Film and TV industry remains boon to Irish economy

Ireland’s film and television industry is still boosting the economy despite the recession, a business group said today.

Ireland’s film and television industry is still boosting the economy despite the recession, a business group said today.

The Audiovisual Federation said while revenue from the sector has fallen this year, it claimed the country continues to benefit both financially and culturally

In its annual review the group revealed 266 productions were completed in Ireland last year, with a total production value of €246.8m.

Director Tommy McCabe said despite current economic pressures, the audio-visual field remains vibrant.

“The sector is one of Ireland’s great success stories and it is critical that public policy continues to support the industry, to ensure that this momentum is not lost,” said Mr McCabe.

“In 2008, the net benefit to the economy was €25.7m, which is the highest return since 2003, and over 1,631 people were employed in full-time equivalent jobs.

“The level of production activity for feature films increased to €71.9m in 2008, up from €19.3m in 2007, but estimates for 2009 show a fall to €65m.”

The federation is part of the business lobby group Ibec and represents the feature film, television and animation sectors.

Movies produced in 2008 included 'Cracks', starring Sinead Cusack and directed by Jordan Scott, 'Five minutes of heaven' with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt, and Triage, starring Colin Farrell.

Elsewhere Golden Globe awards went to Irish actors Colin Farrell (In Bruges) and Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment) while Emmy Awards went to Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm) and Dearbhla Walsh (Little Dorrit). 'In Bruges' and 'New Boy' were also up for an Oscar.

Andrew Lowe, of Element Pictures and chairman Federation, said the industry is experiencing significant challenges to maintain last year’s level of production.

“We are heartened by the commitment and support of the government, both in terms of extending and improving section 481 and the expected retention of the Irish Film Board,” he said.

“The current economic crisis is an opportunity to take stock as an industry and identify steps that we can take collectively to build a stronger, more internationally-competitive, and ultimately more successful sector, both creatively and commercial.”

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