Ireland is gearing up to become a major competitor in the international film industry with an investment of nearly $250 million in screen initiatives over the next 10 years as part of the Ireland 2040 Project. 

The Irish film industry has reached unparalleled heights in recent years, hosting major projects such as the Star Wars franchise, producing Oscar-worthy animation from Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon, and young, dynamic talents like Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson. 

In order to make sure that it continues to blossom and compete on the world stage, the Irish government has pledged to invest $247.2 million (€200 million) into media, screen, and audiovisual arts over the next 10 years. 

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The news was announced as part of a government report published earlier this week, entitled “Investing in Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027." It is one component of Ireland's far-seeing Ireland 2040 Project, a €116bn plan to re-imagine Ireland and to prepare for a future society which will have an extra one million people with 660,000 more people at work.

James Hickey, chief executive of the Irish Film Board, which will be re-named Screen Ireland to reflect its widening scope, said it marks “a doubling of growth over the next five-10 years, in line with the rapid development of drama screen content production internationally." 

“The Irish film, television and animation industry is experiencing a period of sustained success and critical acclaim," said chair Annie Doona.

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"The industry’s current flourishing is the result of the [Irish Film Board’s] years of investment in Irish creative filmmaking talent, made possible through consistent government backing as well as Section 481 [Ireland’s 32% tax credit], which plays a crucial role in attracting inward production to Ireland.”

Doona said the new commitment would also permit Screen Ireland to build upon Ireland’s “international reputation as a center of excellence for media production ...With the possibility of more international co-production opportunities, we will seek to develop and produce more large-scale feature co-productions as well as supporting Irish films." 

H/T Irish Times, Variety

Star Wars has been one of the biggest budget projects filmed in Ireland in recent years. Disney/Lucasfilm