Countries sign agreement at Galway fest

Galway– In a landmark deal for the two countries, Ireland and Luxembourg have inked their first co-production treaty, which was signed at the Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday.

Ireland minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking regions) Jimmy Deeihan and his Luxembourg counterpart minister for communications and media Francois Biltgen were present at the fest where they inked the deal in front of a string of guests at Galway’s Radisson Hotel.

Treaty aims to increase production between the two countries, enabling both to benefit from joint access to the government’s incentives and subsidies in addition to accessing local markets and the opportunity to pool industry resources.

“Co-production is of vital importance to the financing of the majority of Irish films and television production in Ireland as well to the overall growth of the industry,” said Deenihan at the signing. “For a country the size of Ireland there is no better way in which to raise international investment for projects of scale and it is fundamental to the way the industry is structured. Ireland is a small territory and it is impossible to finance in this market alone. Luxembourg has proved to be a very supportive partner to Ireland and we look forward to working together on many Irish and Luxembourg films.”

Bitigen added: “Sixteen years of bilateral collaboration and friendship have been the runway for signing this treaty which will hopefully bring a long-lasting partnership between our two countries.”

Deenihan also read out a letter of support for the treaty from Irish thesp Gabriel Byrne.

Recent Luxembourg co-productions include Ian Power’s “The Runway,” produced by Fastnet Films, which was released in cinemas last month in Ireland and Brendan Muldowney’s “Love Eternal,” skedded to lense in August.

News comes as Irish thesp-helmer Brendan Gleeson is currently in the throes of developing feature pic “At-Swim-Two-Birds,” an Irish-Luxembourg co-production from Ireland’s Parallel Films and Luxembourg-based producer Jani Thiltes.

Pic, which is currently at the financing stage and already has backing from the Irish Film Board, toplines a raft of Irish thesps including Byrne, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Glesson’s son Domhnall.

Story is based on the 1939 tome by Irish author Flann O’Brien, tells the tale of a young boy who ends up coming across characters that he has created for a play in the real-life world.

Gleeson optioned the rights to the tome nearly seven years ago and new funding from Luxembourg has brought the long-gestating pic closer to fruition.

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