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Irish Film Board wants more government money for the movie business

Chairman of the IFB Bill O’Herlihy says more can be done to improve the film industry.

THE IRISH FILM Board (IFB) wants more money from government this year to fund the production of Irish film.

Bill O’Herlihy, former RTÉ broadcaster and current Chairman of the IFB, said that “great potential” exists within the industry, but warned that the IFB has been operating with 50% less funding.

The IFB’s overall budget has been cut by 5.7% to €14 million for 2014.

Despite cuts, the production of Irish movies has grown in the last year, increasing 6.5% on 2013 production activity levels and 37% on 2012.

Bord Scannan na hEireann/Ir Pictured at the event were, from left, actor and screenwriter Mark O'Halloran, actor Tara Lee, Bill O'Herlihy, Chairman, Irish Film Board, actor and screenwriter Amy Huberman, director John Carne, actor Peter Coonan, actor Sarah Greene, and James Hickey, Chief Executive, Irish Film Board. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Speaking at a media briefing today – attended by a number of well-known actors including Love/Hate’s Peter Coonan, Penny Dreadful’s Penny Greene and actor and writer Amy Huberman – Herlihy said the board believed that it “can do better than that”.

Emphasising that he did not want to denigrate what has been achieved, he said:

We are ambitious, we want to achieve more and more for the industry. 

Five-year plan 

He said that a five-year plan, which key people have contributed to, is being drawn up and will be published in the second quarter of this year.

The proposals are set to look at new areas of growth for the industry and Herlihy says it will be “all inclusive”.

He said it will then bring the strategy to the relevant departments where “a case will be made for a stronger government contribution”.

Hopefully now things are improving there will be more money available and as a consequence the five year strategy becomes hugely  important.

“There is a great deal of work to do,” said Herlihy, adding that the new strategy will be a “blueprint” for the industry going forward and will look at new initiatives to develop talent.

Bord Scannan na hEireann/Ir Clockwise from top left, Bill O'Herlihy, Chairman, Irish Film Board, director John Carne, actor and screenwriter Mark O'Halloran, actor Peter Coonan, actor Tara Lee, and actor Sarah Greene. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Evaluating work done in 2014, the IFB said it invested just under €10 million generating production expenditure of over €42 million in relation to IFB funded projects last year.

James Hickey, chief executive said that the film industry has shown growth “even in the recession years” and has funded many Irish projects that have gone on to great successes.

He commended the 18 Irish films released in Irish cinema last year, which included Calvary (taking in €1.6 million at the Irish box office) and The Stag which was made on a budget of just €750,000.

Star Wars

Hicky also congratulated the short film Coda which has been longlisted for an Academy Award and highlighted the international productions filming here, such as Penny Dreadful, Ripper, as well as the few days Star Wars spent filming on Skelig Michael.

Loans were awarded to many projects last year, which include, director Jim Sheridan’s ‘Secret Scripture’ which has been awarded over €615,000 from the IFB. 

International productions have also been on the receiving end of funds, such as Element Picture’s Ripper Street, which was awarded €250,000.

Distribution loans were awarded to a number of last year’s well-known movies and documentaries, including The Stag, which recieved €75,000, Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Frank’ which recieved €60,000 and The Guarantee, which recieved €30,000

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