The Republic of Ireland has joined the Council of Europe’s Eurimages initiative, opening the way for English-language pix to benefit from Eurimages funding.

Eurimages provides coin to support film and documentary co-production and distribution, with one of the key criteria for obtaining funds being that the pic has to be shot in a language of a Eurimages member.

Britain won’t join project

Britain has so far refused to join the project, which meant that prior to the Irish decision, English-lingo pix were not eligible for grants.

“We have been reluctant to finance British directors who go to European producers and then hope to get Eurimages backing,” Eurimages topper Ryclef Rienstra said at Mipcom.

Now Irish producers will be in a position to suggest co-production partnerships with British counterparts, knowing that they have the possibility of up to 5 million French francs ($ 1 million) in Eurimages funding per film.

Eurimages limits itself to a maximum 20% investment per film and has so far backed about 150 pix, including “Toto le Hero” and Lars Von Trier’s “Europa.”

Good investment

As a new member of the Eurimages initiative, Ireland pays a fee of 1.2 million francs ($ 240,000).

“Eurimages only has to invest in one film and the Irish will have probably recovered their stake,” said Rienstra.

With film production in Ireland down to just two pix this year– from five in 1991–the Eurimages coin will come as a welcome boost to the Irish producers.

In addition, the Irish government is now studying two reports on how to increase government backing for Irish production.

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