- 19 Feb 20
Screen Ireland commits to diversity and inclusion at its 2020 slate launch.
Last month, Fis Eireann/Screen Ireland launched its 2020 slate of 40 film, TV and animation productions. The event featured panels and interviews highlighting not only the growing success of Ireland’s screen industries, but also the issues facing them. It also highlighted the action being taken to ensure continued progress, not just for the film and television industries, but the people whose stories they present onscreen.
Dr. Annie Doona, chair of Screen Ireland, spoke of the unprecedented growth of the sceeen industries here in the past decade, with its contribution to the economy growing from €164 million in 2010 to €357 million in 2019. “Our indigenous industry is growing,” said Doona, “and we are active participants in the global growth story, with all the major streaming giants now amongst our 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. I look forward to working with the new government to ensure that the industry is sufficiently equipped to meet our ambitious growth targets.”
Doona also stressed Screen Ireland’s commitment to improving the representation of women, people of colour, members of the travelling community and LBGTQ individuals, both on and off screen, in film. She explained that in 2019, 37% of all Screen Ireland funded projects had female directors. 43% of those projects, meanwhile, had female writers.
“We’re not there yet,” remarked Doona, “but these figures mark a solid improvement.” She also took a moment to celebrate Galway woman Eimear Noone, set to be the first woman to conduct an orchestra at the Oscars later this year, and congratulate director Clare Dunne on the rave reviews her debut feature Herself received at the Sundance festival.
Initiatives such as mentorship programmes and shadow directing opportunities were also credited with improving diversity and equal access in film. Lenny Abrahamson, who is directing the upcoming television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, revealed that he had partaken in director mentorship programmess, though he rejected host Tara Flynn’s description of him as a guru to his two mentees.
“More like a friendly dad!” Abrahamson laughed. “But it was fantastic, we managed to give them quite a bit of time in screen development, pre-production, post-production.”
Hannah Quinn, who has directed episodes of Eastenders and Fate – The Winx Saga, lauded the shadow directing programme, crediting her experience on Red Rock with giving her a boost in the industry. “You need to have broadcast television on your CV,” said Quinn. “It directly leads to other things… Broadcasters in England want to know that you can direct television, that you can command a crew, that you’ve experience with actors. So it’s really helpful.”