Thursday, February 16, 2012

The devil is in the detail...

The driving seat was handed to Minister Deenihan yesterday for a good news announcement about a third UK TV series coming to shoot in Ireland in the near future.

Prominence is duly given to the fact that the three series - Vexed, Ripper Street, and now Loving Miss Hatto - will spend €13 million in the Irish economy (respectively €3m, €8m and €2m).

Mention is made that each project is being supported by the Irish Film Board although we are not told the amount of the production loan in each case. Nor has the Film Board published its decision to fund each of these projects, although it has taken the time to reconfigure its website.

One must presume also that the three projects are going to avail of Section 481 financing because the announcement does not refer to this additional public support.

On my reckoning the Section 481 cost for these three projects will come to approximately €5.3 million in tax relief. I can only surmise that the Film Board has stumped up, say, a further €900,000 in production loans.

This would bring the total value of the incentives to €6.2 million, or 47% of the total Irish spend, leaving a net contribution to the Irish economy of €6.8 million.

The ratio of public incentive to incoming investment, if these figures are correct, would seem to be as low as €1.00 to €1.10.

We will have to assume that the measurable return on Irish rights in these projects, together with the measurable VAT and income tax return on goods and services they utilise, make this a wise investment on the part of the State.

Of course all of this is conjecture on my part because we have been spared the detail of the amount of public support being committed to these projects.

Why aren't we given this information as a matter of course?


Producer said...

I'm not sure how you're calculating the 481 figures here - the 481 amount is generally reckoned to be 28% of 80% of the Irish spend, which by my calculations is 2.9m, not 5.3m.

irish film portal said...

The cost to the State is 41% (upper income tax band) of the total raised. The total raised generally equals the total Irish spend.

The generally accepted net benefit to producers is 28% of Irish spend.

The difference of 13% (between 28% and 41%) is the amount of 'leakage', ie the difference between the cost to the State and the actual benefit to production.

irish film portal said...

I should add that the 80% (write off for tax purposes) was increased to 100% in the last major changes to the scheme.

irish film portal said...

The other 80% in the regulations refers to the 80% of the total budget which may be raised using S481 (up to a maximum of €50m). It does not, to the best of my knowledge, limit the amount to 80% of qualifying spend.

irish film portal said...

and finally... by way of illustration -
The official figures (to date) for 2011 say that 38 productions raised a total of €74.1million in S481 funds and had a qualifying 'Irish' spend of €78.1 million.

This will have netted €20,748,000 for these 38 productions, at a cost of €30,381,000 to the exchequer. Many of these productions will have been supported with additional public funding (within the State) from IFB and/or RTE/TG4.

Anonymous said...

I belive that the Irish Film Workers Forum is currently preparing a brief for a submission to the Government which deals with many of the issues discussed. As a Film Technician who makes a living from this industry I Hope some answers are revealed as a
Result of their lobby campaign.

Anonymous said...

Its all a bit nauseating this film workers forum guff, a flag of convenience self-interested little group who care more about lining their pockets than protecting the industry.

irish film portal said...

Would you care to expand on that opinion?
I have found no public reference to this 'Irish Film Workers Forum' and so I can't be certain of their intentions or their bona fides.
It may be that they are motivated purely by self-interest, although the outcome of their lobbying might have a more general benefit.

What has become clear to me, as a somewhat impartial observer, is that there are people who are very concerned about the lack of transparency in the industry and that they are afraid to challenge it or to bring certain matters to light for fear of 1) politically damaging the industry as a whole, and 2) because they might be 'blacklisted', as one person known to me put it recently.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, nobody mention the word "Union" - can't have that sort of thing! ;-)

irish film portal said...

Well, we're all for unions here at IFP... provided - they're genuinely representative, they don't condone agressive or intimidating behaviour, they accept work practices and conditions that are deemed reasonable and standard by workers in the sector, they refuse 'closed shop' tactics and agreements, and they agree that workers be employed on the basis of their abilities alone.

In return for which - all public funding and project budgeting should be a matter of public record where productions avail of public subsidy.

Anonymous said...

