Main image: David Lowrey, director, on set of “T
Ireland is a backdrop for some of the biggest productions in the industry such as Normal People, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Enchanted, and Game of Thrones. This is partially due to the fact that there are incentives for production operations such as financially beneficial tax offerings, lower production costs, experienced crews and a growing amount of first-class studio space.
To dive into the Ireland production scene, we talked to David Brody and Steven Davenport.
PH: What can you share about the film and media scene in Ireland?
David Brody (DB): Ireland is a hub for shoots, production and post-production activity. With a population of just over five million, Ireland has been disproportionately represented at the Academy, Emmys and other award ceremonies. In addition to facilities such as Ardmore Ashford and Troy Studios, Ireland has a number of exciting new studio infrastructure projects in the pipeline. The Greystones Media Campus in County Wicklow is being built on a 40-acre site as a €150 million state-of-the-art film and TV center with 14 sound stages, offices and production buildings.
PH: What has Ireland got to offer LA film makers?
DB: Studio space is in high demand as the number of content creators in the market continues to grow. For LA film makers, Ireland offers lower production costs, experienced crews and a growing supply of first-class studio facilities. Ireland’s educated and skilled workforce has also helped to establish globally renowned post-production and animation industries in which LA film makers can easily scale creative teams.
Steven Davenport (SD): Filmmaking has a long tradition in Ireland. We were one of the first countries in the world to offer a rebate for TV drama and that led to major TV series like The Tudors, Vikings and Badlands all being shot here. As a result, an extraordinary level of talent and experience has flourished in the indigenous sector, both in front of and behind the camera. There are Irish directors working all over the world on some top dramas, like Dearbhla Walsh who has directed episodes of Fargo and the Netflix Marvel series The Punisher, and Anthony Byrne, who has directed Peaky Blinders. We also have Irish directors working on big projects in Ireland, such as Vikings and its spin-off series Vikings: Valhalla, both filmed in the same location, in Wicklow, Ireland. LA film makers don’t need to bring industry talent with them, it’s already in Ireland.
Jared Harris in “Foundation”, now streaming on Apple TV+ and filmed in Ireland’s Troy Studios
PH: What type of movies typically get made in Ireland?
SD: It’s hugely varied, everything from TV drama to feature films to animation are regularly made in Ireland. The indigenous industry is thriving. Brand new Irish drama Kin has been selected by a number of international streaming services, following on the heels of four-time Emmy nominated Normal People, which was another indigenous Irish project. Then there’s the Hollywood blockbusters like Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, which was shot in Ireland in late 2020 and is due for release shortly.
PH: What particular advantages do you offer LA and US film makers?
DB: In Ireland, filmmakers can avail of a 32% rebate on qualified spending. Added to this, Ireland’s vibrant academic ecosystem provides US studios with access to novel technologies to drive audience engagement. ADAPT Research Centre, based at Trinity College Dublin offers access to research expertise across new forms of proactive, scalable, and integrated machine learning and AI-Driven Digital Content Technology. The training resources offered in Ireland also bolster talent pools to ensure a reliable supply of skilled workers in new technology areas such as AR/VR and AI.
The government-funded Screen Skills Ireland offers a range of training classes for domestic and foreign workers in the areas of film, television, animation, games and visual effects, ensuring we have a ready supply of visual effects and animation professionals, in addition to those in the traditional areas of editing and sound. For example, South Africa-based Triggerfish, the animation operation behind some popular Netflix productions, established its first international studio located in Galway, Ireland in 2020.*
SD: VFX is a strong growth area. We’ve seen an increase in companies coming to Ireland for their VFX post-production. We offer the whole package here in Ireland. The time difference between Ireland and the US is also particularly advantageous – eight hours to LA and five hours to New York. It means that you can wake up to the first half of the day’s rushes from what’s been shot in Ireland already in your inbox.
DB: Under the EU’s revised Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), catalogs must contain 30% European content, aimed at ensuring investment in Europe’s production resources. Post Brexit, as content creators seek to be regulated by an EU member state, Ireland’s stable and transparent regulatory environment and similarity to the UK system makes it an appealing alternative.
PH: How can US film makers avail of the resources that Ireland has to offer?
SD: US filmmakers need to have an Irish co-producer to access rebates. We can offer scouting support. If a filmmaker has an idea for a project, we’re very happy to talk to them, explain all the benefits including what the project would look like in Ireland. We can create a lookbook, give them ideas about possible locations and how they would fit their script or their project.
PH: How can US film makers get in touch?
If you are interested in Irish opportunities for filming or post production work please contact Steven.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
To get in touch with IDA email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
LA-based Steven Davenport is head of US Production & Partnerships with Screen Ireland, where he is responsible for assisting international producers and studios to locate production in Ireland and the promotion of Irish talent internationally.
David Brody | LinkedIn is Vice President of Technology, Consumer & Business Services at IDA Ireland’s Southern California office. In this role, he works with US film and media organizations to let them know how Ireland can be a resource to them.