It’s been a long time coming but it Starz have finally pulled the plug on Camelot at the weekend. Dogged by countless problems through the production of series one. It never quite hit the mark that Tudors did so it’s not totally unexpected. It may have made more sense if Starz had decided to capitalise on the success of Tudors rather than trying to change the style.
This should be the peak time for film production in Ireland, but with just one TV series of note down to start in August, 2011 is shaping up to be the worst year in Irish film production since the mid 80’s. The facts are the levels of production in Ireland has been in decline for some years but this was somewhat masked by four successful seasons of the Tudors and various awards gave an impression that we were still actually riding a wave.
Ardmore Studios our only sound stages, managed to keep its books full for 4 years almost entirely with the production of Tudors and then by allowing the sets to remain standing on the stages at a discount rate it prevented other companies from using the space. As Ardmore is a private enterprise it is quite entitled to make decision’s which make economic sense from their perspective. With the *national studios* effectively closed for any other business for 5 years it was unlikely we could attract any large scale productions into the country without alternative sound stages being available.
There are other factors such as outdated studio facilities which have not kept pace with the advancements in film production over the past 20 years and issues regarding changes to work practices in certain sectors of the industry. This has have been well flagged for at least 10 years, but remains the elephant in the room.
Most crews within the industry will now look to the Titanic story ‘Blood and Steel’ to save their year, but it’s a single production with a mediocre budget at best and currently in production in Hungary Astérix and Obélix will be shot here in late Summer for 4 weeks. A very different picture appeared in The Irish Times on the state of Irish Film recently – it was a glowing article stating that ‘2010 as one of the busiest years in Irish Film ever’ nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the entire Irish Film industry is about to set sail on the titanic, and we all know where it’s heading.
Too many issues have been kicked down the road for years, we need commitment from the top to bring about immediate changes. It will be a long time before we see a return of the golden years for Irish Film of the 90’s – if ever. The reality is the rest of the world has copied our tax incentives, but they have also kept pace with changes in film and TV production we have stood still, section 481 money is no longer enough to entice a foreign producer to Ireland, and we cannot survive on an home grown industry alone. The chickens are coming home to roost.
Categories: Film and TV