Irish film and TV sector reports outputs of €360m

22 Oct 2010

Outputs valued at more than €360m were achieved by the Irish film and TV sector during 2010, making it the best year in the sector’s history. This was achieved through a substantial increase in independent TV production and film projects, the Audio Visual Federation revealed.

Speaking ahead of the Audiovisual Federation’s conference which takes place on 18 November, Audiovisual Federation (AVF) director Tommy McCabe said the independent film and TV sector bounced back from a low in 2009 to strong growth in 2010.

McCabe said that sustaining this momentum will be a key topic for discussion at the conference, which is themed around ‘Digital Content and the Creative Economy’.

Key to sustaining momentum will be the retention of the Section 481 tax breaks which make Ireland attractive for international film projects. “The Government has said that Section 481 will remain in place until 2012 and we hope that it will be retained beyond that point because it is good for mobile investment projects.”

Key to Ireland’s attractiveness as an international location is its English-speaking population, it’s strong links with Hollywood from a production and artistic point of view and its overall reputation as a place to make films. “The reputation for filmmaking in Ireland has risen particularly in the last 15 years, it’s regarded as a good place to get things done.”


A scene from the movie Avatar. Photo: WETA

Earlier this year, the sheer number of Irish-related films and artists nominated for the Academy Awards arrested the world’s attention. While Dubliner Richie Baneham picked up an Oscar for his digital animation work on Avatar, other projects like the The Tomm Moore-directed The Secret of Kells, which featured the voices of Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally, was nominated in the Best Animated Film category. Director Nicky Phelan and producer Darragh O’Connell’s Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, written and performed by comic Kathleen O’Rourke, was among the Best Animated Short Film nominees. Juanita Wilson and James Flynn’s The Door was nominated for Best Short Film (Live Action).

“As well as these successes, we’ve also seen The Tudors pick up an Emmy for Outstanding Costumes. We’re seen more and more as a country where we have a high skill set in film.”


Johnathan Rhys Meyers and Tasmin Merchant star in The Tudors

A ‘three screens’ world

The rise and rise of the internet, as well as the arrival of smartphones and digital television, has presented the film and TV industries with the challenge and opportunity of making products for a world of “three screens”, said McCabe.

“The whole world is moving online and the audio-visual sector in Ireland needs to look at online opportunities for traditional content, as well as dealing with the threats of piracy and illegal downloading of content.

“The opportunities are there for people to produce more and more content and production values will have to reflect the three-screens approach to ensure viewer satisfaction, whether they are consuming content on their Android phone or their iPad tablet computer. I promise you, these are challenges and opportunities the audio-visual sector in Ireland will meet head on,” McCabe said.

Speaking at the conference on the subject of Film, TV and Animation in a Digital World will be key industry leaders, such as Mark Deering of Sky Ireland and Cathal Gaffney of Brown Bag Films.

The implications of the internet and mobile content will be discussed by Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, Muirne Laffan of RTE and Google’s director of YouTube EMEA Sebastian Missoffe.

Tackling the issue of ‘Internationalising the Creative Economy’ will be such speakers as Jane Kelly of Big Mountain, among others.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years