Thursday, July 28, 2011

Report published...

The new audiovisual industry report has just been published - final title: Creative Capital - Building Ireland's Audiovisual Creative Economy.

Read it at this link and see what you think.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shop Talk

Back in April I wrote a post, 'Closing the Shop?', triggered by stories I had heard about the implementation of the agreement reached by producers' organisation (SPI) and the freelance film technicians' union (SIPTU) in early Autumn last year. This was after ten years of on-again off-again negotiations.

Since then, at the beginning of June, I wrote an as yet unpublished piece for Film Ireland in connection with some of the issues around which there is almost a code of silence in the industry. One of the things I cited was the new agreement. I wondered that it had not been published (I published the pay rates myself here). And I went on to surmise that Clause 3 of the agreement might not have been shown to the Competition Authority.

Now there is a briefing in circulation for producers on the implementation (or should that be the impossibility of implementing that aspect) of the agreement. If this was crystal clear to this layman then how can it possibly have escaped the notice of everyone involved in a process which took all of ten years to conclude?

The briefing goes as follows -
In August 2010, Screen Producers Ireland and SIPTU signed the Comprehensive Agreement for the Feature Film both TV & Cinema & Television Drama Industry in Ireland. This agreement governs the rates of pay and the terms and conditions of shooting crew employed in the production of feature films and TV drama in Ireland.

Since signing the agreement a fundamental issue has arisen with the implementation of Clause 3. This clause is titled “Recognition of parties to this Agreement” and part of that clause reads as follows: ‘For its part the Company agrees to recognise SIPTU as the sole negotiating body for all shooting crew workers covered by this agreement. It shall be a pre entry condition of employment for all shooting crew covered by this Agreement that they become and remain benefit members of SIPTU’.

In discussing the implementation of this clause, SIPTU were of the view that any crew member who was not a member of the union, could not be employed on productions being made by SPI members.

SPI now understands that it would not be constitutional for our industry to impose union membership on existing or future employees, particularly if those employees have worked in the industry for a long period of time. Therefore we cannot agree to the implementation of this clause as proposed by SIPTU. We have set out to the union how we intend to operate Clause 3 and it has also been referred to the Film Industry Arbitration Tribunal which is the dispute mechanism under the agreement. If it is not possible to reach agreement at the Film Industry Arbitration Tribunal, it will go through the normal dispute procedures under the LRC and the Labour Court and SPI will undertake that its members will comply fully with any recommendations issued.

In the interim period, it is important that producers operate Clause 3 in accordance with what we have outlined to SIPTU. That is;
1) Production companies will employ crew subject to them being suitably qualified;
2) Production companies will inform crew in writing of the agreement and particularly Clause 3 (this can be done when start forms are being issued);
3) Production companies will facilitate SIPTU in arranging on-set meetings with crew;
4) Production companies will provide unit and cast lists to the union per Clause 15 (telephone numbers, addresses and any other personal data should not be included as this is a breach of the Data Protection Act);
5) If requested, production companies will obtain consent from employees that their contact details can be passed to SIPTU and they will pass this information on;

To be clear, SPI understands it is a matter for crew alone whether they wish to join a union. The industry does not and cannot discriminate on the basis of membership or not of a trade union.

Under Clause 15 of the same agreement it is important that every production provides SIPTU with the pre-production information set out in the agreement and that this is done at least four weeks prior to the proposed shoot date.

SPI is committed to the 2010 Shooting Crew Agreement and hope that the issue surrounding Clause 3 can be agreed by the parties.

Put this sorry tale together with some of the other 'issues' I hear of - the employment of stand-bys, for instance - and you get a picture of mutually assured dysfunction in an industry already under tremendous competitive pressure from overseas.

The film industry 'Get A Grip!' campaign starts here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Report....

Building Ireland's Audiovisual Trade & Economy 2011-2016

Due any day now...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Guard steals a bundle

A very, very successful opening for The Guard from Element Pictures over the weekend. It launched at 55 cinemas in the Republic and 16 cinemas in Northern Ireland. The total, with Thursday previews, came to €528,817.

This bodes very well for its longer term prospects in Ireland - an estimate up to €2.5m seems reasonable, particularly if it plays well with the older demographic throughout the country.

If there is a slight note of caution it must be that only 5% of the total was earned in Northern Ireland, which is well below the average for most successful releases. It might also serve to dampen expectations of major success in the UK when the film is released there in a month's time.

That said, time, word of mouth and counter-programming might all work in its favour.

Funding decisions

July 7th production and development funding decisions from the Irish Film Board

[Project Director Writer Production Company Funding Award]

First Draft Loans
Found Ailbhe Keogan & Michael Kelly €16,000
The Good Heart Darragh Byrne Eoin McNamee & Darragh Byrne €16,000

Fiction Development Loans
The End Of Romance Trish McAdam Soho Moon Pictures €26,000
Mount Vernon Paul Mercier Anne Gately & Paul Mercier Mary Hick Productions €14,000
City Of Bohane Kevin Barry Parallel Film Productions €50,000
Moscow Never Sleeps Johnny O'Reilly Johnny O'Reilly Blinder Films €15,000
Grooskill Mark O'Connor Mark O'Connor Vico Films €10,000
The Vehicle John Butler John Butler Treasure Entertainment €18,000
30 Eggs Eoin J. O'Connor Treasure Entertainment €18,000
The Price Of Desire Mary McGuckian Mary McGuckian EG Productions €20,000
An Bronntanas/The Gift Tom Collins Paul Walker & Tom Collins DeFacto Films €20,000
An Ocean View Richie Smyth Richie Smyth The Cannibal Corporation €24,000
Byzantium Neil Jordan Moira Buffini Parallel Film Productions €30,000
Good Vibrations Lisa Barros D'Sa & Glenn Leyburn Glenn Patterson & Colin Carberry Candervibes Limited €12,000
Run & Jump Steph Green Ailbhe Keogan Samson Films €10,000
Where We'll Never Grow Old Ivan Kavanagh Ivan Kavanagh Ripple World Pictures €15,000

Animation Development Loans
Whiplash Darragh O'Connell Shane Morris & Ben David Grabinski Brown Bag Films €30,000

International Development
Faultline Terry George Ed Burns Enough Dynamite Productions €30,000

Fiction Feature Films
The Vehicle John Butler John Butler Treasure Entertainment Provisional Offer Of Commitment
The Clown Conor McMahon Conor McMahon Fantastic Films €600,000

Song Of The Sea Tomm Moore Tomm Moore & Will Collins Cartoon Saloon €750,000
Unbreakable Ross Whitaker True Films €10,000
Shem The Penman Sings Again Padraig Trehy Poolen Productions €15,000
A Travellers Tale Sé Merry Doyle Loopline Films €10,000
America: The Irish Continent Anna Rodgers CR Entertainment €8,000
Panti Conor Horgan Blinder Films €5,000

Friday, July 1, 2011

Prices, what prices?

Back in March, in a brief scan through the new 'Progamme for Government' looking for film-related nuggets I mentioned that the exhibition trade would be glad of the proposed reduction in the 13.5% VAT rate.

The Government yesterday confirmed a reduction in the rate to 9%. This will mean a reduction in the VAT take from cinema tickets of about €5.3m (from around €15.9m to €10.6m) in a full year.

A €10 cinema ticket should now be €9.60, or less if the trade really want to reverse what appear to be faltering admissions this year.