- 17 Jan 19
During their program launch for 2019, Screen Ireland outlined the key highlights of the 2018 year, with co-funded projects Black 47 and The Favourite leading the way.
There's never been a better time for film in Ireland. Though we still have a way to go to compete with the likes of the US and the UK (with regards to Drama in particular), Irish feature films have been seeing increased popularity and box office figures.
Lance Daly's Black 47' is undoubtedly one of the biggest successes for Irish film in years, let alone 2018. Named as one of the predominant successes of Screen Ireland's 2018 program, the film marked the first time the famine era has been represented on screen and grossed over €1.8 million at the all-Ireland box-office, becoming the biggest Irish film of the year. It grossed €279,803 during its opening weekend a milestone that hasn't been passed since John Michael McDonagh's The Guard in 2011.
The Favourite is another film that has everyone talking and is paving the way of Irish co-productions. Currently, it is leading the way with BAFTA nominations with lead Olivia Coleman up for Best Actress and 11 other category nods. Additionally, it won two Critics Choice awards including Best Ensemble Cast, and Best Actress in a Comedy for Olivia Coleman.
The animation sector is another aspect of Ireland's film industry which has seen increased growth during 2018. With a total of 26 animation studios operating in Ireland currently, animated series Kiva Can Do has sold to an impressive 140 territories worldwide, while Angela's Christmas has become a favorite on Netflix.
Screen Ireland also expressed their commitment to continued development funding and initiatives such as their inaugural POV scheme, New Writing Grant, and Cine4 program.
However, one aspect which panelists Neasa Hardiman, Lee Cronin and Ed Guiney agreed could do with increased attention was sustainable career paths and development for both new and established talent.
"You make one feature film and it's hard", Lee Cronin, director of upcoming horror film A Hole In the Ground, said. "But making the next is even harder. You still really need the wind at your back".
"It's about career development and a career path," BAFTA-winning director Neasa Hardiman said, speaking to Hot Press after the event. "I have a friend who's a very good director trying to get work in London and they looked at her CV and said 'why are you doing documentary and drama? That's too broad'. They don't understand the scarcity of opportunity that existed (and still exists in Ireland). She had to do documentary and drama to live! So that's about infrastructure, it's about having a sufficiency of opportunities for people, particularly at that stage where people have made a few steps and need more chances. What is afforded in other countries is a sufficiency of moderately scaled productions. It allows writers and directors to cut their teeth. They can use these opportunities to develop their skills and then move onto higher level material".