The end of Filmbase: A sad day for Irish cinema
by Davide Abbatescianni
- After 32 years of serving the Irish film community, the organisation is closing its doors
On 15 March, staff officially announced the closure of Filmbase by publishing a communiqué on its website. This comes as very sad news for the local filmmaking community, which Filmbase has served proudly since 1986. The closure of the body, based in Temple Bar, Dublin, seems to be due to unsolvable budget constraints and resulted in the loss of 13 jobs.
In this respect, the board explained: “Filmbase has been fighting for many years against difficult financial circumstances, and as a not-for-profit organisation, that fight has always been a tough and challenging one. Debts that had accumulated at the organisation had reached a point where it was unrealistic for Filmbase to continue operations. This is a decision which has been reached with great sadness by all involved, and the organisation will now move into voluntary liquidation.”
Filmbase has occupied an important place in the Irish film and media landscape by granting exceptional support to fledgling filmmakers thanks to a series of workshops, affordable equipment hire, access to special film-funding award schemes, location scouting assistance, the publication of Film Ireland (the first Irish online film magazine), and many other initiatives aimed at creating an open, active networking space for filmmakers and a catalyst for ideas, scripts, projects and partnerships which have made incommensurable contributions to the national film community.
Furthermore, Filmbase was an active member of Screen Talent Europe, a network aimed at creating international talent-development projects, such as pitching forums, film production camps, networking and other social events. Filmbase had over 1,000 active members, which included emerging and established filmmakers, production companies, film artists, designers and media professionals.
Over the last 32 years, Filmbase has received support from many national film and media bodies, but unfortunately, this was not enough to prevent its closure. In particular, Filmbase thanked TV channels RTE and TG4 “for their early and continued support over many years for short-film schemes and for giving so many filmmakers the opportunity to make their first films”. Moreover, the organisation thanked the Arts Council for supporting the organisation from its earliest days, as “it has allowed Filmbase to develop and grow and to provide the space that it did to filmmakers and film artists for over 30 years”.
Finally, the Irish Film Board’s chief executive, James Hickey, remarked upon the crucial role of Filmbase in fostering Irish talent and added: “I would like to sincerely thank Alan Fitzpatrick and the team at Filmbase for their unfaltering dedication to filmmaking over the years, and for leaving behind a rich legacy of creative empowerment and support for Irish film.”
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