Thursday, April 12, 2012

Catch-up post...

You may have seen mention elsewhere of the new Northern Ireland Screen Board which was appointed some time ago. Following open competition, Michael Catto, Adeline Dinsmore, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Kuhn, Fiona MacMillan, Aódán Mac Póilin, Laurence McKeown and Ian Parsley were appointed.

Backgrounds on each of the appointees can be accessed here. It's interesting that this details any political involvement of each member over the last five-year period. Would that state boards in the Republic were obliged to provide the same information.

By the way, did I read somewhere that Fianna Fáil's policy is to re-name IFB as Screen Ireland, along the following lines? Establish a new development agency for the audiovisual industry, Screen Ireland, amalgamating the functions of the Irish Film Board, the Industrial Development Authority and Enterprise Ireland in relation to film and multiplatform audiovisual content production in Ireland.


While I'm on Northern Ireland Screen it's worth reprinting CEO Richard Williams's statement in response to the proposed extention of the UK tax credit to TV production.
We warmly welcome the announcement from the Chancellor that he intends to introduce tax incentives for high-end television production, animation and video games. This is a bold move that will have a considerable positive impact on the economy when introduced in April 2013. Northern Ireland is extremely well placed to benefit from these new incentives and Northern Ireland Screen will double its efforts in its promotion of the screen industry here.
As part of the TV Coalition, which worked closely with government and representatives from the film and television industry in both the UK and USA, Northern Ireland Screen sees the new incentive as critical for the continuing development of the screen industry in Northern Ireland.
Sitting alongside the existing feature film production tax break, the announcement could help Northern Ireland Screen secure more high-budget television drama, bringing additional economic dividend and job creation.
Despite having had no previous TV tax break, we have managed to secure a pilot and two series of Europe’s largest television drama
– Game of Thrones. This in itself has been no mean feat. But this very welcome news, which is evidence of tremendous support for the creative industries, adds even more value to Northern Ireland’s proposition as a world-class production location.
[The TV Coalition which has been campaigning for a high budget UK TV tax incentive includes production companies Left Bank, Mammoth, Kudos, Carnival, Ecosse, and Red Arrow; trade bodies PACT, UK Screen, The Production Guild and Directors UK; trade union Bectu; inward investors HBO, Starz, Showtime, ABC/Disney, RHI Entertainment; as well as national bodies Creative England, Creative Scotland and Northern Ireland Screen, BBC Worldwide and Andy Weltman from The British Film Commission. The Coalition is advised by RSM Tenon and Wiggin LLP.]


Meanwhile, south of the border, there have been some questions asked of the Government in relation to developments in the UK, Ardmore Studios, and labour relations issues...
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his views on the findings of the Creative Capital report on industrial relations in the audiovisual industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): The Deputy will be aware that the development of the audiovisual industry, including industrial relations issues, was examined during the preparation of the Creative Capital report, Building Ireland’s Audiovisual Creative Economy, which was published in July 2011. An implementation committee is examining the advancement of its recommendations. It is chaired by my Department and includes representatives from the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Education and Skills, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The Irish Film Board, Screen Producers Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland are also represented on it. I am expecting an internal report from it after Easter.
The Creative Capital report focuses on issues such as talent development, convergence, sectoral growth, education and the digital opportunities for Ireland, as well as reporting on industry leadership, State agency roles and innovation. It will provide a road map for the next few years and assist in enabling the domestic audiovisual content production sector to develop into an internationally traded sector for product and services over the five year period 2011 to 2015.
In the area of industrial relations I understand negotiations are ongoing between the relevant parties under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this juncture.

