The Irish Film and TV industry received a welcome boost yesterday as Cork City and County Councils announced plans to establish the Cork Screen Commission.
Representing an immediate investment of €100,000 in the region’s indigenous film industry, the Commission will be the primary point of contact for companies working or intending to work on location in Cork. The Cork Screen Commission will be managed by Cork Film Centre, on behalf of the City and County Councils. The new Cork Screen Commission will have its headquarters at the old Gunpowder Mills Centre in Ballincollig, Cork.
The Irish film and television sector has been identified as a key economic contributor by the Government Smart Economy Report. In 2010, the Irish film and television sector had a record year in terms of production, generating €225 million for the Irish economy, creating jobs and spend on local goods and services.
The newly formed Cork Screen Commission’s key roles are:
· To actively market the Cork region as a prime location for film and TV production.
· To support the region’s indigenous film and TV industry which consists of a highly talented group of professionals.
· To provide a comprehensive production support service for those involved in the industry.
Cllr. Jim Daly, Mayor of the County of Cork, said: “The film sector in Ireland employs over 6,000 individuals, with more than 560 small and medium enterprises operating in the film and television business. Our key aim is to develop a co-ordinated approach to maximising the cultural and economic benefits associated with this business. The economic spin-offs from even modest productions locating here are enormous. Today’s announcement reflects a firm commitment by both local authorities to promote Cork as a key location for making TV programmes and films.”
Cllr. Michael O’Connell, Lord Mayor of Cork, said: “Cork is one of Ireland’s prime filming locations. Easily accessible by land, sea and air, the city itself offers a wealth of film friendly locations. A short drive brings you to beautiful coastal towns like Cobh and Kinsale, while further afield the dramatic landscapes of West Cork provide among the fines scenic locations to be found anywhere in Europe. We already have many talented film and TV professionals based here in Cork and are anxious to promote and develop our indigenous film and TV production industry”.
Chris Hurley, Manager, Cork Film Centre, said: “The setting up of Cork Screen Commission demonstrates a sense of co-operation, vision and commitment on the part of the City and County Councils to the further development of the film and television industries”.
“Cork Film Centre works with filmmakers from entry-level to industry professionals, and we see this exciting initiative as a natural extension of the services we provide. The Screen Commission has the potential to significantly increase the level of indigenous filmmaking in the region, as well as attracting outside productions, leading to the development of skills, increased employment, and economic benefit to the greater Cork area”, Mr. Hurley concluded.
Mags O’Sullivan, Deputy Film Commissioner, The Irish Film Board, said: “We warmly welcome the establishment of Cork Screen Commission. Cork has a strong tradition of filmmaking and in recent years has played host to many award winning Irish and international film and television productions. By setting up an office dedicated to assisting both local and overseas filmmakers, the City and County councils have shown a strong commitment to filmmaking, and an acknowledgement of the positive creative, economic and tourist impacts that filmmaking can have on a region”.
Cork has played host to film crews for decades. John Huston famously brought his 1956 production of ‘Moby Dick’ to Cork’s coast. Various parts of the county have enjoyed temporary film status ever since John Robert’s ‘War of the Buttons’ was filmed here in 1993.
‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ was filmed in Bandon, Mallow and Buttevant and won the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious top prize – the Palme D’Or – in 2006. Other high profile productions filmed locally include: Neil Jordan’s ‘Ondine’, shot on location in Castletownbere; Paddy Breathnach’s, ‘I Went Down’; Aisling Walsh’s IFTA winner ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’; and two years ago Conor McPherson’s award winning atmospheric feature ‘The Eclipse’ was also filmed in Cork. Kirsten Sheridan’s ‘Disco Pigs’ brought the incredible talents of young writer Enda Walsh to an international audience and launched the film career of Cork’s own Cillian Murphy.
The new Cork Screen Commission will network within the industry and deliver a focused marketing programme aimed at maximising levels of film and TV production in the region. The Commission will also link to and be part of other marketing developments initiated locally through the two local authorities, Fáilte Ireland and the local enterprise agencies. It will also link with National promotional campaigns developed through the Irish Film Board, Tourism Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation.