New funding scheme announced to support Irish comedy on the international market
by Davide Abbatescianni
- RTE and the Irish Film Board are ready to promote quality comedy series with high export potential
Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, and the Irish Film Board have signed a partnership agreement to support high-quality Irish comedies with high export potential on the international market, following the immense success of national shows like Bridget & Eamon (recently sold to British thematic channel Gold) and the upcoming TV series The Young Offenders, based on the film of the same name released last year and set to air at the beginning of 2018.
The call for proposals is now open, and projects can be submitted via the dedicated online portal rte.ie/commissioning. RTE and the Irish Film Board are looking for half-hour scripted comedies, and projects may participate only if the producers are willing to gather additional funds from foreign broadcasters or distributors. Their financial commitment should be able to match, at a bare minimum, the required RTE investment at the pilot and series stages.
The initiative has three distinct stages. During the first stage, ten successful projects will be selected for development – this stage is jointly funded by RTE and the Irish Film Board. Subsequently, four of these projects will receive support from these two bodies for the production of a pilot. Finally, only one will become a full TV series – at this stage, additional international funding will be mandatory. Furthermore, submitted projects are eligible for the Section 481 tax break at both stages two and three, and this relief can substantially increase their available budget.
The ambitious scope of the funding scheme was confirmed by head of Comedy, Talent Development and Music at RTE Eddie Doyle, who firmly believes in the next generation of Irish comedy artists. “There are so many extraordinarily talented writers, performers, producers and directors coming out of Ireland at the moment, and at the same time, the appetite for Irish comedy, at home and abroad, has never been greater.”
The deadline for submission of the projects is 29 November.
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