Irish Film Board escapes ax

Irish tax incentive for film and television also retained

LONDON -- The Irish Film Board (Bord Scannan na hEireann), Ireland's national film agency, will fight on through 2010 despite finding itself under threat of closure earlier this year (HR 7/22).

The agency breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after securing €19.3 million ($28.5 million) for 2010 from the Irish government.

The cashpool reps a 5% drop from 2009 levels but in the wake of a recommendation this summer by the Irish government's finance department to close it down, any reprieve is welcome.

Shortly after the bombshell dropped, a detailed report was commissioned into the strategic importance of the Irish film and television sector.

It worked, showcasing the positive economic impact of Ireland's content production industries. It also showed the IFB as being central to those activities.

IFB chairman James Morris said: "The support of the Government for Bord Scannan na hEireann/the Irish Film Board is a strong endorsement of the economic value of the film and television production sector to the emerging digital economy."

The 2010 budget from Irish government coffers for the IFB ensures that the agency's core work -- to support the development and production of indigenous film -- be sustained at 2009 levels.

And there was more good news. Section 481, the Irish tax incentive for film and television, is also retained until the end of 2012.

A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey valued Ireland's audiovisual content industry at over half a billion euros per annum and found that it now offers permanent employment to over 6,000 individuals.