Irish Funding Body Screen Ireland to Open L.A. Office

Credit: Screen Ireland
Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar and Screen Ireland CEO Desirée Finnegan

Formally known as the Irish Film Board and having backed the likes of 'Brooklyn' and 'Vikings,' the organization will appoint a representative in Los Angeles by 2020.

Screen Ireland — the funding body formerly known as the Irish Film Board, which has backed the likes of Brooklyn and Vikings — has revealed that it will expand its presence in L.A., appointing a representative by 2020.

The announcement came during a two-day trade mission to the U.S., led by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, during which he opened a new Irish consulate in L.A. as part of the "Global Ireland" strategy to boost Ireland's visibility and impact internationally by 2025. 

Varadkar also met with senior executives from Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros., Skydance, Hulu, Endeavor and Fox Searchlight, including Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger. 

The trade mission was attended by a number of Irish production companies, animation studios, postproduction and VFX houses, including Element Pictures (The Favourite, Normal People), Cartoon Saloon (The Breadwinner, Song of the Sea), Brown Bag (Vampirina, Doc McStuffins), Wild Atlantic Pictures (Fate: The Winx Saga), World 2000 (Vikings) all of which had a series of meetings with their Los Angeles-based production partners.

Varadkar reinforced the Irish Government’s commitment to Section 481, which has been a critical component of growth of the industry in Ireland; along with the newly introduced regional uplift incentive of 5 percent.

Ireland has had a long-standing and growing role in Hollywood productions. Disney filmed the last two installments of the Star Wars franchise on the Irish island of Skellig Michael and along the Wild Atlantic Way, from Kerry to Donegal, while Martin Scorsese's Netflix gangster epic The Irishman completed postproduction at Screen Scene in Dublin. Fox Searchlight has a first look deal with The Favourite producers and long-time Yorgos Lanthimos collaborator Element Pictures.

“Screen Ireland welcomes the government’s decision to open a consulate in Los Angeles, as part of their strategic plan for expanding Ireland’s global footprint," said Screen Ireland's newly appointed CEO Désirée Finnegan. "This reinforces the ambition for Ireland to become a global centre of excellence for the creative screen industries."