Feature films due to go intoproduction in early 2006 include Dragnet,written and directed by Steve Hudson, and BecomingJane directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots).

Dragnet is set to star Scottish actors Robert Carlyle and Gary Lewisand will shoot for five weeks on location in Ireland on a trawler off the coastin Co. Cork and Co. Wicklow. The film is produced by Samson Films, RosebudFilms and Makar Films with co-financing from theIrish Film Board, the German Federal Film Board, Filmstiftung NRW Scottish Screen, BBC Films, Eurimagesand Scion (UK).

Scripted by Kevin Hood andSarah Williams, Becoming Jane is thetrue story of Jane Austen's romantic relationship with a young Irishman, whichpartly inspired her to become one of the great novelists of the 19th century.The film will star Anne Hathaway in the lead role, with Maggie Smith and JulieWalters also starring. The film will shoot on location in the Dublin/Wicklowregion with a budget of approximately $15m (£12.5m). Becoming Jane will be co-produced by Octagon Films with financingfrom the Irish Film Board, the UK Film Council, Bank of Ireland and Scion (UK).

To these two films may beadded the previously announced Nicholas Roeg project, Puffball, and the spate of recentproduction in which five features are shooting and wrapping this side ofChristmas.

James Morris, Chair of theIrish Film Board, said "2006 promises to be a busy year for the Irish filmindustry. We'd like to thank Minister O'Donoghue forhis on-going support and are delighted to be in a position to be able tocontinue to finance a diverse slate of distinctive and interesting films.Throughout the last year Irish talent has been recognised at major filmfestivals all over the world and we hope to continue to develop and build uponthese successes in 2006."

John O'Donoghue,Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism announced last week an 18.5% overallincrease and a 21% capital budget increase for the Irish Film Board for 2006.

January 2006 will also seethe release of Neil Jordan's Breakfast onPluto, starring Cillian Murphy who has justreceived a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, and heavily backed bythe IFB. Breakfast on Pluto will bereleased by Pathe Entertainment which will alsorelease The Wind That Shakes the Barley,directed by Ken Loach, and also starring CillianMurphy. Two other titles backed by the IFB will also be released in Irishcinemas next year, Studs directed byPaul Mercier and starring Brendan Gleeson, and Isolation directed by Billy O'Brien and starring John Lynch andRuth Negga.