Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gearscannáin (pron. gyaarh-scon-oin)

A correspondent writes...

I suspect you've been thinking about this already but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the recently announced new IFB scheme. Marks a U-turn from the 2008 strategy that sought to rescue Irish-language film from the ghetto. Does the new scheme suggest that few or no Irish language scripts were being submitted in the absence of the promise of special treatment or is there something else afoot in the current cultural-economic climate?

The correspondent is right, I had been thinking about the Irish language angle for a while because the IFB recently made very obvious efforts to declare that they do or can do business through the medium of Irish.

It struck me as ironic that the powers that be only issue those releases in the Irish language, in much the same way that RTÉ's Nuacht carries news items relating to language issues that are never reported on their English language bulletins half an hour later. Either the items are news or they're not. It's an approach that runs the risk of creating a ghetto effect around the Irish language.

I can only assume that the IFB were obliged to very publicly offer their services through Irish either under a timeframe laid down by the relevant legislation or because of political pressure. I suspect that this means that all their information and application documents have been or are being translated into the Irish language.

I might say here, for the record, that I believe any citizen ought to be able to conduct any aspect of their business with the state though the medium of Irish if they wish to do so. I believe that is their right. The image of a head of a state agency having to use an interpreter in discussions with a citizen is one that amuses me, I have to say. Just as much as it does when such figures address English-speaking audiences in Irish.

The first thing to observe about Gearscannán (interestingly this information was released in English and Irish) is that the IFB has given no policy explanation for the change.

The move does suggest to me that either Irish language projects were not being submitted in sufficient quantities, or someone decided they were not being funded in sufficient quantities. If they have been receiving Irish language projects for the various short film schemes, however, but found none of sufficient quality to support, then that raises a whole lot of other questions.

In the past the IFB is known to have solicited short film projects when the standard fell short among the projects submitted to it for the non-animated short film schemes. If this practice has continued into present times with Irish language film makers not being approached then that would raise another issue.

If there is now a guaranteed fund for two shorts in the Irish language will they be required to be of the same standard as their English language equivalents?

Will people with projects conceived in English just decide to translate their projects into Irish because they figure, as happened in the past, that their chances of success might improve? And, is there any particular reason that TG4 were not involved as they had been with the highly successful Oscailt scheme?

Spot the difference(s)...
Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board is delighted to announce that applications are being sought for the new short film scheme ‘Gearrscannáin'. Applications will be accepted until 17th December 2010.
Tá áthas ar Bhord Scannán na hÉireann iarratais a éileamh don chéad bhabhta eile den scéim an-rathúil ‘Gearrscannán. Is é an Aoine 17ú Nollaig 2010 an spriocdháta nua don scéim.

Lastly, I believe this is the first time the IFB has introduced an age classification into one of their schemes, ba chóir go mbeidh siad in ann grádú ‘faoi 15' a bhaint amach. So projects in Irish but only suitable for the under 15s, and yet the distribution is going to be primarily online, Déanfar an scéim a sholáthar ar-líne den chuid is mó.

A case of two plus two equals cúig.

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