“The increased allocation for the Irish Film Board will provide further vital support to the Irish film industry and allow them to build on the unprecedented level of success enjoyed in 2016,” said the minister.
The capital budget allocation for the IFB in 2016 was €11.2m, now increased to €12.7m for 2017. The administration budget of €3.27m is also increased to €3.77m.
“The Government has recognised the achievement of Irish filmmakers and has demonstrated its commitment to the future of the Irish film, television and animation sectors,” said Annie Doona, the IFB chair.
“Earlier this year, the IFB board called for a restoration of funding to 2008 levels of €20m, which we believe is critical to building on the current success of the industry and remains a key element of the IFB strategic plan over the next five years,” she said.
“At our current reduced budget levels, the IFB has invested in projects which have won major international acclaim, connected with Irish audiences and generated €150m at the global box office over the last 18 months. We welcome this budget increase and are ambitious in our vision and future goals for the sector,” she added.
Restoration of Irish Film Board grant funding to its 2008 level of €20m was also a key budget demand of Screen Producers Ireland, the national representative organisation of independent film, television and animation production companies.
In addition, it sought the extension of Section 481 beyond its current deadline of 2020, as well as the introduction of a household media charge to reflect the changes in the digital viewing landscape and to eliminate TV licence fee evasion. With Budget 2016 having improved the current Section 481 tax credit from €50m per project to €70m, a further extension of the section beyond 2020 is considered vital to in accommodating the industry’s long lead in times for productions.
Torlach Denihan, director of the Audiovisual Federation, said a “lack of clarity” on the future of the tax credit could result in a loss of business.
“We have probably missed out on a lot of feature films to the UK in the past, but Ireland is definitely now one of the top go-to locations in terms of attractiveness,” said James Flynn, managing director of Octagon Films, and producer of The Vikings, The Tudors, and Penny Dreadful.
“More studio space is needed to maximise these tax incentives and to cope with the high volume of demand that is hopefully going to come our way. It is going to be very attractive for American productions coming to Ireland,” he added.
The audio visual content production sector in Ireland is estimated to be worth in excess of €550m, employing more than 6,000, with over 560 small and medium enterprises operating in the sector. Recent figures show production activity for the independent film, TV drama, and the animation sector reached the highest levels on record, contributing over €170m into the economy — representing increases of up to 40% in certain years.