The Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) has launched a new five-year strategic development plan outlining its objectives and developments through 2024.
At a launch for academy members in Dublin on Wednesday night (29), Academy chief executive Áine Moriarty unveiled full details of the plan. It was commissioned last year as the Academy consulted with representatives and stakeholders within the film, TV and animation production sectors.
The annual IFTA awards for achievement in film and TV were deferred in 2019 pending delivery of the plan and will resume this year.
The full publication includes eight key objectives across the Academy’s four pillars: membership, learning programme of events, awards events, and the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium and Academy archive.
First among these objectives is the challenge of ensuring financial stability for the Academy. While the IFTA events and award ceremonies attract commercial sponsorship and partnership, it is more challenging to source year-round funding for the Academy’s overheads, according to IFTA. The Academy also relies on membership fees to help run the 12-month programme of learning events for its members, it said, adding that core funding support is required from government.
The Academy will also prioritise the delivery of two annual award ceremonies, representing Ireland North and South, and recognising excellence in Irish achievement across all disciplines and skills.
IFTA also intends to expand its 12-month programme of learning events to include mentorship programmes, talent hub sessions, and third-level partnerships to deliver a robust training and development programme for its members and the wider industry.
In line with the Irish film industry’s expected growth over the coming five years, IFTA plans to more than double its membership in this time, from 1,240 members to more than 3,000 industry professionals. This will be achieved through the introduction of a tiered membership system and expansion of student membership across sectors including animation and gaming to ensure the Academy welcomes professionals working across the full spectrum of the industry.
Other priorities include growing the John Ford Ireland Symposium into a global event, increasing public engagement, and increasing the Academy and the Irish Industry’s presence on the international stage.
“As Ireland’s screen industry embarks on an ambitious new phase of growth, it is more vital than ever that professionals from all industry craft and disciplines (North and South) have a neutral, all-inclusive hub at the heart of the industry and community – a space that can drive their creative and professional development and collaboration, that champions them on a national and international stage, and that allows for their creative excellence to be recognised and rewarded by their peers,” said Moriarty.
The publication of the plan follows the recent appointment of Gar O’Brian, former programme director at the Galway Film Fleadh, to the newly created role of head of film and television.