Busy times ahead for the Irish Film Board following the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan’s announcement that he has sought a review of the possible impact on the Irish audiovisual industry – following the Britain’s Chancellors plans to introduce tax incentives for TV dramas
Ireland’s currently offers tax incentive of 28 per cent to film and TV drama, the new British incentives will be worth 25 per cent and could be in place by April 2013. At 25 per cent that will be enough to ensure The Irish Film Board will no longer be able to attract U.K television production here, and could potentially make Ireland unattractive to the U.S. type series from the likes of HBO and Showtime makers of The Tudors.
In a separate move, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan also announced that his department will also review the section 481 tax incentives. He said: “I have asked my Department to undertake a review later this year in order to inform future policy making in relation to the scheme. I do not intend to make any major adjustments to the scheme prior to the completion of this review.”
Ibec’s audiovisual federation director Torlach Denihan said that more tax incentives or an expansion of 481 “would not necessarily be top of the list,” adding that labour costs, skills, facilities should be examined“. He said: “We have got to face up to our labour costs. Our labour costs are up to 30 per cent out of line with the equivalent labour costs in the UK in the film and TV production sector. That’s something that does need to be looked at with urgency”.
In 2011 the Creative Capital Report made a series of recommendations to the Irish Film Board. Quick look at the short term objectives in the report and you can see very little has been achieved to date. With no details of the scope for this latest review The Creative Capital Report will most likely form the framework for any recommendations, and it will most likely report on the future of Ardmore studios. Kevin Moriarty MD of Ardmore Studios and IFB member has made it clear that he has “removed” himself from the decision making process of future state investment at the studios.
The Creative Capital Report highlighted areas of the audiovisual sector that should be developed such animation, digital post-production, the development of CGI post production and the gaming Industry.
It also recommends that the IFB be given more teeth “ the organisational structure and funding responsibilities of the IFB are adapted to enable the organisation to act as a specialist development agency for the entire audiovisual industry alongside its current remit of developing the industry for the making of Irish film and television”
Growth can only come from developing the right culture in an organisation from the top down; only then can it develop in a more sustainable way. Tax incentives have hidden our lack of competitiveness for a long time only genuine reforms, transparency, accountability and leadership can put the industry back on track.
From the early nineties up until 2005 there was huge capital investment in productions yet almost none of the money was re investment in the future of the Industry or clear leadership shown and that is why……… we are where we are.
Time for change, its back in the lap of the Irish Film Board.
© Tom Dowling 2012
Categories: Film and TV