Irish Film – its not all about tax incentives.

An interesting article appeared in an online Maltese news publication last night and it got me thinking.

In the article The Malta Film Commission has been awarded €500,000 as part of the European Social Fund Cohesion Policy Operational Programme II 2007-2013, which aims to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and aid to develop a skilled an adaptable workforce.

Malta has been a major film production centre for many years, but it obviously recognises that to maintain that competitive edge, it must develop its technician’s skills to meet changes in the industry. It’s also interesting that the report indicates that the fund is to be used target “below-the-line services” and will begin “initiating a certified training programme”.

Here are 2 questions for the Irish sector

  1. Has Ireland ever applied for such a scheme?
  2. If we did who exactly administered the scheme and where was that money spent?

It has been suggested that the Irish Film Board would be more involved in training in the future. The producers don’t see it as their role to be involved and personally I don’t think they should. The unions have demonstrated in the past that they have little interest in improving the skills level. It has been aware but has chosen to ignore poor skill and productivity levels in some areas and disinterested in other sectors completely. Screen Training Ireland is a totally dysfunctional organisation, more of a training arm for Screen Producers Ireland. Courses for producers are applicable but Screen Training Ireland appears oblivious that there are a whole range of technician’s working in the industry who have never  got a day’s training in the classroom for the industry in which they work.

We have no recognised industry skills standard across the sectors; there is no data base of the productions crew members have worked on. Crewing on productions has always lacked transparency but in recent years it’s become a golden circle.

There are several crisis’s facing the Irish Film industry and one of them, is that it lacks leadership and direction. There is no overall governing body committed and focused to the development of the industry. One of the other interesting points raised in the article is that Malta recognises the importance of securing “big-budget film productions“. In Ireland policy has shifted in recent years to indigenous film production, and yes there have been some successes of late. Ireland cannot develop a sustainable industry, creating and maintain long term work for technician’s without regular the big-budget film productions coming through here.

The Irish Film industry has been very well supported through tax incentives over the past 20 years promoting Irish talent, creativity and enterprise., the other side of that coin is that must generate jobs and a return for that investment. The awards have come, however on the development of a long term industry its falling well short.

It’s time to look outwards if the Irish industry is to maintain competitiveness on the world stage it’s not all about tax incentives.

It would be interesting hearing your views on this?


The article as it appeared on line.

Malta Film Commission awarded €500,000 in EU funds

Tuesday October 16th

The Malta Film Commission has been awarded €500,000 as part of the European Social Fund Cohesion Policy Operational Programme II 2007-2013, which aims to improve employment opportunities in the European Union and aid to develop a skilled an adaptable workforce.

Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech said that Malta was a viable contender in the international film production network, and has played host to a number of big-budget film productions over the years.

“As competition increases in the television and film industries, Malta must remain desirable to foreign film producers.  Investing in the creation of a skilled labour force can provide quality assurance to international productions, thus maintaining and increasing Malta’s competitive edge,” Fenech said.

The Malta Film Commission will be initiating a certified training programme encouraging individuals of all ages to further their studies, as well as develop their skills in order to increase their opportunities for employment in the film servicing industry. Training will target below-the-line services, including Wardrobe Management, Location Scouting, Special Effects and Lighting for the Film and Television Industries.

Film Commissioner Peter Busuttil referred to the ESF funding approval, pointing out that this allocation will be invested towards accredited courses in the filming production sector for those interested in starting a career in this industry or in improving their expertise in the field. The commission aims to increase the number of persons adequately skilled in the filming industry with the potential to increase innovation opportunities in this sector. It is intended that these courses will commence around first quarter of 2013.

For further information about these courses please send email to

Categories: Film and TV

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Very good and very valid points, Tom,

    Best Regards, John Phelan Bootstrap Films Ltd.

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