Monday, October 24, 2011

Capital grants!

While the Irish Film Board's production and development loans are usually published and archived there is perhaps an area of IFB spending which doesn't attract as much attention and is seldom tracked, partly because of the two-year gap between the decisions being made and their later publication in the IFB annual reports.

This is a listing of the Board's other capital payments (they might be better described as grants since they're non-recoverable) for the years 2006-2009.

Notable, I think, is the €500,000 paid to Ardmore Studios. The substantial contribution to IFTA and the Guilds. The annual Eurimages subscription - a fund which has largely been captured by the co-production service sector. And the extent of investment in Cultural Cinema, Digital Exhibition and, especially, the Solas Picture Palace cinema project in Galway.

Click to enlarge...


Anonymous said...

Very useful information IFP - in my view, 26% of the Board's capital spending over the 4 years listed (€ 1.45 million out of a total of € 5.575 million) has been criminally wasted on the follies of Solas and top-down, ideologically-driven "digitisation" and "cultural cinema" schemes whose value is deeply questionable.

Meanwhile there are sundry examples of grossly under-funded organisations in this area, where, to borrow a phrase coined by an Irish actress some years back, people are "living on beans and toast".

Anonymous said...

Hi IFP, I'm wondering if you could answer a question for me : Q: Could you explain to myself and others what the Producer Recoupment Fund is and how this scheme is operated and who set this Fund up and who benefits from this fund ? Please if you can keep the answer as basic as you can I'd appreciate it so it's explainable to others within the industry .

irish film portal said...

Anonymous 2, I take it you're referring to the Irish Film Board's 'Producer Recoupment Incentive' - a scheme established in 2007?
The way that it works is that the producer recoups on a 50/50 basis the money invested by the IFB.
So, as an example, if the IFB backs a project with a €500,000 production loan it will share recoupment with the producer as if the producer had put up €250,000 of the money themselves. If revenue of €100,000 came in then the Board would get €50,000 and the producer would get €50,000.
And, to look at it another way, the film would have to bring in €1m before the Board would get its loan back.
It's a very producer-friendly scheme, intended as a revenue incentive for production companies on loans from 2007 onwards. That said, 50% of no earnings would be nothing, but it would mean that the level of the IFB's own recoupment expectations would be set 50% lower. The scheme was supposed to be reviewed in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Hi IFP, regarding this Producer Recouptment Incentive , can you tell me who set this incentive up , was it IFB member Producers and if so was this sanctioned by the Minister For Arts ? It's actually a fantastic mechanism if your a Producer for two reasons , first , if your Production Flounders and never goes to shoot there's no return of monies to the Taxpayer , second , if you go to shoot and fail to make a return in the Market again no pressure to return monies to the Taxpayer . Have we now endorsed a system for Producers to reward themselves for Failure . Is this why when you look back over the last 5 to 10 years the Quality of Productions has slipped so Drastically because there's no pressure on Producers to be Creative as their return is Gauranteed one way or the other . I mean the whole Remit of the IFB that they shout from the rooftops along with SPI about the value of the high Cultural conten of what this industry creates is actually contradiction , if or when you look at these Productions !

irish film portal said...

I cannot say for certain but I would imagine that the PRI was developed and adopted jointly by the IFB staff and Board. Given that it would have resulted in a dilution of the IFB's recoupment of production loans I would expect that it would had to have received Departmental sanction.

I should correct you on one thing -IFB production loans are only ever released to greenlit productions. So there would be very few, if any, cases of productions to which IFB loans were released but which were not/never completed. For the avoidance of doubt - the offer of an IFB loan does not mean that the money has in every case been paid out.

Irish producers are primarily evaluated on their ability to conclude production deals, not on the critical and/or commercial success of what they actually produce.

Given that the deals they make are largely funded from the public purse they are sheltered from any lack of critical or commercial success and the intrinsic worth of what is produced is not really addressed.