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New funding to help film and music industries cope with 'devastating impact' of pandemic

Screen Ireland announced its new funds, while IMRO, IRMA, and First Music Contact announced a new payment.

Image: Shutterstock/guruXOX

SCREEN IRELAND HAS announced a new range of funds to help filmmakers cope with the “devastating impact” the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the Irish film industry.

These latest supports follow on from previous supports already announced.

Workers in the Irish music industry will also be helped by a new €750 payment available from an emergency relief fund which was announced today. The fund has been set up by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and First Music Contact (FMC), who will administer the fund.

Film industry

Screen Ireland said today that its key priority is to provide practical and effective funding measures to support production companies and creative talent, across feature film, TV drama, animation and documentary.

Its new stimulus measures include practical supports, and are designed to aid production companies and creative talent in developing a strong slate of quality projects. It said this is so that the industry can emerge from the current situation “in a position to scale up production activity”.

These measures include:

  • Strategic slate development fund
  • Enhanced development support
  • Creative concept development scheme
  • Enhanced investment in screenplay and spotlight schemes
  • Financial planning for companies
  • Funding schemes for skills development

The strategic slate development fund was originally announced earlier this year but has been enhanced and customised to respond to the challenges the pandemic presents, said Screen Ireland.

The fund is valued at up to €3 million and aims to support strategic slate project development “with strong creative ambition and a focus on diversity and inclusion”. This fund will come from Screen Ireland’s 2020 capital budget allocation for slate funding and has been increased by €2 million in response to the impact of the global pandemic.

The fund will be made available as quickly as possible and over a one-year period. 

Screen Ireland will also provide an additional €1 million in enhanced development support across feature film, TV and animation, which will be available to Irish production companies working with writers on a project by project basis, where the Strategic Slate Funding Scheme does not apply. Ninety per cent of this funding will be made available upfront for successful applicants.

A new creative conceptual development fund will be made available directly to Irish directors aimed at projects for feature film and television. At the end of this process, directors will have created a proof of concept for a feature film or television show ready to take to a producer or to the market.

There will also be an additional €100K total investment into the Screenplay Development and the Spotlight writing schemes. The Spotlight scheme is for discovering and developing new screenwriting talent, while screenplay development supports experienced writers/directors to write a live action or animated feature film.

Screen Ireland will also be making a line of funding available for companies in need of urgent financial planning support. It will provide funding to enable production companies to develop a financial plan with the advice of a financial consultant. The fund is worth up to €150K, with companies able to apply for a maximum of €5K.

Screen Skills Ireland has also repurposed two of its funding schemes. Its festivals and events funding scheme has been repurposed as a skills development events funding Scheme, which will assist Irish organisations and film festivals to provide online industry events including masterclasses and workshops.

The international bursary award scheme has been repurposed as a bursary award scheme to support industry professionals to undertake high-level online skills development courses.

Screen Skills Ireland will also introduce two new funding schemes, one to provide mentor support and another to support screen stakeholders and guilds to deliver skills-related activity over the course of a year.

Screen Ireland is also establishing a COVID-19 Industry Sub-Committee and said it is continuing to work with its partners and stakeholders on the issue.

Further details and guidelines are currently available on the Screen Ireland website and the Screen Skills website.

Music industry relief fund

Meanwhile, an Irish music industry Covid-19 emergency relief fund has been set up by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and First Music Contact (FMC), who will administer the fund.

Successful applicants will receive a once-off emergency relief payment to the value of €750. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of music industry professionals.

The fund has been created to assist Irish music creators who are currently experiencing the most financial need, and is open to songwriters, composers, performers, session musicians and arrangers.

In addition to the financial contributions by IMRO and IRMA, Spotify is making a donation and is also matching donations made to the Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund via its Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page.

It said it will do this “dollar-for-dollar, up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million for the collective verified organisations worldwide”.

There will also be the chance for companies or individuals to make private donations to boost the fund.

“The livelihoods of music creators, many of whom are freelancers or small businesses themselves, are at significant risk during this crisis, as traditional revenue streams dry up,” said the organisers. 

People can apply for the fund here.

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