Film-makers to invest (pounds) 106m, says de Valera

Category: Reign of Fire News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: February 28, 2001 | Publication: The Irish Times | Author: EITHNE DONNELLAN
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LOS ANGELES - Over (pounds) 106 million is to be invested in the Irish economy by film-makers who signed up to shoot all or part of their movies in the Republic during the past year. The investment, at almost double that of 1999, means that 2000 was one of the most successful years for the Irish film industry, the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Ms de Valera, said yesterday.

She was speaking in Los Angeles during a trip to meet executives of eight top film-making companies, including MGM, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Sony and Disney, to entice them to use Ireland as a film location.

The Minister highlighted for production companies the attractiveness of Ireland as a film location, particularly its Section 481 tax incentive scheme. Ms de Valera pointed out that many of our young population were experts in information technology. She also reminded her audience that Ireland is the only English-speaking country in the new euro currency zone.

"What we have to offer our partners in the US is a strong European base with a young, creative and highly qualified workforce, and locations for many types of storyline," she said. Ms de Valera said her Department had approved 31 projects under Section 481 last year, which would bring (pounds) 106.5 million in spending into the State, compared with (pounds) 55 million the previous year.

However, total US investment in the Irish film industry over the past 3 1/2 years has been more than (pounds) 277 million through the operation of the Section 481 scheme, she said. One of the big movies approved under the tax relief scheme last year was Reign of Fire, an action adventure movie, the filming which has just started in Co Wicklow. It will be the biggest budget film yet made here.

Mr Roger Greene, chief executive of the Screen Commission of Ireland, said Ms de Valera's visit to film companies was a valuable exercise. "The level of people that we are seeing are presidents and vice-presidents of the studios. Without the Minister we would not get in at that level."

Mr Jeffrey Coleman, senior vice-president of Feature Production at MGM, said after meeting the Minister that some great movies had been shot in Ireland and he would definitely consider it as a film location in the future.

Copyright 2001 The Irish Times