Dublin International Film Festival reverses deficit

Festival overcomes slide in sponsorship income and box office receipts to record a €50,129 surplus in 2016

A European premiere of John Carney’s “Sing Street” opened the 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival

A European premiere of John Carney’s “Sing Street” opened the 2016 Audi Dublin International Film Festival


The Dublin International Film Festival (Diff) returned to profitability last year despite a sharp decline in sponsorship and box office income.

The festival overcame the shortfall in revenue by slashing administrative expenses and direct costs. That included a decision to screen a smaller number of films overall and putting on fewer showing a unconventional times of the day.

“There weren’t as many films shown but there was a higher occupancy at box office so it was a more successful festival in that we got our costs down because we weren’t paying a high rental and there were fewer guest costs associated with screenings,” said festival chairman Gaby Smyth

“During the festival, there was more of a concentrated effort in screening fewer out-of-hour films,” he added.

Turnover fell almost 20 per cent to €614,533 in the year to end -August 2016 from €762,744 the previous year. Revenues from sponsorship deals almost halving to €180,000 from €335,000. Box office and advertising income was also down sharply, falling from €217,383 to €189,486.

However, the festival recorded a €50,129 surplus for the 12 months, having seen losses more than quadruple a year earlier to €95,922 after the event ran later than normal.

The organisation received €142,250 in grants from the Arts Council in the 2015/16 year and a further €35,667 in patrons, conference and other-related revenues.

Mr Smyth said part of the reason for the decline in income was due to changes in the Arts Council’s accounting period which meant the Diff only received a 75 per cent subvention.

He also said there was a period during which there was no sponsor for the event. Car brand Audi signed a three-year deal in December 2015 to become lead sponsor of the festival from 2016 onwards, replacing Jameson, which had backed the event since its inception.

Diff’s board includes festival chairman Gaby Smyth, film director and producer Paddy Breathnach, former RTÉ Radio managing director Clare Duignan, and The Irish Times culture editor Hugh Linehan.

The festival, founded in 2003, has hosted over 550 well-known guests including Al Pacino, Julie Andrews, Danny DeVito Tilda Swinton, Daniel Day Lewis and Russell Crowe since it was established.

The organisation employed six people last year with staff-related costs totalling €242,158.

Overall, the festival has screened world cinema from more than 50 different countries with almost 1,500 films shown, including 300 Irish features.