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Despite deep cuts in public spending and profound economic woes, the Irish government is standing firm behind the Section 481 tax break that underpins the country’s film and TV production business.

Section 481 is guaranteed until at least 2015. It’s worth up to 28% of Irish spending for films and TV shows, up to a maximum budget of €50 million ($72 million).

Qualifying expenditure includes all EU personnel, plus goods and services purchased within Ireland. The rebate is paid on day one of shooting, so doesn’t need bank discounting.

Foreign producers must work with an Irish co-producer to access the cash. Recent projects to access the coin include TV series “Camelot” and the Sean Penn movie “This Must Be the Place.”

The Irish Film Board also runs a Creative Co-Production Fund for projects originating outside Ireland, with a creative Irish co-producer. Fund is 2.4 million in 2011, and the average award for a single project is $430,000.

Recent pics to tap the fund include Steven Soderburgh’s “Haywire” and the Glenn Close starrer “Albert Nobbs.”

The IFB also offers free location support, in tandem with the Film Dublin Partnership and the Network of Regional Film Offices. It secured key locations for “Haywire” and ITV drama “Primeval.”

STUDIOS & FACILITIES UPDATE
Ardmore Studios: Ardmore Studios in county Wicklow, south of Dublin, has long been the country’s main facility. The largest of its five stages is 15,000 sq. ft.

Ballyhenry Studios: The state-of-the-art Ballyhenry Studios is about to open its doors nearby, with three stages, the largest of which is 30,000 sq. ft.

More Footage: Stage capacity in Dublin has been improved recently by the availability of warehouse units for production close to Dublin airport. Animation studios include Brown Bag Films and Cartoon Saloon.

RESOURCE & CREW DEPTH
With 6,000 people working in the Irish film and TV industry, the production sector handled record levels of activity last year without signs of strain. Key Irish co-producers include World 2000, Octagon Films, Parallel Films, Element Films, Treasure Films and Samson Films.

POST & VFX
Dublin’s two main post houses are Screen Scene and Windmill Lane Creative Post production. Windmill Lane recently opened a digital vfx facility, which is working on “Haywire” and “Lockout.”

FILM COMMISSION CONTACTS
Irish Film Board
Naoise Barry, film commissioner
+353 91 561 398
Email: naoise.barry@irishfilmboard.ie

THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Section 481 is worth up to 28% for TV and films, and pays out on day one of shooting.