Deputy Robert Troy: I thank the Minister for his reply. As he will be aware, I tabled a written parliamentary question on this a number of weeks ago and I was a little disappointed with his reply.
The Creative Capital report from the Department identifies the potential of the Irish film industry to grow at a rate of in excess of 30% in the next five years. It is a very important sector which both of us agree has considerable potential for job creation, but the ongoing limbo the talks between the craft unions and the producers are in is sending out a negative image internationally. Disney has stated publicly it is not prepared to return to Ireland until these practices have been resolved.
The talks between the craft unions and the producers have been ongoing for more than a year, with the unions not making a single concession. The industry is in limbo because there has been an absence of an agreement for five to six years.
One of the most damaging aspects to the Irish film industry abroad is the 50:50 nomination system operated by the craft unions. It gives unions the right to choose 50% of a production crew. To the best of my knowledge, no other industry operates to such criteria.
Will the Minister press Screen Producers Ireland to omit the inclusion of the practice of 50:50 nomination from any new agreement? Given the paralysis in the industry, will he ensure that a new agreement will be finalised by both sides as soon as possible to provide clarity to the international market that Ireland is competitive? In light of the fact that it is ongoing for so long, the Minister might consider intervening personally by seeking to meet the producers and craft unions separately and then trying to mediate between them to bring about a satisfactory conclusion.
It is an important industry where there is potential to grow jobs, but at present there is stalemate which is sending out a negative message to the international community. Disney, a renowned film production company, has vowed not to return to Ireland as long as this practice is in place. The Minister might clarify some of those points for me.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: I agree with Deputy Troy that we must be competitive in the film industry to attract film and television drama productions to Ireland. If one compares our costs with those of the UK, for example, we certainly are not competitive. We must look at it from a view of all inputs into the film industry. We must be competitive or else producers will not come to this country. We have had recent experience where, as Deputy Troy stated, they have decided to go elsewhere.
I understand discussions currently are at a sensitive stage with the Labour Relations Commission, the unions representing the various elements of the film industry and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. While I do not want to get into those negotiations or comment on them, I would say that if we are to achieve the target of 10,000 working in the industry following the completion of the Creative Capital report, certainly we must be very competitive. That is why these negotiations are very important and it is very important that they would be concluded as soon as possible.
It would not be appropriate that I or any other Minister would become involved with the Labour Relations Commission. It is not something that would be welcome at this stage. The unions and Screen Producers Ireland are very much involved in talks currently and seem to be making progress.

Deputy Robert Troy: This is about jobs, and jobs are being put at risk. The Minister’s hands-off approach is not appropriate in this instance. I appeal to him to mediate because it is important in that it involves jobs. The Minister’s Creative Capital report has clearly outlined the need for action.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: I am sure Deputy Troy understands the principles of negotiation. The Labour Relations Commission will certainly be carrying that out. I am sure it would not respond favourably to interference from the Minister at this stage.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties facing a studio (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if he has had any contact with that studio on the matter to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): I am aware of the difficulties facing the studios referred to in the Deputy’s Question. I understand that the statutory agency with responsibility for the development of the sector in question, and which is funded by my Department, is in ongoing discussions with the owners of the studios. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this juncture.
Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if strong consideration can be given, in view of the recent measures announced in the UK Budget, to the introduction of new measures and the strengthening of existing ones to ensure Ireland maintains its competitive advantage in the film and TV industry over other competitors and in particular in extending tax relief to include not only film and TV production but also animation and gaming; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Primary responsibility for the support and promotion of film-making in Ireland, in respect of both the indigenous sector and inward productions, is a matter for the Irish Film Board. This agency is funded through my Department and has been allocated €15.7m in 2012 to carry out its functions. Under section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, tax relief is allowed for investments in certain films. The types of film eligible for certification are feature film, television drama, creative documentary and animation. The scheme is kept under regular review in conjunction with the Irish Film Board and any enhancements considered necessary to retain or regain competitiveness are brought to the attention of the Minister for Finance, as appropriate. The scheme has been extended to the end of 2015. I have asked the Irish Film Board to provide an analysis of the likely impact of the proposed move by the U.K. Treasury.

Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Finance if strong consideration can be given, in view of the recent measures announced in the UK Budget, to the introduction of new measures and the strengthening of existing ones to ensure Ireland maintains its competitive advantage in the film and TV industry over other competitors and in particular in extending tax relief to include not only film and TV production but also animation and gaming; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Section 481 film relief is one of the longest running sector specific tax reliefs and was first introduced in the Finance Act of 1987 to support the indigenous film sector. Finance Act 2011 provided for a further extension of the scheme to the end of 2015 to afford a medium term certainty to the industry, which exists in a competitive international environment. The scheme makes a positive contribution to the development and sustainability of the Irish film/screen industry which supports a significant number of jobs in the local economy and contributes to cultural tourism initiatives. In 2011 a total of 58 projects were approved for Section 481 funding with an eligible Irish spend of €114m. These 58 projects supported employment for crew, cast and extras of over 15,000 individuals and had the effect of maintaining and creating jobs in a very difficult climate, while at the same time producing a product that will help to sell Ireland abroad.
I have asked my Department to undertake a review later this year in order to inform future policy making in relation to the scheme. I do not intend to make any major adjustments to the scheme prior to the completion of this review.


