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INDUSTRY / MARKET Ireland

Screen Ireland announces further measures to protect the Irish audiovisual industry

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- The new set of provisions is designed to aid production companies and talents in developing a strong slate of quality projects, despite the hardship caused by the outbreak

Screen Ireland announces further measures to protect the Irish audiovisual industry

Yesterday, Screen Ireland, the country’s audiovisual agency, announced a new set of measures to further protect the local audiovisual sector. The body’s key priority is still to “provide practical and effective funding measures to support production companies and creative talent, across feature film, TV drama, animation and documentary”, even at this difficult time. These new measures are designed to aid Irish outfits and talents in developing a strong slate of quality projects, so that the industry can emerge from the current situation in a position to scale up production activity.

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In detail, the new provisions include the Strategic Slate Development Fund, enhanced Development Support, the Creative Concept Development Scheme, enhanced investments in the Screenplay Development and Spotlight schemes, financial planning for companies, and the creation and adaptation of funding schemes for the skills development programme.

First, the purpose of the Strategic Slate Development Fund is to allow successful applicants to create a strong slate of audiovisual projects. The initiative, originally announced earlier this year, has been enhanced and adapted to respond to the challenges posed by the current emergency. The fund is valued at up to €3 million and aims to support strategic slate project development with strong creative ambition and a focus on diversity and inclusion. The Strategic Slate Development Fund is part of the agency’s 2020 capital budget allocation for slate funding and has been increased by €2 million in response to the impact of the global pandemic.

The body will also provide an additional €1 million in enhanced Development Support across feature films, TV and animations, which will be available to Irish firms working with writers on a project-by-project basis, where the Strategic Slate Funding Scheme does not apply. Ninety percent of this funding will be made available upfront for successful applicants.

Next, a new Creative Conceptual Development Fund will be made available directly to Irish directors, aimed at investing in the early vision of a director to develop high-value, finely tuned projects for feature film and television. The scheme’s purpose is to generate exceptional screen work with the early creative leadership of a director and refined development before presenting it to the relevant decision makers.

Moreover, the organisation is committed to supporting writers directly in the form of an additional €100,000 total investment in the Screenplay Development and Spotlight writing schemes. The Spotlight scheme is intended as an opportunity for new writers to develop a feature-length script, with guidance and mentorship from leading industry figures, whilst the Screenplay Development one helps experienced writers and directors to produce a viable first-draft script.

In addition, the fund will also be making a line of funding available for firms in need of urgent financial planning support. This new measure will provide funding to enable outfits to develop a financial plan with the advice of a consultant. The fund is worth up to €150,000, with companies able to apply for a maximum of €5,000.

Finally, Screen Skills Ireland has repurposed two of its funding schemes and opened two brand-new ones. The Festivals and Events Funding Scheme has been repurposed as a Skills Development Events Funding Scheme, which will assist Irish organisations and festivals to provide online industry events, and the International Bursary Award Scheme has been repurposed as a Bursary Award Scheme to support industry professionals as they undertake high-level online skill-development courses. Meanwhile, the two brand-new programmes are the Screen Mentoring Funding Scheme, which will help professionals to access mentor support over a 12-month period, and the Stakeholders and Guilds Funding Scheme, which will back screen stakeholders and guilds to deliver a range of skills-related activities over the course of a year.

Further details about most of these initiatives will be made available on Screen Ireland's and Screen Skills Ireland’s official websites on 24 April.

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