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Film and TV productions backed by the Irish Film Board spent about E100 million ($132 million) in Ireland during 2006, almost three times the 2005 level of $46 million.

This level of production expenditure is expected to be sustained into 2007, with several international film and TV projects already booked to spend approximately $40 million in Ireland early next year.

These include new seasons of Showtime’s “The Tudors,” the BBC series “Murphy’s Law” and an ITV movie of Dickens’ “The Old Curiosity Shop.”

In 2006, the single biggest expenditure in Ireland came from the first season of “The Tudors.”

But IFB execs point out the dramatic rise in production was not driven by one big project, as has happened in the past with Hollywood blockbusters such as “King Arthur,” but by a broader proliferation of small and midsized films and TV series, many using Irish directors, writers and actors.

These included Lenny Abrahamson’s “Garage,” Paddy Breathnach’s “Shrooms,” animated pic “Ugly Duckling and Me!” and John Carney’s Sundance entry “Once.”

The Irish Film Board invested just over $13 million to generate the $132 million of production expenditure.

“2006 has been a very productive year for the Irish film and TV industry,” said arts minister John Donoghue. “There is a wide range of new and innovative Irish films that will be screening at international festivals and released in cinemas next year.”

Ireland also celebrated some prestigious international victories in 2006, with Ken Loach’s “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes and Martin McDonagh’s “Six Shooter” taking the Oscar for live-action short.