The Irish Film Portal is correct in saying “people who are very concerned about the lack of transparency in the industry and that they are afraid to challenge it or to bring certain matters to light for fear of 1) politically damaging the industry as a whole, and 2) because they might be 'blacklisted', as one person known to me put it recently”

The 'Irish Film Workers Forum are “Mé Feiners” and will unintentionally bring focus to many inconsistences that exist in Irish Film that will benefit the industry - true.

However they will have done a lot of damage before that happens, some crew are already blacklisted and others through threats have left the industry. Extortion can take many forms and it is rife in the industry - some (not all) producers are guilty of paying rather than expose the problem. That in my book makes them accomplices.

The evidence is there, it's just a question of turning over the right rock…,any takers?
Concerned film worker.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment from the Concerned Film Worker, " turning over the right rock ". Obviously you seem to be well informed as to what's going on within this industry, why is it not you who turns over the right rock and expose what you know!
Or is it the same old story with the likes of you and others who consistently keep your heads buried in the sand and wait for others to do the dirty work for you? Your a prime example of what's wrong within this Sham or should I say SCAM Ind. where you know what's happening but will not speak out, but will keep going CAP IN HAND to the same bunch of Producers with a smile on your face while they drive your livelihood into the ground? You have a bloody cheek!!! Shame on you. If you and others like you feel so strong as to what's going on no matter what side whether its the Employers or the Unions or now this Forum, you are the people as a collective or even as an individual have a responsability to voice exactly what you know or things will never change or if they do they'll probably get worse. Go on , I DARE YOU EXPOSE WHAT YOUR ILLUDING TO IN YOUR COMMENT, or will you again run and bury your head again. Myself I feel you'll run and bury your head, SHAME! You all want change but will do nothing to empower yourselves to change what's going wrong!

Anonymous said...

IFP, I'm bewildered at your comments to the "The Producer" in relation to your rebuttal not only on Tax Bands but what upsets me more is your remark on the Figures on monies raised under Sec.481 and other funding IFB/RTE/TG4. At a time when the State is virtually Bankrupt and all we hear through the controlled MEDIA/SPI of people suffering, children going hungry, families losing their homes, and more AUSTERITY to come, how can the State now justify the vast amounts being poured into this PRODUCERS TROUGH for the past 20 years or so to CREATE A SUSTAINABLE FILM IND. This I find reprehensible as theirs little or no return financially to the State but it's now costing the State monies which now could be dispensed to more needy people. The only SUSTAINABLE EMPLOYMENT WITHIN THIS INDUSTRY is for Film Producers. Like you IFP I've read quite a bit of the rehashed Creative Capital Report (YAWN) and the falsehood of nearly 6000 full time employees with the potential of 11000. I'm amazed! Really, I've worked as a Free Lance Craft Worker for 20+years and I'm at a loss as others are as to where exactly these 6000 full time employees are hiding! Is it in the offices of Production Companies, or the creation of false figures of Freelancers like myself who work anywhere from 50-80 hours per week when lucky.... and then all these accumulated hours worked by each member are divided by the minimum 39 hour week??? SPI really have a lot of questions to answer, but nobody in Government is asking, they read the rehashed reports of the vested interests of the GOLDEN CIRCLE OF PRODUCERS and their LOBBY GROUP SPI! I have to be honest as an unemployed Film worker I would rather see these monies diverted to more deserving Public Depts. even though it might mean my prolonged unemployment. This cannot be allowed to carry on. They will never ever create a SUSTAINABLE IND. no matter what Monies their given. Just another SPI Public Relations Exercise!

irish film portal said...

I think a post is due about putting things on the record - either that or a brief for the 'powers that be' about the need for transparency, change and a 'reality check' in the industry. Anonymous voices crying in the wilderness may offer an indication of unhappiness in the business, particularly when they are often verified by off the record comment from people known to me whose bona fides I accept.

However, complainants behind the door can easily be misrepresented as unjustifiably agggrieved folks who refuse to acknowledge evolving (reasonable) work practices and technological change.

Anonymous said...

Transparency , IFP, check out what happened in LRC on 8 May , with Producer of Loving Miss Hato and the workers he tried to force on to new rates of pay without their knowledge or acceptance . SPI along with these Producers and with the help of certain union Officials , one with no remit to negotiate rates , the other who was led up the garden path to legitanise this without the consultation of the members or the balloting of the members . BLOODY DISGRACEFULL