Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the national development agency for the Irish film, television and animation industry published details of all production activity undertaken in Ireland in 2013. The figures for the industry show that production activity for the independent film, television drama and animation sector has reached the highest level on record, contributing over €168 million* into the Irish economy through employment creation and spend on local goods and services. This represents an increase of approximately 18% on 2012 figures and 42% on 2011 figures.The details were outlined by James Hickey, Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, at an event which gave an overview of the industry in 2013 and an outlook for the year ahead. Speaking at the event, Mr. Hickey said: “This has been a strong growth year for the independent film, television and animation industry, with significant positive benefits both for Irish culture and the economy. The availability of strong Irish talent and creativity across all aspects of the production cycle, as well as growing numbers of enterprising Irish production companies, are just two of the factors that are driving this upward trend and helping to build Ireland’s reputation in the global industry.”
A key focus of the Board in 2014 will be to continue to invest in creative talent to help develop and deepen overall skills through the delivery of a diverse range of training programmes through our training arm Screen Training Ireland.”
2014 Slate of Projects
There are a number of exciting projects in the development pipeline with the IFB. These include Glassland starring Jack Reynor (Transformers, What Richard Did) and Toni Collette and directed by Gerard Barrett (Pilgrim Hill), and an adaptation of Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn starring Domhnall Gleeson (Sensation) and Saoirse Ronan (Byzantium).
Audiences can look forward to a wide range of film releases in 2014 including the upcoming comedy The Stag starring Andrew Scott, Hugh O’Conor and Amy Huberman in March, the sci-fi film The Last Days on Mars directed by Ruairi Robinson and Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson in April, and Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank starring Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender in May.
Review of 2013
This year the IFB supported twelve Irish feature films, six creative feature co-productions, seventeen feature documentaries, two TV dramas and eight animated projects.
Over the course of 2013, the funding arm of the IFB directly invested €7.5m in feature film, television drama and animation projects. This investment enabled Irish producers to raise €59.5 million, which was invested directly into the Irish economy through employment and spend on local goods and services.
While film and animation production has remained steady, 2013 has seen significant growth in major international high-end TV drama production. This was driven partly by the IFB International Production Fund which has played an important role in attracting international TV drama production to Ireland over the last number of years. Production activity in this area has increased over the past two years from €28 million in 2011 to €81 million in 2013.
Support from this Fund contributed to bringing Ripper Street and Vikings to Ireland for their first seasons. Both concluded a second season of filming in 2013, providing a significant boost to Ireland. The first series of Penny Dreadful, which is also in receipt of the IFB International Production Fund, began production in Ireland this year and was worth over €33 million to the Irish economy.
Investment in Local Talent
Other projects supported by the IFB that will come to market in 2014 include films by established directors Mary McGuckian (The Price of Desire), John Boorman (Queen and Country) and Ken Loach (Jimmy’s Hall); first-time feature directors Vivienne deCourcy (Wild), Brian O’Malley (Let Us Prey) and Lisa Mulcahy (The Legend of Longwood); and returning feature directors Ken Wardrop (Gentlemen), Niall Heery (Gold) and Terry McMahon (Patrick’s Day).
Production also began on the animation feature film Song of the Sea from the company behind the Academy Award® nominated The Secret of Kells. Irish animation TV producers performed outstandingly at Cartoon Forum this year, presenting the highest number of IFB-backed animated series ever to key financiers. These projects included Puffin Rock, narrated by Chris O’Dowd, which sold to Nickelodeon Junior.
Outlook for 2014
“We are forecasting another strong year next year. Major films already in the mix for 2014 include Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender, and Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson, both of which will have their World Premiere at Sundance in January, showcasing Irish talent on the world stage.
“There is no doubt that a supportive Government policy and IFB investment are assisting Irish producers to compete internationally. Section 481 has put Ireland on the map and the enhancements of this measure in the recent Budget are welcomed. We anticipate that this will be the engine for additional growth in 2014, helping to further develop this high-value creative industry for Ireland,” Mr Hickey concluded.
* This figure of €168 million represents the Irish expenditure for all projects which went into production this year in the categories of independent film, TV drama, animation and feature documentary only. It does not include broadcaster spend in the categories of entertainment, lifestyle, documentary and factual.
The Irish Film 2014 production catalogue is now available online. View it here.