The Irish Film Board has primary responsibility for the support and promotion of film-making in Ireland, in respect of both the indigenous sector and inward productions. Its aim is to help filmmakers to make Irish films, and provide production and development loans for features, television programmes, animation projects, documentaries and short films. The Board supports and promotes the Irish screen industries at major international markets and festivals, promotes inward investment, the use of Ireland as a location for international production and provides support for companies filming in Ireland. The Film Board also liaises with IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland in terms of maximising joint opportunities for promotion of Ireland as a location for film productions. Examples of this could be seen during Ireland’s success at the Oscars this year and the promotional activity around the shooting of Star Wars in Ireland.
Film making in Ireland is also supported by the Section 481 film tax credit system, which incentivises film investment in Ireland. This incentive was enhanced in Budget 2016, when the cap for eligible expenditure on film projects was increased from €50 million to €70 million.
Clearly, funding across the public service was severely impacted by the economic crisis, including the funding that could be provided for investment in culture and the arts. Since my initial appointment as Minister with responsibility for the arts, I have succeeded in securing increased funding for the sector year on year. The allocation to the Irish Film Board in 2016 at almost €14.5 million shows an increase of 3.6% from last year. I am pleased that I have already been able to provide some additional support to the Film Board this year, with additional current funding of €500,000. This increased investment will help to maximise the benefits brought about by the enhancement of the Section 481 film tax credit system to which I have referred.
The Programme for a Partnership Government contains an ambitious agenda of priorities in relation to achieving a stable, sustainable and secure funding model for the arts in line with improvements in the economy and the public finances. The Programme also contains a very important commitment to work to progressively increase funding to the arts, including the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board, as the economy continues to improve. I will be engaging with my colleagues in Government and with the Oireachtas to seek to advance this commitment in the context of the forthcoming estimates and budgetary processes.