(The Rhythm Section image: Blake Lively/Instagram)
An attractive incentive programme has sharpened focus on the need for further investment in facilities.
Ireland is a growing European production hub with sought-after filming locations and studio facilities, and generous filming incentives. Film and TV productions tend to shoot in its capital Dublin, which frequently doubles for London and offers easy access to Ardmore Studios and Ashford Studios. Production is also expanding westward with the recent opening of Troy Studios in Limerick, which has hosted Netflix’s Nightflyers, based on a sci-fi novella by George RR Martin.
Siun Ni Raghallaigh, CEO of Ardmore Studios and Troy Studios, called for the urgent need for more facilities in Ireland in April. “What’s here now is full,” she said in early April. “And there’s nothing going to come on stream in six months’ time. We’re talking a minimum of 18 months to two years before there’s more capacity. Ireland was, and still is [missing out]. For the industry in general, there are still projects that we turn away.”
Regional authorities are also looking to boost crew resources in the west with the $2.4m (¤2m) Western Region Audiovisual Producers’ Fund that has been launched by Galway Film Centre and the Western Development Commission. One of the long-term goals is to enable international productions to crew their shoots locally rather than having to fly in personnel from overseas.
Ireland has also hosted multiple seasons of the History Channel’s Vikings, which uses Ashford Studios as a production base.
The country has had a major profile boost in the last couple of years from Walt Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise. The Force Awakens filmed scenes off Ireland’s south-west coast and follow-up The Last Jedi returned to shoot scenes in multiple locations along the Wild Atlantic Way. Eon Productions and Global Road’s spy thriller The Rhythm Section, starring Blake Lively and Jude Law, filmed scenes in Dublin at the end of last year.
(Additional reporting by Esther McCarthy)
Section 481 is a 32% tax credit applicable to all locally incurred production costs including post work and visual effects. A 5% regional uplift was added in October 2018. The tax credit applies to feature films, TV dramas (singles or series), animations and creative documentaries, as long as projects pass a cultural test. Productions must spend at least $154,000 (€125,000) in Ireland and the total cost of production must exceed $309,000 (€250,000).
Full details of financial incentives in Ireland: Irish Film Board
Infrastructure and crews
Ireland has an experienced crew base and the country is investing in ongoing training programmes to sustain its international appeal. Local production support is available from a series of regional film offices. Ashford Studios is 40 minutes from central Dublin and offers three sound stages, the largest of which is 30,000 square feet. The facility also has access to expansive scenic backlots including lakes, beaches and mountains. Ardmore Studios is also close to central Dublin and has five sound stages, the largest spanning just over 23,000 square feet. Producers have access to similarly scenic backlots as at Ashford. Troy Studios is a recent addition to western Ireland’s production infrastructure and has three separate sound stages in Limerick spanning a collective 70,000 square feet, with a fourth planned for 2019. Telegael Studios in County Galway has two smaller sound stages with an overall floor space of 24,000 square feet.
Ireland is a relatively small country and is well connected internally by both air and land.
First place to call
The Irish Film Board
Tel: +353 91 561 398