For full Irish production listings, click HERE
Adam And Paul, Man About Dog, Freeze Frame, Timbuktu, The Halo Effect, Cowboys And Angels, Headrush, Dead Meat, Bite, Starfish, Inside I'm Dancing, The Honeymooners, Jonjo Mickybo. It's a long list, a veritable catalogue of recently made Irish films, some of them just completed and premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF), others in the final stages of post production.
That the total budget for these 13 feature films is about Euros 18m, giving each an average budget of about Euros 1.39m, is a clear indication of how the Irish indigenous production landscape has changed in recent years. However, take out the clear exception in the list, Damien O'Donnell's Inside I'm Dancing budgeted at Euros 5m, and you have 12 feature films being brought in for Euros 13m.
But this still isn't the complete picture. The actual cash available to bankroll the production of these twelve films is probably little over Euros 7.5m, if the prevalent high ratio of deferred fees and service costs is allowed against the Euros 13 m total.
The cash comes, in most cases, from the Irish Film Board (IFB) through the low budget initiative it launched in July 2002. It is augmented by smaller amounts from local broadcasters and the Blockbuster-owned Irish home entertainment outlet XtraVision. Generally the Section 481 tax break has not been availed of by low budget films - it gives a marginal net benefit due to transaction costs and because their cash spend is so low.
For most of the producers, directors and writers who have availed of this funding process it has been a decision in which making the film for the money available with little financial reward, but with the attainment of valuable production credits and experience, was balanced against the likelihood that the film would never be fully financed and therefore never made.
This compromise is hotly debated. On a film-by-film basis it makes perfect sense, particularly for first-time producers, directors and writers without known actors attached to their projects. Provided the films are contemporary stories.
The counter argument is that you can't run or develop individual businesses or an industry founded on this level of production. That it limits the kinds of stories and the manner of their realisation. And that it is exploitative of technicians who, in the absence of fully paid work, may have to work on low budget films for less than their usual rates of pay.
Some of the pros and cons of low budget film-making got an airing at a crowded event during the recent JDIFF. Appropriately enough the session was entitled "Help! I need some funding!"