Creative Capital: Building Ireland’s Audiovisual Creative Economy.

While the Irish Time article went for the sensational headline, there are actually many good points raised in the recommendations in Creative Capital: Building Ireland’s Audiovisual Creative Economy.

  • An annual co-production fund could help in bringing in productions of the scale of The Tudors  and Camelot
  • Irish film and television needs to be more orientated towards an international market and producers should adopt a “make-to-sell” culture for international audiences.
  • Co-ordinating a single training programme for the whole industry.
  • Industry wide consultation to agree “free, flexible, transparent and internationally competitive labour agreements” across the sector
  • Enterprise Ireland and Culture Ireland be directly involved in the promotion of Irish films abroad.

These are all welcome recommendation’s as I have not read the entire report I would hope there are also recommendation’s toward developing a sustainable industry. You can read the full report here

  • The entire focus over the past 20 years has been providing section 481 monies to producers to bring in projects. Some of this funding should have been set aside for re investment – to ensure infrastructure maintained pace with industry advancements and for training of crews.
  • There is still not database of all technicians’ working in the industry or their level of skills.
  • The standard of scriptwriting in Irish Film does not compared very well by international standard. Scriptwriting must be nurtured if Irish Film is going to gain international appeal.
  • Over the past 10 years there have been too many unofficial stoppages and threats in certain sections of the craft unions, and some producers have been  guilty of covering up the problems and continuing to buy their way out of these issues which have been counterproductive and has damaged the reputation of the sector abroad.
  • Studio space at Ardmore is completely out-dated and too small to meet today’s standards. One just has too look at the investments that Barrandov Studios, Prague and Korda Film Studios in Budapest have made in recent years and get you get an idea of what we have to do.

Many of the recommendations’ mentions above require more investment from the Irish taxpayer, in today’s climate it will difficult to get the Department of Finance to sign off unless many changes are made in how the industry is currently structured and operated.

Overall this is a good report let’s hope for everyone involved in the sector we see it’s recommendations implemented. At present 2011 is on course to be the worst year in Irish film for more that two decades.

© Tom Dowling 2011  image by Tom Dowling

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The article below was printed in the Irish Times on Thursday, July 28, 2011

Film and TV sector ‘could be worth €1bn’

BY: RONAN MCGREEVY

“The success of Irish films such ‘The Guard’ are the exception rather than the rule”

Ireland’s television and film sector could double in size in the next five years if a concerted effort is made to target international markets, a new report suggests.

A dedicated Irish film channel, a fund to promote Irish films at home and a co-production fund to bring in major international productions are among the recommendations in Creative Capital: Building Ireland’s Audiovisual Creative Economy, which was commissioned by the Government.

The report believes that the audio visual sector, which includes all television and film produced in Ireland, could double its turnover from €500 million to €1 billion and double jobs in the sector from 5,000 to 10,000 within five years.

The report says this cannot be achieved without a greater emphasis on international markets and it recommends that Enterprise Ireland and Culture Ireland be directly involved in the promotion of Irish films abroad.

Enterprise Ireland, which helps indigenous companies that export, should be tasked with finding international markets for Irish film and the IDA should be involved in getting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector into Ireland.

A €2 million co-production fund could help generate €40 million in bringing in productions of the scale of The Tudors  and Camelot,  the report states. It says Irish film and television needs to be more orientated towards an international market and producers should adopt a “make-to-sell” culture for international audiences.

It acknowledges the struggles Irish films have in getting noticed and it recommends that the Irish Film Board (IFB) be involved in marketing and promoting such films.

The Sound and Vision fund, which is critical to the success of independent production companies in the country, should be transferred from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to the IFB.

The change would be part of an increased mandate for the film board which will also have a dedicated business development unit. It will also have full responsibility for co-ordinating a single training programme for the whole industry.

The report recommends that each of the local broadcasters agree a memorandum of understanding setting out common standards for feature film, TV drama, animation, documentary production and industry training.

It urges the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan to convey an industry wide consultation to agree “free, flexible, transparent and internationally competitive labour agreements” across the sector.

It also recommends that the intellectual property rights for content should remain with the companies who create the work rather than reside with the broadcaster who pay a fee for it.

Mr Deenihan has approved the formation of a new inter-departmental committee to examine the feasibility of implementing the recommendations in the report.

Mr Deenihan said Ireland had “world-class talent” and he hoped that a coherent interdepartmental collaboration would help achieve the “sustainable growth for the sector and the skills to build a sustainable export market.”

The members of the steering group which produced the report include Cathal Gaffney the managing director of Brown Bag Films, Ed Guiney, the company director of Element Films, and Niall O’Donnchu, the assistant secretary general of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

As the article appeared in the Irish Times.

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