The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA), officially unveils its Five-Year Strategic Development Plan 2020-2024.
At an official Academy Member’s launch event last night, hosted by the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, actor and board member Liam Cunningham along with Academy Chief Executive Áine Moriarty, officially unveiled IFTA’s Five-year Strategic Development Plan 2020-2024.
The 5 Year Strategic development Plan – what it says
The Plan clearly outlines IFTA’s core vision, ambition and development plan for the Academy over the next five years; as an all-Ireland not for profit organisation and central Hub for the Irish filmmaking community; delivering its mission to encourage, reward and inspire professional excellence through a diverse year-round Programme of Learning events; mentoring, masterclasses, tributes, discussions, as well as delivering the annual Irish Academy awards.
IFTA was founded in 2003, and over the past 16 years has already delivered over c 450 learning events, 18 awards ceremonies, paid tribute and honoured 23 Irish industry Veterans with the Lifetime Achievement Awards, and has presented 694 Irish Academy Award statuettes to industry professionals, including Rising Star awards throughout the years to young talents such as Saoirse Ronan, Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Greene, John Michael McDonagh, Jamie Dornan among others.
In 2018 the Irish Government announced its intention to grow the Irish film industry and turn Ireland into a Centre of Excellence; doubling employment to 24,000 jobs and investing in the creative and cultural infrastructures that will, in turn, generate 1.4billion for the Irish economy.
In 2019, The Irish Academy welcomed this and knew the time was also right to reflect and take stock of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for the Academy in helping to grow the industry and to undertake a new strategic plan. This 5-year strategic development plan, as outlined to Government, delivers an important blueprint for the Academy's next five years. It follows extensive consultation with key representatives and stakeholders within the film, television, and animation production sector.
The 5-Year Plan attached includes 8 key objectives across the Academy’s Four Pillars (1)The Members; 2)Learning Programme of events; 3)Awards events; and 4) the John Ford Ireland – Film Symposium & the Academy Archive.
First among these objectives is the challenge of ensuring financial stability for the Academy. While the IFTA events and award ceremonies attract commercial sponsorship and partnership, it is more challenging for IFTA to source commercial funding for the Academy’s overhead/annual costs (infrastructure, staffing, office rental, equipment, and technology, etc.). The Academy also relies on Membership fees to help run the 12-month programme of learning events for its members.
Core Funding support is required strategically from Government via the Department of Culture, Heritage & The Gaeltacht and Department of Communications (from state agencies, public- service broadcasters, Government funding agencies, etc.).
This is in keeping with best practice across Europe where European Film Academies are supported by their respective governments and state agencies, across their entire range of Academy activities, across their infrastructure and learning programmes and their Award ceremonies.
The Academy will expand its 12-month Programme of Learning events to include Mentorship programmes, Talent hub sessions, 3rd level partnerships, and more, to deliver a robust training and development programme for its members and the wider industry.
In line with Government’s expected growth for the industry over the coming five years, IFTA plans to open its membership to increase from 1,240 Members to 3,000+ industry professionals. This will be achieved through the introduction of a tiered membership system and expansion of student membership and across sectors such as animation & gaming; and will ensure that professionals working across the full spectrum of the industry (North & South) are welcomed into the Academy.
With the right funding support in place, the Academy will prioritise the delivery of two high-caliber Award Ceremonies annually, representing Ireland North and South, and recognising excellence in Irish achievement, in front of and behind the camera. These awards will be delivered in line with best international practice. The Academy wishes to undertake Awards this year in 2020 with plans being put in place for a Ceremony end of May and details to be announced separately.
Other priorities include growing the John Ford Ireland Symposium into a truly global event; increasing public engagement, increasing the Academy and the Irish Industry’s presence on the international stage, and a long-term priority of securing a building for the Academy for members and the wider industry to come together.