Brexit could threaten the Irish film industry warns IFB boss: ”Anything that prevents free trade or free movement is a problem’

David Kearns

The spectre of Brexit is threatening to derail much of the hard work that has seen the Irish film industry enjoy its most successful 12 months ever, industry experts have said.

The warning came from the Irish Film Board (IFB), which said it has concerns over any changes to the common travel area and the co-production treaties between the UK and EU.

“Anything that prevents free trade or free movement is a problem for us,” said IFB chairperson designate Annie Doona.

“Like everyone else, we’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen yet, but anything that makes us less competitive is going to be a problem.”

Recent successful Irish films have profited greatly from being co-productions with the UK, the IFB said.

Director John Crowley’s smash hit Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan, both a Bafta and an Ifta for best British and Irish film respectively.

Speaking at the launch of the IFB’s five-year strategy plan following what it called an “unprecedented year of critical and commercial success”, CEO James Hickey said the UK vote to leave the EU had created “potential complications” for Irish producers eager to work with British partners.

“Our co-production treaty with the UK involves the Council of Europe – it’s the Euro- pean convention on cinematographic co-production. The document is the basis for our work with the UK,” he said.

“It’s incredibly important that if this goes, the Irish Government works on establishing a new treaty similar to what we have with Canada and Australia.

“When it comes to negotiating the deal between Europe and the UK, we want what we have now, the free movement of goods and people.”

Irish films have taken €125m at the global box office during 2015 and this year so far, and the IFB is calling on the Government to increase its funding to at least €20m.

“Look at what we’ve done with limited funding,” said Ms Doona. “We want to seize the day, so we’re urging the Government to invest so we can realise the full potential of Ireland’s film sector.”


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