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Irish Film Board

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Irish Film Board

Irish Film Board
Founded 1980-87, 1993-present
Type Film Funding
Focus Film and television funding
Area served
Key people
Bill O'Herlihy (Chair)

The Irish Film Board (IFB - Bord Scannán na hÉireann) is Ireland’s national film agency and major film funding body. It provides funds for the development and production of Irish film, television drama, documentary and animation.

The Board originally ran from 1980 to 1987. During this period it produced Eat the Peach, Anne Devlin and Angel. After its closure, the success of several externally funded Irish films, such as My Left Foot, The Crying Game and The Commitments motivated local lobbyists to push for its re-establishment, which occurred in 1993.


The current Board was reconstituted under the Chairmanship of Lelia Doolan in 1993 by the then Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins who said “The whole reasoning behind my decision to develop the industry by means of a two-pronged approach — namely, the reactivation of the Irish Film Board and my proposals in relation to independent television production contained in the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill, 1993 — is precisely to exploit the technical facilities available in Ireland at present and the imaginative and creative skills which exist in that industry which have been underemployed”[1] Between 2009-2013 the Irish Film Board provided funding for over 30 different productions. [2]

International recognition for Irish films and talent

The Board from 1993 to 2004 supported an indigenous industry which produced over 100 feature films many of which gained much success both critically and commercially. Irish film talent was recognized internationally and industry collaboration of Irish producers, writers and directors was well underway producing such work as Ailsa (1993), I Went Down (1997), About Adam (1999), Disco Pigs (2000), Intermission (2003), The Magdalene Sisters (2003), Omagh (2004), Man About Dog (2004) and other nationally and internationally acclaimed films.

During this period the Irish film Intermission grossed over €2 million at Irish box office in 2003 and in 2004 Man About Dog grossed over €2.5 million at Irish box office.

International production

From 1994–2004 there were high levels of international film production choosing Ireland as a location for filming as a result of the Irish tax incentive for film and television Section 35, which became Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidated Act, in 1999. Ireland was innovative in introducing a film production tax incentive making Ireland more competitive for film production than its international competitors. As a result of the high levels of incoming production into Ireland, the craft and skills base of Irish crews improved exponentially, and was then also available to work on Irish films. Major international films shot in Ireland during this period include Braveheart (1997), and Reign of Fire .

Board members

In January 2005 the Board rotated to the following membership James Morris (Chair), Alan Gilsenan, Tristan Orpen Lynch, Margaret MacCarthy Macintyre, Lesley Mc Kimm, Kevin Moriarty and Kirsten Sheridan. In 2009 the board member changed again with Alan Gilsenan and Margaret MacCarthy Macintyre stepping down and new board members Barry Grace and Johnny Gogan appointed. The board is in place until 2012. 2013 : The seven member board consists of the actress Kate O’Toole, the daughter of Peter O’Toole, documentary filmmaker Maurice Sweeney, Dr Annie Doona, the President of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) where the National Film School is located, Jam Media chief executive John Rice, cinematographer Seamus Deasy and producer Katie Holly the managing director of B!linder (sic) Films. The Board will be chaired by Veteran RTÉ broadcaster and public relations executive Bill O'Herlihy when the job is confirmed by the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht .


The Irish Film Board is under the aegis of Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. The annual budget for the IFB is decided by Dáil Éireann and had a total capital budget of €20.4 million in 2009. The IFB provides funding for the development, production and distribution of Irish feature films, documentaries and short films.

The Secret of Kells, produced by Cartoon Saloon, won the Audience Award at both the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Annecy Film Festival.


The Irish Film Channel (Bealach Scannán na hÉireann in Irish) is a proposed free-to-air public television channel to launch in Ireland in 2009. It was formally announced by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, on 15 May 2008.[3] The concept for the channel came from Bord Scannán na hÉireann. The envisaged channel would air Irish, European and International cinema, with a strong emphasis on Irish productions. It has been proposed that channel will initially air three films per day on the channel on a regular basis seven days a week. The channel will air commercials under changes to the Broadcasting Bill 2008 but they will not be during the films.[4] The addition of the new television channel falls in line with the launch of the national free-to-air digital terrestrial and satellite service, Saorview, launched in 2011.

The new film channel is just one of several proposed channels, originally set to launch in 2009, including the Houses of the Oireachtas Channel. However budgetary restraints have delayed its introduction, perhaps permanently.

The Irish Film Board was recommended for abolition by the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes in 2009.[5]


See also


  1. ^ Minister for Arts, Culture and Gaeltacht, Michael D. Higgins, Dáil Éireann - Volume 429 - 29 April 1993
  2. ^
  3. ^ Minister Ryan welcomes new Irish Film ChannelDepartment of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources -
  4. ^
  5. ^ Statement From IFB Regarding An Bord Snip Nua ReportIrish Film & Television Network -

External links

  • Official Website
  • Irish Film Board Twitter
  • Official Government Website
  • Irish Filmboard at IMDb
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