Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board Publishes 2018 Funding Guidelines

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) wishes to notify applicants that the 2018 Guidelines for its Production and Development Funding schemes have been published. These provide important information including details of the IFB’s criteria and requirements, funding levels available and deadlines for submissions.

A number of changes will be introduced for 2018 including:

Development Funding

  • The introduction of a new development budget template for use with all submissions to the relevant schemes.
  • The deadline for applications to the International Television Drama Development scheme will be 28th February, 29th June and 31st October 2018 only.

Production Funding

  • The introduction of new funding levels for Fiction: Irish Production
  • The addition of enhanced production funding for female directing talent attached to projects which qualify for Documentary Production

Applicants are required to familiarise themselves with the Production Funding Guidelines and Development Funding Guidelines which are downloadable from the relevant sections of the Funding page on the IFB website in advance of making a submission to the IFB



IFB Announces Successful Teams for SHORT STORIES 2

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced the successful teams for its short filmmaking scheme, SHORT STORIES 2.

SHORT STORIES are live-action or animated fiction films between 2–5 minutes in length and this year, the IFB invited filmmakers to examine the theme of IDOLS.

The successful projects are:

Frida Think, to be written and directed by Maya Derrington and produced by Paul Rowley of Still Films. Frida Think will tell the story of a woman who walks into a party dressed as Frida Kahlo, only to find that her version of unique has mass appeal.

Procession, to be written and directed by Jeda de Brí and produced by Claire McCabe of 925 Productions. The film is to be set in a bedraggled community of misfits who gather to mourn one of their own, the only way they know—a raucous, elaborately eccentric, brass-band funeral.

Mary, to be directed by Shaun O’Connor, written by Jonathan Hughes and produced by Sharon Cronin of Character Films. The short will centre on Charlie, who, after managing to destroy the town’s beloved Virgin Mary statue, does the only thing he can do: frames his older brother.

Quest for Love, to be written and directed by Antonia Campbell-Hughes and produced by Ailish Bracken of Against the Grain Films. Quest for Love will see Eve and her son Max move to Paris: but does Eve want motherhood or freedom?

Honest, to be written and directed by Matthew Roche and produced by Hazel Cullen of TW Films. The film features a young boy whose confrontation with the Son of God makes him question his faith and helps restore his honesty.

SHORT STORIES 2 will premiere at the 2018 Galway Film Fleadh. 




IFB Announce New Funding Initiatives for Female Writers and Directors


Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced a number of new funding initiatives at the Galway Film Fleadh specifically targeted at incentivising female writers, directors and producers, in order to directly increase female representation in the Irish film, television and animation industry

The IFB stated its intention in the 6-point plan to achieve 50/50 parity of funding within three years. However, the actual number of funding applications received by the IFB on an ongoing basis, with female writers and directors attached remains relatively low. Therefore, the IFB will roll out a number of funding initiatives focused on increased production and development funding for female led projects and a female focused low budget production funding initiative. These initiatives are aimed at incentivising female talent into the sector and encouraging Irish production companies through the provision of additional funding to develop Irish female talent.

Commenting on the new initiatives Dr Annie Doona, IFB Chair said “These initiatives represent the continued commitment of the IFB to achieving gender parity within the film, television and animation sector. We are of the view that whilst a lot of been achieved in developing the careers of female writers and directors, not enough has been achieved in relation to increasing the actual funding applications received by the IFB, with female talent attached. I believe these direct funding initiatives will incentivise an increased number of applications from female led talent and will support, empower and elevate Irish female talent working within the Industry. 50/50 parity of funding remains our goal.”


The new funding initiatives are:


➢ Low Budget Film Production & Training Scheme for female talent
In the coming months, BSÉ/IFB will launch a new low budget production programme aimed exclusively at emerging and established female Writers and Directors. Following tailored workshops, mentorship and training, talent will have the opportunity to apply for support to produce a feature film with a budget of up to €400,000 fully funded by BSÉ/IFB and S481.
➢ Enhanced Production Funding for female initiated and driven feature films
Increased support of up to €100,000 (subject to meeting BSÉ/IFB prescribed criteria) will be made available for projects under BSÉ/IFB’s Fiction: Irish Production funding for feature films that are creatively lead by an Irish female Writer(s), Director(s) or Writer/Director with effect from September 2017.


Across all other BSÉ/IFB funding schemes, including the BSÉ/IFB Short Film schemes, gender parity across all creative roles will be monitored and encouraged within any applications for support.
➢ Development Focus for female initiated feature films
The IFB has recently appointed a new team of project managers who have taken up their positions in the Production & Development team at the IFB. The team is currently reviewing the Screenplay Development scheme for writers, writing teams and writer and director teams, and amendments to the scheme will be announced shortly. As part of the planned amendments to this scheme, all efforts to ensure gender parity across funding awards will occur. In addition, the IFB plans to pilot one round annually available to female applicants only.


