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Seamus Brennan Announces 18% Increase In Funding For The Irish Film Board

Responding to the international success that indigenous Irish films have accomplished this year, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Seamus Brennan, has announced a 18% increase in funding for Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), Ireland’s national film agency. The agency’s budget has been increased from €19.6 in 2007 to €23.2 million in 2008, indicating strong government support for the Irish film sector.
These figures reflect what has been a successful year for the Irish film industry. IFB funded projects and the Irish film industry have picked up over 20 international awards during 2007. Major triumphs include Once winning the Audience Award for World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival. Once went on to be released in the US to universal critical acclaim and has gone on to take almost $10 million at the North American box office. Garage was selected for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, scooping the CICAE Art and Essai Cinema Prize. Consolata Boyle received an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design on The Queen, Joan Bergin won an Emmy for her work on the US TV series The Tudors and Kings was selected as the Irish film to be submitted for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award. Irish films have also been selected for other A-list festivals Toronto, Venice and Pusan.
"We welcome Minister Brennan's decision to implement a substantial increase in the Board's direct funding at this time. It is an endorsement of the IFB's policies for promoting and developing Irish filmmaking talent and Irish film enterprises. We are confident that Irish films will continue to grow in success and international recognition with all the wider benefits to the economy that flow from this," said James Morris, Chair, IFB.
"This extremely welcome uplift in the IFB’s funding will enable us to respond to pressing needs in Irish filmmaking. We aim to provide more support for the sustained development of Irish stories with international reach, well funded schemes for the production of short films to reveal new Irish talent and to invest in new production at a level that will stimulate the making of bigger-budget films with potential to compete in the world market," commented Simon Perry, Chief Executive, IFB.
James Morris went on to commented: "At the same time it is true that the level of overseas productions choosing to film in Ireland has fallen to an all time low as a result of Ireland's indirect tax incentives falling behind those of our main overseas competitors.
"In this area we welcome the Minister of Finance's decision to renew Section 481 and hope that, in the coming weeks, he will consider favorably the IFB's proposed amendments to Section 481 made to Government as part of the recently completed Indecon review of Section 481.
"Keeping Ireland on the international map for film production brings valuable economic activity, employment in skilled areas and international networking for Irish producers. It is a vital component in growing a creatively led sustainable Irish film industry."
IFB-funded film and television projects contributed a total of approximately €63 million to the Irish economy in 2007, showing a significant return on government investment in this sector.

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