The Irish film, television and animation industry is on course for a record year generating €168 million worth of activity.
The figure is an 18 per cent increase on last year and represents the total spend on film, television drama, animation and feature-length documentaries. It does not include the money broadcasters spend on news, entertainment, lifestyle and documentaries to be shown on television.
The industry remain buoyed by heavy investment from overseas production which was worth €81 million this year. In 2011 the same sector was worth €28 million.
Ripper Street and Vikings were among the big productions. In addition, Penny Dreadful, the gothic horror series written and produced by James Bond writer John Logan, generated €33 million investment in Ireland.
Speaking this morning at an event which provides an overview of 2013 while looking ahead to 2014, Irish Film Board chief executive James Hickey said the success of the industry was creating a virtuous circle.
Irish production companies were getting more experience and, as a result, more overseas productions were coming to the country.
He said indigenous Irish film production was as “strong as ever and growing stronger” despite the recessionary environment. “It is a tremendous credit to Irish creativity that we have been able to deliver on it.”
He said: “The availability of strong Irish talent across all aspects of the production cycle as well as growing numbers of experienced Irish production companies are just two of the factors that are driving this upward trend and helping to build Ireland’s reputation in the global industry.”
Speaking at the launch of the 2014 schedule, the IFB deputy chief executive Teresa McGrane said they will be launching a consultation document in the new year on training within the industry.
She said it will amount of a “pan-industry conversation” in relation to training in film, gaming and animation and amounts to a “very big piece of work for us in 2014”.
Some 2,000 people a year avail of training through Screen Training Ireland which is now run by the film board.
Among the movies slated for filming this year include include Glassland starring Jack Reynor (Transformers, What Richard Did) and Toni Collette and directed by Gerard Barrett (Pilgrim Hill), and an adaptation of Colm Toibin's Brooklyn starring Domhnall Gleeson (Sensation) and Saoirse Ronan.
Strangerland, the first feature written by Irish screenwriter Michael Kinirons, is to be set in Australia and star Nicole Kidman.
The IFB supported 12 Irish feature films this year, some of which will be released in 2014, including The Stag starring Andrew Scott, Hugh O'Conor and Amy Huberman in March, The Last Days on Mars directed by Ruairi Robinson, Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson in April, and Lenny Abrahamson's Frank starring Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender in May.
Both Calvary and Frank are due to be screened at the Sundance film festival next month, the most important film festival for independent productions.
Mr Hickey said the funding arm of the IFB invested €7.5 million in projects which were worth €59.5 million in terms of revenue activity.
He said the film board was looking at distribution for Irish films and how best to ensure that Irish audiences see as many locally-made films as possible.