The team is also discussing the introduction of a supplemental funding award for feature films originated and written by Irish female writers with effect from September 2017.


In terms of BSÉ/IFB’s other development funding schemes gender parity across all creative roles will be monitored and encouraged within any applications for support.
➢ Establishment of the Gender Equality and Diversity Subcommittee
A new Gender Equality and Diversity Subcommittee will be appointed by the IFB board, who will consult with external bodies, will be introduced with effect from September 2017. The Subcommittee will establish ongoing policies and guidelines in relation to the application process and funding arrangements and will be responsible for their implementation and delivery.


➢ Promotion and dialogue focused on female talent
BSÉ/IFB will continue to monitor our progress on gender equality and to conduct our dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and partners including RTÉ, the BAI, SPI, Directors Guild, Writers Guild and Animation Ireland. Particular attention will be given over the coming period to dialogue with the major Irish production companies to discuss actions they could take to increase gender equality within the industry.


IFB will introduce a targeted strategy to promote female talent in the sector increasing their visibility, celebrating achievements, supporting their work and promoting gender equality widely to new and existing practitioners as well as the public.

➢ Note that comprehensive information on each of these Initiatives (the exact details of which are subject to change) will be announced in the coming months and will be made available on the IFB website.


Irish Film Board AFTER ’16 Shorts to screen at Collins Barracks


Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board is partnering with National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks this June for a series of screenings of After 16, a programme of short films which were specially commissioned to commemorate the 1916 Rising. The screenings will be complemented by a bespoke panel discussion with filmmakers.

After ’16 is a creative response by Irish filmmakers to the events of Easter 1916. This collection of nine shorts films is a mixture of live action, animation and documentary and includes both contemporary and period pieces.

On Sunday June 12th, the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks will hold a panel discussion with four of the After ’16 filmmakers, including directors, producers and writers, hosted by Dr Kevin Rockett, Professor in Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Panel members will introduce their films with a focus on their research and share their reflections on utilising a historical topic for a creative piece. A discussion will follow which promises to be an insightful look at research methods adopted by creative practitioners working in a historical context.

‘Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising’, one of the largest exhibitions of materials from this period is now open at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. Many of the exhibited objects have never been on public display before while others, such as the Irish Republic flag which flew over the GPO, have been specially conserved. Through the combined effect of the objects, words and imagery of the period, visitors to the exhibition will be confronted with the physical reality of the events of Easter Week, following the stories of those caught up in the events of that momentous week – civilians, combatants and survivors alike.

After ’16 will screen at the AV Lecture Theatre, National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, D7 on each Friday in June from 11am – 1pm and from 2pm – 4pm. Visitors are welcome to watch the full programme or to drop in as they wish. Admission is free and booking is not required.

The panel discussion will take place on Sunday, June 12th at 2.30pm. Admission is free, booking is required by emailing or phoning 01 6486453. 


Statement from the IFB on Gender Equality Six Point Plan

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Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board have ended the year by making a  statement on their Gender Equality Six Point Plan:

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board confirms our ongoing commitment to addressing the issue of gender inequality in Irish film. We are announcing a six point plan addressing gender imbalance in Irish film. This follows on from Acting Chair Dr Annie Doona’s public statement on gender equality in November 2015. The statement addressed the underrepresentation of women in Irish film and the plan now sets out to create an agenda to address this imbalance. The six point plan is as follows:

1.       Information

IFB funding statistics are now published on the IFB website. Combined figures for 2010 to 2015 show that 16% of production funding applications came from projects with female writers attached, 14% came from projects with female directors attached and 36% of production funding applications came from projects with female producers attached. For projects which are completed productions in the same period, 21% had a female writer attached, 18% had a female director attached and 55% had a female producer attached.  We are committed to continued collection and publication of data to highlight inequalities and enable us to address them.  Each IFB Board meeting will review and monitor the latest statistics on gender.

2.       Funding

There needs to be a holistic and integrated approach to achieve real change. The aim is to stimulate applications for development and production funding with female creative talent attached. The target is to achieve 50/50 gender parity in funding over the next three years. We will engage with production companies who have obtained or are seeking IFB funding with a view to raising awareness about gender imbalance and achieving this target. We will also engage with organisations who will provide training to executives involved in funding decisions in gender equality specifically and on cultural diversity generally. The intention is to address issues of unconscious bias within Irish film.

