Screen Ireland eyes fairy tale recovery for production in 2021

Catherine Martin and chief executive Désirée Finnegan visit Disney’s Disenchanted at RDS

Minister for Culture Catherine Martin, producer Barry Josephson, Irish costume designer Joan Bergin and Désirée Finnegan, Screen Ireland chief executive at the Disenchanted production offices

Minister for Culture Catherine Martin, producer Barry Josephson, Irish costume designer Joan Bergin and Désirée Finnegan, Screen Ireland chief executive at the Disenchanted production offices

 

After the gloom of 2020, which saw cameras switched off and sets shut down for almost half the year, a fairy-tale recovery seems to be under way for the Irish film and television industry, with Screen Ireland now expecting “potentially record levels” of production activity in 2021.

Despite “enormous ongoing challenges” faced by the industry as a result of the pandemic, 37 Irish and international film, television and animation projects have gone into production in the Republic in the first half of this year.

The State development agency said the industry was now addressing a backlog in production created by the 2020 set closures and delays to the start of planned projects.

Early estimates indicate the sector’s economic contribution reached €289 million from January to June. That compares with a record contribution of €357.6 million for all of 2019.

The update came as Minister for Culture Catherine Martin and Screen Ireland chief executive Désirée Finnegan visited Disenchanted’s production space at the RDS in Dublin on Thursday.

More than 1,000 people, including extras, have recently been employed on the Disney film, a sequel to the 2007 musical fantasy comedy Enchanted, with the makers transforming Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, into a Disney “wonderland”.

Captivated public

“The filming has clearly captivated the public over the last number of weeks, and I am confident that the high number of domestic tourists visiting the set is just the start of the positive and long-lasting impact that the filming will have on the town of Enniskerry,” Ms Martin said.

“It is encouraging to see and know that the majority of people employed on this fantastic production are Irish.”

The Minister added that the Government would ensure the Republic “continues to maintain and grow its foothold in the sector” by supporting both home-grown talent and attracting international productions such as Disenchanted.

Screen Ireland has launched 20 separate funding measures in direct response to the impact of Covid-19, which it said would not have been possible without stimulus funds provided by the Minister.

Ms Finnegan said the Irish industry had “demonstrated its resilience and a commitment to the highest standards of health-and-safety protocols” during its recent recovery and was responding to high global demand for content.