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Against all odds, 2021 turned out to be a record-breaking year for the Irish screen industries


- Last week, Screen Ireland disclosed production activity figures of €500 million with growth recorded across local feature film, TV drama and animation

Against all odds, 2021 turned out to be a record-breaking year for the Irish screen industries
Screen Ireland Chief Executive Désirée Finnegan

Last week, Screen Ireland revealed a record-breaking spend of €500 million in the Irish economy across film, TV drama, documentary and animation production in Ireland in 2021. In detail, this level of spend on jobs and local goods and services represents the highest ever achieved and represents a 40% increase on the previous record set in 2019.

According to the official press release published by the agency, the growth of production activities is being driven “by both local and international productions” and “the sector is currently supporting 12,000 local jobs with major additional expansion opportunities across all parts of the industry anticipated in the coming year.”

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The body reported that this intensified activity is also the result of “Ireland’s competitiveness in attracting international productions, Screen Ireland’s own development funding opportunities and schemes for local producers and creative talent, as well as direct support from Government that is key to driving and maintaining this success.”

Specifically, last year local Irish film activity increased by 52% from 2019, reaching the highest year ever for the category. The new titles produced last year slated for a 2022 release include God’s Creatures [+see also:
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Joyride, Aisha [+see also:
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and Nocebo. Next, local TV drama production spend increased by 40% from 2019. Notably, since Screen Ireland’s introduction of development funding for TV drama in 2015, TV drama spend has increased by 145%. Upcoming TV dramas backed by the agency include Holding, The Dry and Redemption. Meanwhile, local Irish animation also demonstrated an increase in production in 2021 of 27% from 2019. New projects recently released include animated feature Tea for the Dead and the TV Series Lady Bird Liu.

Overall, international production activity grew by 45% with projects such as Disney’s Disenchanted which filmed on location in Dublin and Wicklow, hiring up to 98% Irish crew representing over 1000 jobs on the production. Notably, last year Screen Ireland backed projects picked up over 35 major international award nominations including Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA nominations.

Commenting on these impressive results Désirée Finnegan, Screen Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: “This record-breaking level of film and TV production in Ireland demonstrates the dedication and resilience of all those working across the sector. Despite immense challenges, the producers, directors, writers, cast and crew continued creating world-class stories to entertain audiences at home and abroad. Throughout 2021 Screen Ireland supported Ireland’s vital national cinema, increased investment in high-end TV drama, embraced innovation in the animation sector and continued excellence in documentary production.”

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, TD, added: “The Irish screen production industry is building a reputation for high quality production across the world. Our people, landscape, and creative talent are combining with a supportive economic and cultural environment to provide Ireland with a major competitive advantage that is attracting significant investment from overseas. The Audio Visual Action Plan has supported Ireland’s screen industries to become a global centre of excellence for the film and TV industry and in particular to grow Irish TV Drama. Looking at the creative output generated in 2021, it is clear that, in line with the Audiovisual Action Plan, Ireland is on track to continue to grow, creating local jobs and a welcome spend in the Irish economy. Local film, television and animation ensures that Irish stories and Irish creativity are enjoyed worldwide, whilst international productions bring images of Irish locations around the globe.”

You can access the full figures here

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