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Irish Film and Television Academy established

Minister John O’Donoghue TD has announced the establishment of the Irish Film and Television Academy, an all-Ireland organisation for the Irish film and television industry.
The Academy is now open for membership from the industry and has repositioned the annual IFTA Awards to February each year.
The Irish Film & Television Academy’s mission is the stimulation of original and creative production work and the encouragement of excellence through recognition, education and leadership in film and television.
Given the growing success of the IFTA Awards (with its strong industry support, primetime live broadcast to 640,000 peak viewers and increasing international recognition), IFTN (the Irish Film & Television Network, who organise the Awards, initiated talks in late 2005 with key industry organizations and representative agencies with a view to introducing an all-Ireland Academy which would encourage excellence within the industry, driving a range of industry initiatives with focus on education and leadership along with industry events including the annual IFTA awards ceremony (see below).
As a result, the Irish Film and Television Academy has now been established with full representation from across the industry; The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission, broadcasters; RTÉ, BBC, TV3, UTV, TG4, Screen Producers Ireland, SIPTU, Irish Equity, Screen Directors Guild, Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild and IFTN.
The first decision of the Academy has been to reposition the IFTA Awards to February each year in line with the international awards season and to build a strong membership of industry professionals who will be entitled to vote in the annual IFTA awards under the ‘peer voting’ system within their field of expertise. The Awards date change also now establishes a full calendar year submission period of Jan 1st to Dec 31st each year. The next awards will be held on Friday 9th February 2007.
Officially announcing the establishment of the Academy, John O’Donoghue TD, Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism stated: "I am delighted to support the establishment of the new Irish Film & Television Academy which will build a membership of Irish professionals deriving their living from the making of film and television in this country.
"Irish Film and Television is experiencing a new buoyancy and confidence in 2006, as a result of the improvements I have made to Section 481 of the tax incentive scheme, and the increased funding that I have provided to the Irish Film Board. Ireland has won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, and our actors, directors and producers continue to make an impact internationally. The establishment of the new Academy with the February positioning of the IFTA Awards is an important and welcome addition to the industry's efforts to ensure that Ireland will build on its success into the future"
Áine Moriarty, CEO of the Irish Film & Television Academy, said: “It is heartening to see the unified support from the industry and the Minister behind the Academy. Establishing the Academy with peer voting and repositioning the IFTA Awards brings Ireland in line with other international Academies. The Academy will raise the profile of Irish talent and production by actively promoting Irish excellence, ensuring that achievements are recognized and respected throughout the world”.
The Irish Film & Television Academy has opened applications for industry professionals to become founding members. Membership is open to all Irish professionals working in the industry in Ireland and internationally. Membership benefits include free screenings during Voting Season, networking evenings, educational events (Q&As, masterclasses, lectures, etc), voting for the annual Irish Awards, free publications including quarterly Academy magazine, annual Awards magazine, interview booklets, special offers and discounts (hotels, restaurants, cinemas etc).
To become a Founding Member and to vote in the next Awards, applicants must submit their application by Friday 25th August 2006.

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