Film board backs Galway’s bid to become Unesco city of film
Audivisual sector worth €72 million to west-coast region in 2012
Kate O’Toole of the Irish Film Board, Lelia Doolan of Picture Palace and Ros Na Rún actor Máire Uí Dhroighneáin at the launch of Galway’s bid to become Unesco city of film. Photograph: Andrew Downes
The Irish Film Board is backing Galway’s ambition to become Ireland’s first – and the world’s third – Unesco city of film.
Newly appointed film board chairman Bill O’Herlihy expressed support for the bid yesterday when the board marked its 20th anniversary in Galway and heard details of the plan.
“Galway’s chances are pretty good, given its historical links to film with Robert Flaherty’s Man of Aran and John Ford’s classic The Quiet Man,” Mr O’Herlihy said. “The city and county are also home to 50 production companies employing 600 people, and the film fleadh opening later this month is very important now internationally.”
The audiovisual sector is reported to have made a €72 million direct contribution to the west-coast region in 2012, and there has been a 24.5 per cent growth in employment in the sector over the past five years, supported by an 18.6 per cent increase in revenue for the industry over the same period.
Mr O’Herlihy said only two other cities – Britain’s Bradford, which is twinned with Galway, and Sydney – had secured this particular Unesco designation. The city of film concept is part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network, designed to promote the educational, social, economic, scientific and cultural development of urban areas. In all, there are 34 member cities, with designations in literature, music, design and other art forms.
Galway city and county mayors Cllr Pádraig Conneely (FG) and Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) outlined their support for the initiative at a function last night.
They noted that Galway’s relationship with film-making stretched from the recent John Michael McDonagh black comedy The Guard back to the work of Bob Quinn in the 1970s to the earliest days of the last century.
The two mayors said the designation would have a broad remit to include television and animation, and Irish-language television productions such as Ros na Rún and Rásaí na Gaillimhe would form part of the application.
Galway Film Centre is facilitating the submission, with more than 50 key partners including the new Picture Palace arthouse cinema, Galway Film Fleadh, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Abú Media, Studio Solas, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology film and documentary department, the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media, Media Antenna, Cinemobile, Teach Solais and Eo Teilifís.
Film-maker Lelia Doolan said the idea was “born on the site of the Picture Palace in 2010, at a gathering of artists, musicians, poets, film-makers and dancers who provided an al fresco picnic for the then minister for the arts to celebrate the collaborations between all creative people in the city”.