For those politicians looking for a refresher course on Ardmore's chequered history I suggest they might have a look at Roddy Flynn's introduction to the Irish Film Review 2011 segment of the latest issue of Estudios Irlandeses. They will also find a lot more information, discourse and analysis on the Irish film and TV year than they will find in any Irish publication. Go figure.

Apropos of Ardmore here are just some of the companies (past and present)with registered addresses at the complex...

Ab Productions Ltd., Agsb Film Productions Ltd., Amazing Love Stories Productions Ltd., Ammp Ltd., Angelus Films Ltd., Animal Farm Productions Ltd., April Film Productions Ltd., Ardmore Sound Ltd., Ardmore Television Ltd., Asa Productions Ltd., Baron Film Productions Ltd., Bg Productions Ltd., Bickhem Ltd., Bobby Productions Ltd., Brittas Films Ltd., Carrickmore Film Productions Ltd., Cb Film Productions Ltd., Chateau D'if Productions Ltd., Cofid Film Productions Ltd., Corrieq Ltd., Country Productions Ltd., Cove Productions Ltd., Curiosity Productions Ltd., Cy Film Productions Ltd., Dns Film Productions Ltd., Dns Three Film Productions Ltd., Dns Two Film Productions Ltd., The Electric Light Company Ltd., Enertrol Ltd., E-Street Ltd., Evergreen Productions Ltd., Everlasting Productions Ltd., Fairday Productions Ltd., Fb Productions Ltd., Film Engineering Services Ltd., Fitzwilliam Productions Ltd., Foxgrange Ltd., Georgian Film Productions Ltd., Glenala Ltd., Glencullen Productions Ltd., Gl Film Productions Ltd., Green Baize Productions Ltd., Gr Productions Ltd., Haledrum Ltd., Hawkins Productions Ltd., Herbert Film And Television Productions Ltd., Highland Film Productions Ltd., H.R. Productions Ltd., Ignition Film Productions Ltd., Imagine Ltd., Inside Productions Ltd., Intercast Ltd., Ironing The Land Ltd., Jb Productions Ltd., Jl Film Productions Ltd., Jls Productions Ltd., J Skars Productions Ltd., Kalweni Ltd., Ka Television Productions Ltd., Kidnapped Productions Ltd., Kyriaco Ltd., Lakeshore Film Productions Ltd., Lb Television Productions Ltd., Lef Productions Ltd., Link Directory Ltd., Littlewave Film Productions Ltd., Lmh Film Productions Ltd., Louisiana Film Productions Ltd., Lw Film Productions Ltd., Malahide Productions Ltd., Maple Film Productions Ltd., Melrose Film Productions Ltd., Merrion Film Productions Ltd., Moll Flanders Productions Ltd., Monto Productions Ltd., Mountview Film Productions Ltd., Mountville Film Productions Ltd., M S & D Films Ltd., Na Film Productions Ltd., New Century Filmed Entertainment Ltd., Nurenbury Ltd., Ocean Film Productions Ltd., Octagon Films Ltd., O'sullivan Forde Country Ltd., O'sullivan Forde Flanders Ltd., O'sullivan Palterton Ltd., O'sullivan Productions Ltd., Palterton Ltd., Panavision Europe Ltd., Perrygate Ltd., Poolman Ltd., Q Films Ltd., Rca Film Productions Ltd., Reign Of Fire Productions Reveille Productions Ltd., Rl Film Productions Ltd., Routon Ltd., Rr Film Productions Ltd., Rt Film Productions Ltd., Sagasan Enterprises Ltd., Scarlett Productions Ltd., Setanta Visual Imaging International Ltd., Sharpmist Ltd., Sharpmist Ii Ltd., Sharpmist Iii Ltd., Skygram Ltd., Slimbridge Ltd., Sor Productions Ltd., Stanbury Films Ltd., Sw Productions Ltd., Sycamore Productions Ltd., Tabforth Ltd., Tara Medical Ltd., Tembour Engineering Ltd., Tiber Productions Ltd., Tm Productions Ltd., Tse Productions Ltd., Victorville Ltd., Vk Productions Ltd., Wd Film Productions Ltd., Woodpecker Productions Ltd., World 2000 Entertainment Ltd., World 2000 Entertainment Music Publishing Ltd., World 2000 Media Services Ltd., Yagerhill Ltd.,


