Production spend in Ireland rose by 162% to €357 million ($395 million) in 2019, according to the country’s TV, film and animation agency Screen Ireland.
Inward investment projects such as Netflix’s “Nightflyers,” BBC3 and Hulu drama “Normal People,” Apple TV Plus sci-fi series “Foundation,” and feature film “The Green Knight” accounted for €261 million (€289 million) of the overall production spend, around two thirds of the total.
The animation sector in particular has seen its annual production activity rise strongly, increasing fourfold in the last 10 years, to €180 million ($199 million) in 2019. This includes upcoming animated feature “Wolfwalkers,” from the Academy Award winning studio Cartoon Saloon.
Chair of Screen Ireland Annie Doona said that Ireland’s screen production sector has more than doubled in the last decade, and that all the major streaming giants are now among production partners. “The full restoration of Screen Ireland’s annual funding and the ongoing commitment to Section 481 tax incentives are critical to this success,” Doona said.
Screen Ireland’s new chief executive Désirée Finnegan, who joined in September, said the agency plans to support Irish production companies with a particular focus on development, and that it will be investing in a fund to support slate development across feature film, animation and TV drama.
The agency also says it plans to increase funding for TV drama in 2020.
Screen Ireland invested a total of €12.7 million ($14 million) in projects in 2019, and has a slate of more than 40 productions launching on the international market this year. The agency’s capital budget for 2020 has increased by €1 million ($1.1 million) to €17.2 million ($19 million).
Feature film “Herself,” which was acquired for North America by Amazon Studios at Sundance this week, was also backed by Screen Ireland last year, as was romantic mystery drama “Miss Scarlet and the Duke.”
Apple TV Plus’ “Foundation,” which is based on Isaac Asimov’s novel series of the same name, is the largest production ever to film on location in Ireland, creating more than 500 production jobs. It is based at Limerick’s Troy Studios.
“Valhalla,” a Netflix production, is also set to film in Ashford Studios in Wicklow.
In 2019, 37% of all projects across film, TV drama, documentary, animation and shorts produced with funding from Screen Ireland had female directors attached to them and 43% of all projects funded had female writers attached.