Apple Series ‘Foundation’ Set To Be Ireland’s Largest Ever Production, Employing 500+ People

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Foundation, the Apple original drama with Jared Harris and Lee Pace that’s based on Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel trilogy, is set to become Ireland’s largest-scale production ever.

At a press briefing in Dublin today, national funding body Screen Ireland talked up the country’s production slate for 2020, noting that the Apple show would create more than 500 production jobs when it shoots at Troy Studios in Limerick.

The 10-episode series from David S. Goyer, Josh Friedman and Skydance Television chronicles the epic saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.

Also filming this year is Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla, the spin-off of the Vikings series, which will shoot at Ashford Studios in Wicklow.

The streamer has ordered 24 episodes of the new series from Vikings creator Michael Hirst and studio MGM Television. It will be written by Jeb Stuart and will take place 100 years after the original series ended.

In total, Screen Ireland has backed some 40 productions for this year, including its first TV shows.

Completed projects coming to the international market in 2020 include series Normal People, the Lenny Abrahamson-directed adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel of the same name.

Ireland has undergone a production boom in the last decade, with spend rising from $181m (€164m) in 2010 to $395m (€357m) in 2019.

The animation sector has been a huge factor, contributing €180m last year. This year’s Irish animation slate includes a new feature, Wolfwalkers, from the Oscar-nominated studio Cartoon Saloon (The Breadwinner, Song Of The Sea).

Désirée Finnegan, who took up the position of Screen Ireland chief executive in September 2019, commented: “Globally, the screen industry is transforming at an unprecedented rate and with the growth of streaming services in the market there is more demand than ever for quality content. This year, we plan to support Irish production companies with a particular focus on the development process and we’re pleased to announce that we will be investing in a fund to support slate development across feature film, animation and TV drama.”

Screen Ireland chair Annie Doona added: “Ireland’s screen production sector has more than doubled in the last decade and it continues to be a critical component of both our economy and our social fabric. Our indigenous industry is growing, and we are active participants in the global growth story with all the major streaming giants now amongst our production partners. The full restoration of Screen Ireland’s annual funding and the ongoing commitment to Section 481 Tax incentives are critical to this success and I look forward to working with the new Government to ensure that the industry is sufficiently equipped to meet our ambitious growth targets.”

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