Irish film board celebrates blockbuster year

The filming of the next Star Wars blockbuster along with increased activity in Irish film, animation and television drama saw a record-breaking €250m production spend in Ireland in 2016, according to the Irish Film Board.

Irish film board celebrates blockbuster year

The IFB yesterday announced the figure as it published a list of the productions it has supported which are due for release this year.

The released planned for 2017 include Stephen Burke’s Maze starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor — a production that saw the old Cork Prison double for the Northern Irish prison; Delinquent Season starring Cillian Murphy and Andrew Scott; Halal Daddy, a cultural clash comedy drama filmed in Sligo and starring Colm Meaney and Sarah Bolger; and the Angelina Jolie-produced animated feature The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey.

The IFB also said that Irish films have set a new international box office benchmark having generated $170m (€159.5m) in the last 18 months, and have performed well domestically.

Room grossed €1.3m in Ireland, just beating Cork-based comedy The Young Offenders, which pulled in €1.2m. Colm Toibin’s adaptation Brooklyn finished its Irish run at over €3.1m, and A Date for Mad Mary had receipts of €220,000.

Commenting on the 2017 release launch, Annie Donna, IFB chairwoman, said it is “an exciting opportunity to continue to grow the film, TV and animation sectors, ensuring that we have high quality work coming from Ireland which is being watched and enjoyed by local and international audiences”.

“Recent growth in production activity for the sector can be directly attributed to investment from the IFB and substantial changes made to the Irish tax incentive for film and television by the Irish Government, demonstrating a strong return on Government support,” she said.

As well as working on its own five-year strategic plan launched last July, Dr Donna said the IFI would also work with the Government’s recently launched Creative Ireland programme, described as a ‘wellbeing strategy’ for culture and the arts, to increase production in Ireland.

Saoirse Ronan starred in ‘Brooklyn’, which proved highly successful at Irish cinemas in 2016.

Saoirse Ronan starred in ‘Brooklyn’, which proved highly successful at Irish cinemas in 2016.

“We are delighted to be working with the Creative Ireland programme, which is placing creativity at the centre of public policy.

“We intend to support the continued development of Ireland as a centre of excellence for the film, animation and television sector as is identified by Creative Ireland as one of its five central pillars,” she said.

Invesment in “creative and cultural infrastructure” was one of the pillars of the programmes identified by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys.

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