Irish Film Board latest quarterly funding announcement - 5th April 2012
Project Director Writer Production Company Funding Award
First Draft Loans
Luka Pooka Gary O'Neill Richard Hansom €16,000
The Song Of Granite Pat Collins Pat Collins & Sharon Wholley €16,000
The Complication Ian Power Ian Power & Dylan Cotter €16,000
Monto Ciaran Morrison & Mick O'Hara €16,000
Fiction Development Loans
Dubliners multiple multiple Fastnet Films Provisional Offer of Commitment
It's About Girls Gavin Burke Black Sheep Productions €16,000
Procreate, Generate Adam Rynne Blinder Films €23,000
Star Of The Sea John Crowley Mark O'Rowe Parallel Film Productions €5,000
Beach Slap Aisling Bea Grand Pictures €15,000
The Rewrite Peter McDonald Peter McDonald Treasure Entertainment €20,000
Olagón Darach Mac Con Iomaire Darach Mac Con Iomaire Magamedia €19,000
Perfect Weather To Fly Rory Bresnihan Rory Bresnihan Subotica Limited €16,000
Boy Racer Steph Green Ailbhe Keogan Subotica Limited €28,000
Cú Chulainn: The Sacred Island Gary Shore Jonathan Ware & Garan Ware Darini Films €50,000
International Development
Life Of Crime Declan Croughan Octagon Films €23,500
Taboo Tom Farrelly Octagon Films €18,500

Fiction Feature Films
Calvary John Michael McDonagh John Michael McDonagh Octagon Films Provisional Offer of Commitment
Hardy Bucks: The Movie Mike Cockayne Mike Cockayne, Chris Troduff, Martin Maloney & Gerry Greaney Integral Productions €175,000
Moscow Never Sleeps Johnny O'Reilly Johnny O'Reilly Blinder Films €275,000
An Bronntanas/The Gift Tom Collins Tom Collins, Paul Walker & Eoghan McNamee ROSG & DeFacto Films €300,000
Fiction Creative Co-Production
Strangerland Kim Farrant Fiona Seres Fastnet Films €250,000
Stay Wiebke Von Carolsfeld Wiebke Von Carolsfeld Samson Films €300,000
Fiction International Production
Vikings Michael Hirst World 2000 Productions €250,000
Zig & Zag Joel Simon Ciaran Morrison & Mick O'Hara Double Z Productions €150,000
Men In Uniform Ken Wardrop Venom Limited €150,000
Showrunners Des Doyle Black Sheep Productions €55,000
Under The Hood Mark Byrne & Robert Dennis Planet Korda Pictures €50,000
The Land Of The Enlightened Peter Van De Pue Fastnet Films €50,000
Neal MacGregor Neasa Ní Chianáin Soilsiú Films €50,000
Three Men Go To War Kim Bartley Crossing The Line Films €100,000
Silence In The House Of God Alex Gibney Below The Radar Productions €50,000
Completion Fund
Me And Me Dad Katrine Boorman Colourframe Limited €15,000
First Stage Documentary
The Children Of Humla Neasa Ní Chianáin Soilsiú Films €5,000
Sculpting Space Catherine Owens NDN Productions €15,000
Moscow Tabloid Michael Doyle & John Murray Cutstone Productions €10,000
See You At The Pictures Jeremiah Cullinane Planet Korda Pictures €5,000
Blood Sisters 2 Malin Andersson Solas Productions €5,000
Born John Burke, Died Muhammed Omar Ross McDonnell Fastnet Films €10,000

Print Provision
Joy Colm Quinn Com Quinn Venom Limited €2,020
Nouakcott Rocks Moira Tierney Moira Tierney €3,297
Dollhouse Kirsten Sheridan Kirsten Sheridan Warehouse Pictures $5,000
Citadel Ciaran Foy Ciaran Foy Blinder Films $7,000
Babyface Macdara Vallely Macdara Vallely Samson Films $5,000

Marketing Support
Stella Days Thaddeus O'Sullivan Antoine O'Flatharta Eclipse Distribution €30,000
This Must Be The Place Paolo Sorrentino Paolo Sorrentino Element Distribution €35,000

Direct Distribution
The Other Side Of Sleep Rebecca Daly Rebecca Daly & Glenn Montgomery Fastnet Films €15,000
A Kiss For Jed Wood Maurice Linnane Barry Devlin Ignition Film Productions €10,000

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