With the possible exception of one Sunday newspaper, most articles written on the state of Irish film present the industry as having “the best year ever” mimicking press releases from a few select sources. It found it gratifying to come across Roddy Flynn’s introduction to the Irish Film Review 2011 in the latest on-line issue of Estudios Irlandese. Roddy Flynn has stripped away the veneer that is generally presented in Irish newspapers given an in-depth analysis on Irish film “drilling into” the actually figures and providing an honest reflection of where the industry is at. Here is some of what he had to say on the fate of Ardmore.
The 1990s and 2000s were easily the most successful decades in Ardmore’s history, as the facility benefitted from the general increase in film and television production levels that followed the re-establishment of the Film Board, the creation of the Independent Production Unit in RTE and the expansion of tax breaks for audiovisual investment.
It might therefore be reasonable to assume that Ardmore’s current difficulties point to a decline in production activity in Ireland. In fact, the opposite is the case. When IBEC published its annual audit of production in Autumn 2011, it noted that the value of the Irish audiovisual sector in terms of output had leapt from €243.3m in 2009 to €387.9m in 2010. However, drilling down into that overall figure reveals dramatic changes in the sector over the past decade. In 2003, 70% of audiovisual production in Ireland was accounted for by feature film production. By 2007, however, feature production’s share of output had fallen to less than 10%. In its stead, independent television production has come to the fore, accounting for 62% of all production activity in 2010.
To many looking at the industry from the outside the fact that feature film production fell from 70 per cent in 2003 to 10 per cent in 2007 may come as a surprise. I can say in my own case the last feature film I worked on was the €30 million ‘The Honeymooners’ in 2004, coming up on 8 years.
Roddy Flynn provides some of the best analyses and realistic account on where Irish film is at. The article (Roddy Flynn is a lecturer on film and television at the School of Communications, Dublin City University).
With the copy and paste style of most in our national newspapers, is it any wonder that the collapse of the property market/banking crisis came as such a shock. Just like the big players in banking and property who believed in their own hype, they exist in film too.
Another review of the audiovisual industry is underway it’s time we had some articles that challenge the evidence presented.
(c) Tom Dowling 2012
Categories: Film and TV