described in the Government’s recent policy paper “Building Ireland’s Smart Economy” – is also at risk of being undermined.

The funding provided through BSÉ/IFB attracts additional finance that today supports an increasing level of private sector employment. The growth potential of the audiovisual content industry, as an essential component of the Smart Economy strategy, represents one of the best prospects of employment for young people seeking jobs in the future. For these reasons we believe it is important, in the context of the immediate crisis in the public finances, to ask Government to consider carefully the economic impact and employment consequences of this particular recommendation.

To be taken into consideration also are the consequences for Ireland if it were to become the only developed country in the world producing no films for the cinema, and thereby losing the most powerful tool available for establishing and sustaining its cultural identity abroad. It is well understood by all countries that the projection of an image of a country, its people and its way of life onto the screens of the world pays direct dividends in terms of inward investment, trade in goods and services, and tourism. Almost one in two US tourists to Ireland now state that their decision to come was triggered by seeing Ireland in the movies.

If the case for maintaining an Irish audiovisual content industry stands up, then we can demonstrate that BSÉ/IFB, through the accumulated knowledge and expertise of its staff, and their core competence in managing the business of creativity, is fit for today’s purpose. The effectiveness of the agency’s policies and the efficiency of its operation, at a cost of 10% of its total annual funding, compare favourably when benchmarked against similar agencies in other European and English-speaking countries, as well as against other Irish State Agencies.

Berlinale 2010

24th July 2009 by Maura McHugh

The online application system for the Berlinale Talent Campus (February, 13 – 18, 2010) is now open.

The Berlinale Talent Campus is a creative academy and networking platform for 350 up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the world that runs alongside the Berlin Film Festival. It offers a variety of activities, including workshops and hands-on training, for emerging talent within the film industry.

Read the qualifying criteria carefully before applying.

Applicants can edit their data at any time until the deadline of October 7, 2009.

Frameworks 2009

24th July 2009 by Maura McHugh

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, the Arts Council and RTÉ have announced the successful FRAMEWORKS projects for this year.

FRAMEWORKS is aimed exclusively at the production of animated short films up to six minutes in duration. It is currently in its 14th year having been established in 1995 with the intention of developing new talent and skills in the area of animation. It has been very successful to date in supporting the production of exciting and creative work.

“23 Degrees 5 Minutes” to be written and directed by Darragh O’Connell and produced by Colm Tyrell of Brown Bag Films.

“The Meaning of Eggsistence” to be written and directed by Bruce Ryder and produced by Stephen Rennicks and Lenny Abrahamson of Element Films.

“The Boy Who Lived in a Bubble” to be written and directed by Kealan O’Rourke and produced by Brian Willis of Igloo Productions.

“Red Lead” to be written and directed by Tony O’Donoghue and produced by Cathal Black of Mayfly Films Ltd.

“Paperman” to be written by Richard Kelly and Sean Ryan, directed by Richard Kelly and produced by Jessica Kelly of Prickly Pear Productions.

Perry Puzzled by Proposed Cuts

23rd July 2009 by Maura McHugh

The CEO of the Irish Film Board, Simon Perry, has spoken to The Hollywood Reporter about the recent proposal to scrap the board and merge it with Enterprise Ireland.

“Does the Irish government really want Ireland to be the only country in the developed world making no films at all?” he asked. “It’s hard to imagine.”

Perry said there has been exponential growth in the Irish media sector during the past 20 years, with employment rising from a few hundred to more than 6,000.

“Closure of the Irish Film Board would mean that the production of Irish films will stop completely, with the loss not just of the 17 public-sector jobs within the agency but of potentially thousands of private-sector jobs associated with Irish filmmaking,” Perry said.

The board chief noted a recent survey that found nearly 50% of tourists decide to visit the country after seeing Ireland depicted in films. …

“At a time when the Irish government is deeply concerned by the daily toll of job losses in the private sector, we are very puzzled by the recommendation,” he said. “We suspect that the authors of the report may not be aware of the recent growth in Ireland’s audiovisual sector.”

Storyland 3

22nd July 2009 by Maura McHugh

The final three webisodes in the Storyland competition are now online and up for voting.

The three left standing are:

  • Hardy Bucks
  • Psych Ward
  • Rental Boys

Voting closes at 5pm on Friday 31st July.