Return to Live Action Film & Television Production Planning Update
New Industry Initiatives Announced Focusing on Actors and Mentorship
Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland’s key priority is to support a safe return to production for Irish film and television drama in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. The agency is proactively planning for recovery and has been working with a broad range of industry stakeholders and Government, to help facilitate an industry-wide collaborative approach for the return of live action film and television production. Screen Ireland has also been working closely with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to ensure that production activity is allowed to recommence as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, and to crucially help retain the industry’s talented creative workforce.
The Irish Government report ‘Economic Considerations for Reinstating Economic Activity’, published on 15th May, sets out that the earliest that live film production might recommence would be Phase 3 (29th June) of the Government’s five stage plan, subject to approval. However, there are a wide number of challenging key practical issues that must be addressed including insurance, health and safety protocols and travel restrictions, prior to production activity going ahead, as is the case with production activity around the world.
The Screen Ireland Covid-19 Sub-Committee has been working together with industry stakeholders. Initial meetings have included Animation Ireland, Screen Producers Ireland, Visual Effects Association Ireland, Commercials Producers Ireland, Screen Guilds of Ireland, SIPTU and Equity to address key issues and further support measures required. Screen Producers Ireland is currenting drafting guidance health and safety production protocols in consultation with key industry stakeholders to help define best practices, noting that each production will have their own specific requirements. The Covid-19 Sub-Committee aims to respond to the ongoing needs of the industry as they arise during the pandemic with upcoming meetings focusing on key policy recommendations, local and international production, distribution and exhibition.
Throughout the crisis, Screen Ireland has introduced a wide range of key support measures for the Irish screen industries, to ensure that the industry will emerge in a strong position to return to production activity as soon as it is safe to do so. The agency is also pleased to announce details of a new ‘The Actor as Creator’ initiative to showcase Irish acting talent in partnership with Bow Street, with the support of Equity. The ‘Actor as Creator’ is a new initiative designed to create a diverse range of work from unique creative voices within the Irish screen acting community.
The scheme is designed to promote and invest in Irish screen acting talent, during a time when social distancing measures are affecting traditional production activity. This talent development and promotion initiative will showcase the unique creative voices of 30 actors to create a short filmic work that expresses their creative vision. The scheme is open to experienced screen actors and successful recipients will originate, perform and produce the short filmic work.
Screen Skills Ireland, the skills development unit within Screen Ireland, is also launching a new structured mentoring scheme, Screen Mentoring. Over 100 Irish and international industry professionals from the film, TV, animation, VFX and Immersive Technology sectors have signed up to be mentors for the scheme to give something back to the industry by sharing their knowledge and experience. This scheme, will support 50 mentees to avail of mentor support throughout 2020. Mentors will include Lenny Abrahamson (Normal People), Cathal Gaffney (Brown Bag Films), Ed Guiney (Element Pictures), Lisa Mulcahy (Years and Years), Grainne Humphreys (DIFF) and Tom Conroy (Vikings).
Screen Skills Ireland will also be extending free online training courses until the end of July. Screen Skills has delivered over 29 courses online for free to over 490 screen sector professionals over the last seven weeks. The ‘Screen Talks’ webinar series has had 12 guests so far with 1,063 live attendees in total for the 12 Screen Talks. The webinars are also recorded and uploaded to the Screen Skills Ireland Screen Talks Vimeo channel.
Speaking earlier today, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan welcomed the announcement and said: “I want to thank Screen Ireland for the leadership that they have provided in the midst of this crisis and acknowledge its prompt action in introducing early supports, particularly those geared to aiding production companies and creative talent in developing a strong slate of quality projects. I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate Element Pictures on the runaway success of ‘Normal People’ which was one of the first projects supported by Screen Ireland’s TV Drama Production funding scheme launched in 2019 and is a testament to the creativity and potential within the sector. I look forward to continued engagement with the sector to ensure production resumes in line with the public health guidance.”