Off of the back of a banner year thanks to the success of titles such as Room and Brooklyn, Ireland’s government has declared its confidence in the country’s film business and has granted national funding body, the Irish Film Board, an additional €2M ($2.2M) to its annual budget. That’s a 13.8% increase for the public funding body to €16.47M ($18.2M) from €14.47M ($16M).
This is important money for indigenous films in the territory, which goes to support writers, directors and production companies by providing investment loans for the development, production and distribution of film, television and animation projects. IFB has invested in a large portion of Irish films that make it to the screen including Sing Street, Room, Brooklyn and The Lobster. With international productions looking increasingly to the territory to benefit from its lucrative tax credit, which was upped from 28% to 32% last year, this increase in government support will be a boon to the local sector.
“The Irish Government has recognized the achievement of Irish filmmakers and have demonstrated their commitment to the future of the Irish film, television and animation sectors,” said IFB chair Annie Doona in a statement.
But, she noted, the boost is still not back to 2008 levels, when IFB’s budget sat at €20M ($22M). That year, the board suffered at the hands of austerity and saw its budget slashed by nearly half to €11.7M ($12.8M).
“Earlier this year, the IFB board called for a restoration of IFB funding to 2008 levels of €20M, which we believe is critical to building on the current success of the industry and remains a key element to the IFB strategic plan over the next five years,” said Doona. “At our current reduced budget levels, the IFB has invested in projects which have won major international acclaim, connected with Irish audiences and generated €150M at the global box office over the last 18 months. We welcome today’s budget increase and remain ambitious in our vision and future goals for the sector.”
Irish films notched up nine Oscar nominations earlier this year and grossed $145M at the worldwide box office in 2015/16. Recent local hits include The Young Offenders and A Date for Mad Mary.