Friday, July 16, 2010

The grant-aid slide

Because I haven't seen it laid out anywhere else I was curious to know how Arts Council grant aid for film organisations has fared over the last few years. Here's a table I've put together.

* RFO = Regularly Funded Organisations; AF = Annual Funding; APG = Annual Programme Grant. Note: the 2010 figures are the Arts Council loan 'offers' for the year.

Aside from the predictable annual decreases perhaps the most depressing aspect of the table is the absence of any new entrants over the three-year period. That and the knowledge that having eventually earned Arts Council support an organisation could face cuts, through no fault of its own, after more than two decades of steady endeavour.

I will check if the loss of IPSG and SDGI grants has been met to any extent by a contribution from the Film Board, although that might set up a dependency that would not be ideal. However, the Film Board's latest published accounts only come up to 2007. [Edit: see 2nd table below ~]

In addition to the above the Arts Council and the Film Board (the Cultural Cinema Consortium) also offered grants under the 'Cinema Digitisation Scheme'. These were grants "towards the cost of purchasing and installing digital projection equipment available to full-time cinema operators who can demonstrate that they currently provide a clear majority of diverse programming on a year-round basis."

The scheme offered grants to cover 85% of installation costs for up to ten cinema screens, subject to a maximum contribution of €75,000 per screen.

The recipients announced 21 January, 2009 were -
Light House Cinema 200,000
Irish Film Institute 150,000
Screen Cinema 110,000
Cinema North West 75,000*
Cinemobile 75,000*
Mermaid Arts Centre 70,000
Town Hall, Galway 70,000
Total 750,000
*mobile cinemas

~The table below is taken from the IFB annual report for 2007, the last year for which IFB accounts have been published. It includes the then support being given to the two Guilds along with other 'capital' grants which may have been increased or reduced since 2007.

1. The IFB does not publish these decisions when they are made so one has to wait one and a half years or more before finding out, for instance, that the Board gave significant subvention to Ardmore Studios, in addition to the substantial production funding given to projects shooting at the studio.
2. What 'other' European organisation(s) received €10,000?
3. Why has the 'Solas Picture Palace' been given funding on top of that from the Cultural Cinema Consortium or, to look at it another way, why have all the 'art house' projects not been similarly funded?
4. The Cinemobile seems a bit expensive when you add up all the public funding.
5. Is the Media Desk value for money at a time when most people use the internet for information?
6. At €120,000 in 2007 the allocation for IFTA seems high given that membership subscriptions, awards entry fees, and some income on awards night must bring in sizeable revenue.

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