Bord Scannán na hÃ‰ireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the national development agency for the Irish film industry, today announced its latest funding decisions. In a significant boost to the indigenous film, television and animation industry, the IFB decisions will ensure Ireland’s continued growth in this key sector, providing vital support and allow Irish production companies to raise international market investment for their projects. The funding decisions represent the agency’s response to production applications processed over the last three months to the end of October.
Ireland’s film, television and animation industry is widely recognised as a significant economic contributor and is worth over â‚¬557 million to the Irish economy and employs 5,000 individuals. The Creative Capital strategic plan which was launched in July this year aims to double the value of the audiovisual industry to â‚¬1 billion, to double the number of jobs to 10,000 and to increase exports in the sector.
Among the highlights in today’s announcement are details of further support for Ireland’s thriving animation industry; confirmation on filming for Neil Jordan’s major feature film ‘Byzantium’; detail on ‘Mister John’ the first ever Irish-Singapore co-production; and funding for a number of feature-length films by famed short-film directors.
Parallel Film Productions are to receive support towards the production of ‘Byzantium’. Directed by Neil Jordan and written by Moira Buffini, this vampire film starring Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton and Sam Reilly will commence filming in a number of locations around Ireland, including Dublin and Wicklow and it is also expected that the project will film in another regional location. Produced by Alan Moloney and Stephen Woolley, it is estimated that ‘Byzantium’ will result in a net inflow of just under â‚¬7 million to the Irish economy in terms of spend on local jobs, goods and services.
Ireland’s burgeoning animation industry sees six projects approved for funding. Emmy-award winning, Boulder Media, which produces work for Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon, is co-producing the animated feature film entitled ‘Astrid Silverlock & the Staff of Virtue’. Oscar-nominated, Brown Bag Films, will receive development support for ‘The Wooden Sword’ directed by Paul Bolger. Multi-award winning Igloo Films’ latest project is entitled ‘The Boy in the Bubble’, written by Will Collins and directed by Kealan O’Rourke and is being developed into a feature film from a short film funded by the IFB which premiered at the Galway Film Festival this year. Monster Distributes are to produce ‘I’m a Creepy Crawly’, whilst Magpie6 Media are working on two projects, both directed by Paul Shanahan: ‘The Adventures of Young Marco Polo’ and ‘Inis Spraoi’. Recent Cartoon Forum winners Monster Animation are in late stage development for their science based children’s television series ‘Cosmo’.
The first ever co-production between Ireland and Singapore: ‘Mister John’ is a feature-length film produced by Samson Films, and represents a further move by the IFB to create new production opportunities, opening up the Asian market for Irish producers.
Short film Oscar nominee, director Steph Green has also received support for her much anticipated feature film debut ‘Run and Jump’. Written by Ailbhe Keogan, the project was selected for the prestigious Sundance Labs in 2010, has attracted significant international market investment and is one of a number of feature-length film debuts from new talent developed by the IFB.Â Another upcoming director Peter McDonald, whose award-winning short ‘Pentecost’ made a splash on the international festival circuit last year, received development funding for ‘The Steamroller’ which he will co-write with Irish actor Michael McElhatton who will also star in the project.Â Jim Sheridan is also developing a re-imagined version of the feature film “Into the West”.
Commenting on the announcement today, James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÃ‰ireann/ the Irish Film Board said: “The Irish film and television industry continues to grow despite the challenging economic conditions that prevail. The number of projects produced in this country and the resulting inflows into the economy has grown year-on-year and we are very proud of the role that the industry is playing in terms of employment creation and exports.
“The strength and breadth of applications for funding this quarter was diverse and impressive and shows the strong mix between large scale feature length productions, animation and documentary films.Â Â These funding decisions reflect the Board’s intention to foster Irish talent and creativity as well as support productions that have a strong opportunity of enjoying commercial success.
“We envisage that these production investments alone, will result in generating production activity of up to â‚¬38 million and will ensure that 2012 will be another year of sustained activity for the Irish film, television and animation industry.”
These decisions are part of an overall framework of the Creative Capital Report which was launched by Minister Jimmy Deenihan in July identifying the audiovisual sector as a pillar of Ireland’s creative industries and a key area in which to deliver growth and jobs to the Irish economy over the next five years.
Leading Irish producer Alan Moloney, whose credits include ‘Albert Nobbs’, ‘Neverland’ and ‘Treasure Island’ said “The investment by the IFB in ‘Byzantium’ will ensure that the project can be produced in Ireland, bringing with it international investment and ensuring Irish talent are attached to it.Â Â The Irish film and television industry has major potential for future growth and delivering a strong return to the Irish exchequer in terms of job creation.”