Protests Over Film Board Cuts

A threat is still looming over the future of the Irish Film Board.

However, this month, the Dáil's Renewed Programme for Government - agreed between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party on 10 October - has been revealed as including a provision to maintain the supports provided by the Film Board in Ireland.

Some 523 members out of a valid poll of 622 Green Party members agreed to back the revised Programme which addressed issues across finance, healthcare, education, housing, the environment and the arts.

The Renewed Programme for Government states that the Arts are "an integral part of our modern society and we are dedicated to the broadening and deepening of participation in that sector".

The news is a positive sign for the beleagured Irish Film Board which may be axed amid financial cut-backs.

Last month, the representative body for television and film directors called for the retention of the Irish Film Board.

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) said it was against the axing of the film board, as mentioned in the McCarthy report.

It follows comments made earlier by director Neil Jordan at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh.

"So many institutions have failed the Irish people. The culture industry, they have not failed, they are perhaps the only success story that remains after the last 20 years," he said.

Reiterating the director's comments, Ciaran Donnelly, Chairman of the SDGI, said that "the marriage of creativity and industry" had been of benefit to the State both artistically and fiscally.

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board was re-established in 1993 and it has played a crucial role in the development of the indigenous film industry as well as raising public awareness of the social, cultural and economic benefits of film-making in Ireland.

The primary function of the Board is to provide development and production finance for Irish film projects.

Development loans are given to provide resources to allow a project to be brought from the drawing board to the stage of being a properly researched and developed project ready to be taken to the production stage.

Production loans contribute towards the actual cost of producing a finished film or documentary project.

The Board also supports more established companies in producing culturally Irish films which have significant commercial prospects.

It also provides, under its capital provision, funds for film training, carried out on behalf of the Board by the National Training Committee for Film and Television established under Fás legislation, known as Screen Training Ireland.

The Irish Film Board receives a capital and administrative funding from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. The capital grant covers development and production loans and training.

In 2009, the Board will receive €3.023 million for administration purposes and €18,817 million for capital costs.


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