US trip will promote Irish film industry

More than 20 Irish production companies will travel to Los Angeles this month to promote the country’s film industry to some of the world’s top studio executives.

More than 20 Irish production companies will travel to Los Angeles this month to promote the country’s film industry to some of the world’s top studio executives.

The high-level visit is to coincide with Oscar week, with company reps hoping to capitalise on Ireland’s clutch of nominations to highlight the country’s acting talent.

Delegates will also sell Ireland as a prime shooting location for major productions as well as raise funds for a slate of film projects in development.

Culture Ireland and the Irish Film Board have teamed-up to help the trade mission by setting-up meetings with US studios, distributors and agents as well as providing a series of travel grants.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Bord Scannan na hEireann/The Irish Film Board for the first time on this film industry trade mission to Los Angeles,” Culture Ireland’s Chief Executive Eugene Downes said.

“It has been a great year for Irish film and we want to capitalise on the critical and public acclaim for features like Once, Garage and Kings.

“This initiative complements Culture Ireland’s trade mission to New York last month promoting Irish theatre, music and dance,” he said.

Among the delegates travelling are James Flynn and Morgan O’Sullivan who were involved with the hit TV drama The Tudors, which recounted the tumultuous early years of Henry VIII.

Filmed in Ardmore Studios, Bray, Co Wicklow, it starred Cork actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Kings Director Tom King, Once producer Martina Niland and a number of animation and new media companies will also make the trip.

The US office of the Irish Film Board has organised a heavy schedule of meetings with US studios, financier, distributors and agents.

Ireland has been nominated for a series of awards for the 2008 Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for 13-year-old Co Carlow star Saoirse Ronan.

The teenager could become one of the youngest Oscar winners ever if she clinches the prestigious award for her role in the period drama Atonement.

It explores the life of writer Briony Tallis and looks at her character at three ages – 13, 18 and 77 – with separate actresses for each part.

Saoirse, with a life-long interest in acting, played the part of the young fledgling writer.

Daniel Day Lewis, 50, with a home in Roundwood, Co Wicklow, is nominated as best lead actor in the There Will be Blood blockbuster, while movie Once, shot in Dublin, was nominated for the Best Original Song.

The star-studded Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on February 24 at the Kodak Theatre in LA.

US film Commissioner Naoise Barry said America was of major importance to the Irish film business.

“It’s a major market for Irish film and also provides essential direct foreign investment in the form of larger US film and TV drama shooting on location in Ireland,” she said.

“The relevance of the market is exemplified by the large number of production companies travelling to the US as part of the trade mission.”

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