Irish Film Board calls for additional development money

R&D is ‘the lifeblood’ of the film and television business, says James Hickey

James Hickey CEO Irish Film Board Photo: David Sleator

James Hickey CEO Irish Film Board Photo: David Sleator

 

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland should allocate some funding to the development of television and film projects, rather than simply their production, according to the chief executive of the Irish Film Board.

“The BAI is already investing some money in feature film production and we think it would be better spent on development,” James Hickey said at the MediaCon conference in Dublin’s Mansion House.

“I believe we all need to be working together much more,” he added.

Under the BAI’s Sound and Vision fund, to which 7 per cent of television licence fee receipts are allocated, some €24 million in funding is being made available to television and radio producers over the course of 2015 and 2016.

The Irish Film Board, meanwhile, has a budget of €9.9 million for film and television projects this year and it spends €1.5-€1.8 million on development, allowing writers, directors and producers to develop and prepare screenplay projects.

“R&D is the lifeblood of the software industry and it is also the lifeblood of this industry,” Mr Hickey said.

The Irish Film Board, which is soon to be renamed Screen Ireland, plans to invest more in television drama, as it has done with television animation.

Drama funding

MediaCon, which attracted executives from international broadcasting and digital media groups, was the brainchild of Lesley O’Connor (a former RTÉ programme-maker and former executive producer of the Web Summit) and Steve McCormack of Straywave Media.

RTÉ director of production and acquisitions Dermot Horan confirmed to the conference that RTÉ has “a number of dramas in development that have legs and could go to series two, three, four, or five”.

RTÉ will shortly announce “some very big deals” that will mean it won’t have to fund these dramas on its own but can secure a chunk of their budgets from international pre-sales, he said.