3.       Training and Mentorship  

This will be organised through Screen Training Ireland (STI) who will be announcing a series of initiatives to provide meaningful development, support and career progression for female talent including emerging talent. This will include two international placements for female writers and female directors as well as mentorships for female directors of TV drama and female directors on feature films funded by the IFB in 2016. STI will also be promoting seminars and conferences as well as panels at events and will be seeking to achieve an ongoing consciousness at these events of the need for gender equality and cultural diversity generally and will be seeking to ensure that the panels and speakers themselves also represent that equality and diversity.

4.       Education

Early intervention in the education process is an initial part of change of mind-sets. We will be working with the National Film School at IADT organising events for female transition year students to introduce and encourage them to consider courses in film related areas particularly screen writing, screen directing and screen producing.

5.       Enterprise

We will be working with Enterprise Ireland on their entrepreneurship start-up scheme to include dedicating space at existing incubation centres for female creative talent and encouraging female creative talent to engage with Enterprise Ireland’s existing schemes.

6.       Partnership

We will also be working with other funders in media including the BAI Sound and Vision Fund and the public service broadcasters RTÉ and TG4 so that gender equality is embedded within the decision making process in screen content and that cultural diversity generally is promoted in production which is publically funded. We will also be working with Women in Film and Television Ireland and other bodies nationally and internationally to progress gender equality.


Skills Development in the Audiovisual Industry

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Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have announced the appointment of Crowe Horwath as Consultants to draw up a new Strategy for Skills Development in the Audiovisual Industry.

The development of skills within the audiovisual production sector is integrally linked to Ireland’s capacity to scale and grow the industry.   The film and broadcasting sector is undergoing tremendous turbulence and change as technology changes how content is made and consumed.  The recent introduction of the new and enhanced tax credit will also act as a stimulus to growth.  This strategy will provide an important policy framework for further growth and capacity expansion.

Alongside the development of professional skills within the sector, the strategy will also map the provision of production-related courses at third and continuing level and how they interact with industry.  Other key issues to be addressed will be current and future trends within the industry, influencing workforce skills.

The development of the strategy will comprise interviews with industry stakeholders and an on-line questionnaire to ensure full industry participation.

To register your interest in participating in the online survey please email and you will be contacted by Crowe Horwath in due course.


Irish Film Board to be Renamed as Screen Ireland

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The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD [pictured] has announced her intention to put legislation in place to change the name of the  Irish Film Board to Screen Ireland.

Minister Humphreys said, “The Irish Film Board is our premier agency for promoting and supporting the audio visual sector. Its work extends far beyond the traditional realm of ‘film’ and encompasses the domestic and international TV sector, as well as our growing animation sector. The Irish audio visual sector has been going from strength to strength in recent years, and I believe there is huge capacity for growth. I want the agency tasked with expanding the sector further to have a name that easily communicates its responsibilities”.



Australia and Ireland Partnering on Film



With the imminent release of Strangerland, Glen Falkenstein takes a look at the production partnership between Ireland and Australia.

Co-operation between the Irish and Australian film industries is set to reach a milestone this year, with the release of Strangerland following on the back of various co-productions between the two countries.

Supported by Screen Australia and the Irish Film Board, Strangerland follows a couple (Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes) whose children disappear in the Australian desert right before a massive dust storm arrives at their town. Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) plays the policeman charged with bringing them home.

Co-written by Irish screenwriter Michael Kinirons, the production was filmed in various locations in rural Australia, including Canowindra, a town with a population of about 2,000. Producer Macdara Kelleher commented, “It’s great to be able to bring such talented Irish crew including cinematographer P J Dillon, sound recordist Rob Flanagan… as well as many others, as part of the Irish-Australian co-production.”

Strangerland screened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will see its Australian premiere at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival in June.

Co-operation between the two industries has not been limited to productions but has also included cultural exchanges. Earlier this year, the inaugural Irish Film Festival took place in Sydney to great success and looks set to continue next year. The festival, which featured a number of Australian premieres, screened An Dubh Ina Gheal (Assimilation), which explored the existence of Indigenous Irish Australians and the dispossession of Australia’s Indigenous population.

In 1998, both Ireland and Australia signed a co-production treaty to help foster film and television projects, including drama, documentary and animation features.

Strangerland is not the only Irish production to premiere at the Sydney Film Festival – Song of the Sea, a hand-drawn animation feature inspired by Celtic folklore will be screened multiple times throughout the festival’s 12-day run. Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars, Tomm Moore’s latest, according to the festival organisers, still weeks away from its June start date, will be one of the first films to sell out.


Glen writes film reviews, features, commentary and covers local festivals and events. Glen lives in Sydney. He tweets @GlenFalkenstein