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Industry / Market - Ireland

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Screen Ireland announces a rich slate of productions, new Regional Support Fund


The Emerald Isle’s audiovisual agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for 2023, along with some important achievements attained in 2022

Screen Ireland announces a rich slate of productions, new Regional Support Fund
Laura Linney and Maggie Smith in The Miracle Club, one of the high-profile titles in Ireland's 2023 slate of productions

2022 sure was a great year for the Irish film industry, and last week, the Oscar nominations saw local creative talent stealing the show, with a record number of 14 nods (see the news). Screen Ireland’s agenda for 2023 seems to confirm the country’s ambitious plans to grow its impact on the international stage.

On 31 January, the agency launched its slate of productions coming to audiences and international markets this year. The line-up was presented at an event held in Dublin, attended by Screen Ireland representatives alongside a host of local creative screen talent.

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The Irish body also published the country’s industry figures for 2022 and disclosed details of several new initiatives set to roll out over the course of 2023.

Zooming in on the results achieved in 2022, Screen Ireland revealed that the projects it backed “garnered over 150 awards and nominations”. According to the figures provided, production activity has continued to grow at a steady rate over recent years. In detail, production spend in the Irish economy hit a record high in 2021, an exceptional year owing to the increased level of activity taking place following the COVID-related production shutdowns. Production activity in 2022 recorded a spend of €361.487 million, driven by both Irish and international productions, marking an increase of €4 million from 2019, the year preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, in 2022, Screen Ireland continued its commitment “to training and upskilling across all areas of the screen industry”, with 3,500 skills-development placements spanning Section 481 training, courses and other skills-development initiatives (for example, mentorships and shadow directing opportunities).

Moreover, TV drama production has increased particularly over the last few years, driven by a number of targeted support schemes from Screen Ireland, and TV dramas coming to screens this year include the Element Pictures-produced The Dry (set to air on RTÉ next month), Clean Sweep, as well as seasons 2 and 3 of the popular series Kin and Smother, respectively. These positive figures and trends come after last month’s report on the effects brought about by Section 481, which indicated that 89% of incoming production expenditure can be attributed to the incentive, as well as the great use of Irish talent, with 68% of productions benefiting from the presence of local creatives between 2017 and 2021.

Meanwhile, the rich 2023 slate of productions promises to encompass “live-action and animated feature films, thought-provoking documentaries, TV animation for young audiences as well as TV drama”. In total, it includes 45 projects (nine fiction features, three animated series, four creative co-productions, eight TV dramas, 14 documentaries and seven shorts). Among these are John Carney’s Flora and Son (picked up by Apple TV and premiered at Sundance on 22 January), Enzo d’Alò’s new animated flick A Greyhound of a Girl [+see also:
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, Marian Quinn’s Dublin docklands-set Twig (see the news), Gar O’Rourke’s Ukrainian-set doc Sanatorium, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s star-studded The Miracle Club (led by the likes of Maggie Smith, Laura Linney, Kathy Bates and Stephen Rea), Terry Loane’s drama The Last Rifleman (starring Pierce Brosnan and Clémence Poésy) and the upcoming animated TV series Atom Town, a STEM educational children’s series based on the periodic table.

Next, a new fund to further support regional crews was also announced. Specifically, the Regional Support Fund aims to back the development of skills around the country, outside of County Dublin and County Wicklow. It is targeted at crew across all grades, including new entrants, and will also require commitments in the areas of diversity and inclusion, sustainable production, and on-set initiatives. €3.5 million have been ring-fenced from Screen Ireland’s 2023 budget for the fund.

Regional development remains a key priority for the body. Notably, 47% of the local Irish feature-film and TV drama in Screen Ireland’s 2023 slate was produced or filmed on location in counties Donegal, Limerick, Clare, Galway and Mayo. Finally, Screen Ireland also confirmed that, starting this year, funding will be available for all Screen Ireland-supported projects to engage a sustainability advisor in addition to the requirement for productions to document their carbon footprints.

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