Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (FÉ/SI) is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry./ Irish Film Board (IFB) today launched its Five-Year Strategic Plan –‘Building on Success’ – detailing its ambitious vision and plans for the role of the IFB within the thriving Irish film, television and animation industry. The strategy was developed by the Board of the IFB following extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders from all parts of the industry. The publication of the strategy is timely in that it follows a year of unprecedented critical and commercial success for the Irish film and animation, with international global recognition at the industry’s high profile award ceremonies as well as record breaking box office takings. It also follows recent improvements to the Irish tax incentive Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act provides for corporation tax relief for investment in films by companies up to 32% of eligible Irish expenditure., and we believe this is the moment to line up all the drivers of growth, to scale the industry to the next level.
On the back of major global hits including Room, Brooklyn, Sing Street, Love & Friendship, Song of the Sea and The Lobster, Irish films have taken to date an impressive $140 million at the worldwide box office alone in 2015/16, with audience figures estimated in the region of 18 million admissions. This does not include DVD, TV or the growing VOD market which will generate further audiences for Irish film. The wider audio-visual sector employs some 6,000 people in Ireland at present, generating over €0.5 billion to the economy.
The strategic plan has been developed to support this ambition with three key pillars identified in the ‘Building on Success’ document. These are: Vision for 2020; Building on Core Strengths; and Strong Foundations.
Vision for 2020:Working with industry stakeholders, the IFB will promote an overall vision for the industry, focusing on leadership, gender & diversity, and building audiences for film, television and animation. Highlights under this pillar include; providing strong industry leadership; working with the Government and the wider industry to provide a coherent public sector approach to the development of the sector; achieving a target of 50/50 gender parity in creative talent working in screen content; and positioning audiences as a central part of the work we support.
Building on Core Strengths:The IFB will build on the success achieved to progress and develop creative screen talent production, the development of talent and skills, and inward production and investment. Funding of, and support for, creative development (and the necessary organisational arrangements) will be central to this. Targets under this pillar include; the creation of a new position of Head of Creative Production and Talent Development to provide artistic and creative leadership in support of screen production, and maximising opportunities for the improved Section 481 tax incentive; as well as developing talent and skills through training initiatives to meet the growing needs of the sector.
Strong Foundations:In order to deliver on the ambitious vision and for the IFB to deliver on its priorities, strong foundations will be required, including; increased funding for investment in film, television, and animation; dynamic partnerships within the sector; and an effective organisation. Goals under this pillar include; seeking increased funding from all potential avenues, including contributions from public service broadcasters and content distributors to Irish film and screen storytelling content; and continuing in the creation and nurturing of partnerships with stakeholders including IDA & Enterprise Ireland, other public film funding agencies private sector funders such as distributors and broadcasters.
Critically, the immediate restoration of IFB funding to €20 million will be central to ensuring that the strategy is successful and that the talent and opportunities that exist within the sector can be fully nurtured and supported.
Speaking on the plan, Chairperson Designate of the IFB Dr Annie Doona said;
This strategic Plan has been completed following extensive input and engagement with stakeholders across the industry. The constructive feedback we have received has been developed into a very clear statement of what the IFB will commit to achieving over the next five years. In the last 18 months alone, Irish filmmakers and animators have achieved worldwide success and, by setting ambitious targets for ourselves in this Strategy, we will deliver the necessary foundations to build on that success. Central to us being able to do this is the full restoration of IFB funding to its pre-recession levels. While we welcome the commitment given by Government in the Programme for Partnership for Government, we are urging them not to delay and to invest appropriately in Ireland’s creative talent in Budget 2017, so that we can realise the full potential of the sector for both cultural and economic benefit.
James Hickey, Chief Executive of the Irish Film Board added that leadership is required to create a sustainable environment for creative storytelling on screen in Ireland.
The remit of the IFB is as the development agency to promote creative talent working in film, television and animation. Our aim is to develop a sustainable industry for filmmaking in Ireland. Our purpose is to support the highest quality in creative filmmaking and our ambition is to see this quality recognised by Irish and international audiences. This purpose and ambition have already borne fruit in the recent successes of IFB-funded films. With a dynamic industry and artistic leadership and drive, both within the IFB and in the wider community of filmmakers, even greater success can be achieved. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the IFB Board for their vision in delivering this Five-Year Strategy.