Irish Film Board

Irish Film Board
Founded 1980-87, 1993-present
Type Film Funding
Focus Film and television funding
Area served
Key people
Dr Annie Doona (Acting Chair)

The Irish Film Board (IFB - Bord Scannán na hÉireann) is Ireland’s national film agency and major film funding body. It provides funds for the development and production of Irish film, television drama, documentary and animation.

The Board originally ran from 1980 to 1987. During this period it produced Eat the Peach, Anne Devlin and Angel. After its closure, the success of several externally funded Irish films, such as My Left Foot, The Crying Game and The Commitments motivated local lobbyists to push for its re-establishment, which occurred in 1993.


The current Board was reconstituted under the Chairmanship of Lelia Doolan in 1993 by the then Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins who said “The whole reasoning behind my decision to develop the industry by means of a two-pronged approach — namely, the reactivation of the Irish Film Board and my proposals in relation to independent television production contained in the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Bill, 1993 — is precisely to exploit the technical facilities available in Ireland at present and the imaginative and creative skills which exist in that industry which have been underemployed”[1]

International recognition for Irish films and talent

The Board from 1993 to 2004 supported an indigenous industry which produced over 100 feature films many of which gained much success both critically and commercially. Irish film talent was recognized internationally and industry collaboration of Irish producers, writers and directors was well underway producing such work as Ailsa (1993), I Went Down (1997), About Adam (1999), Disco Pigs (2000), Bloody Sunday (2002), Intermission (2003), The Magdalene Sisters (2003), Omagh (2004), Man About Dog (2004), Adam & Paul (2004), Breakfast on Pluto (2005), The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) Once (2007), Garage (2007), The Secret of Kells (2009), His & Hers (2009) The Guard (2011), Albert Nobbs (2012), What Richard Did (2012), The Stag (2014), Calvary (2014), Song of the Sea (2014), The Lobster (2015), Brooklyn (2015), Room (2015) and other nationally and internationally acclaimed films.

Notable Irish box office successes for Irish film include Intermission which grossed over €2 million at Irish box office in 2003, Man About Dog which in 2004 grossed over €2.5 million at the Irish box office, The Guard which grossed over €18 million at the international box office and Brooklyn which has earned over €2 million at the Irish box office and €11 million at the US box office as of December 2015.

IFB-funded productions to have featured at major international awards include Six Shooter (Best Live Action Short Film, Academy Awards 2006), The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival 2006), Once (Best Original Song, Academy Awards 2008), The Secret of Kells (nominated for Best Animated Feature, Academy Awards 2010), Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (Exceptional Merit in documentary Filmmaking, Emmy Awards 2013), Song of the Sea (nominated for Best Animated Feature, Academy Awards 2015), The Lobster (Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2015) and Room (People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival 2015) amongst many others.

International production

From 1994–2004 there were high levels of international film production choosing Ireland as a location for filming as a result of the Irish tax incentive for film and television Section 35, which became Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidated Act, in 1999. Ireland was innovative in introducing a film production tax incentive making Ireland more competitive for film production than its international competitors. As a result of the high levels of incoming production into Ireland, the craft and skills base of Irish crews improved exponentially, and was then also available to work on Irish films. Major international films shot in Ireland during this period include Braveheart (1997), and Reign of Fire.

In recent years Ireland has become the base for a number of high-end international TV dramas including The Tudors (2007-2010), Ripper Street (2012 – present), Vikings (2013 – present) and Penny Dreadful (2014 – present).

Board members

The current Board were appointed in 2013. The seven member board consists of the actress Kate O’Toole, the daughter of Peter O’Toole, documentary filmmaker Maurice Sweeney, Dr Annie Doona, the President of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) where the National Film School is located, Jam Media chief executive John Rice, cinematographer Seamus Deasy and producer Katie Holly the managing director of Bl!nder (sic) Films. The Board was chaired by veteran RTÉ broadcaster and public relation executive Bill O'Herlihy from 2013 until his sudden death in May 2015, after which Dr Annie Doona took the position of Acting Chair.


The Irish Film Board is under the aegis of Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The annual budget for the IFB is decided by Dáil Éireann and had a total capital budget of €14.03 million in 2015. The IFB provides funding for the development, production and distribution of Irish feature films, documentaries and short films.

Selected Filmography

See also


External links

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