Ireland is garnering a reputation as the go-to place for making films and TV shows. We look at 15 Irish film and TV businesses that see the bigger picture.

The Irish film, TV and animation sector in Ireland is estimated to be worth over €692m comprising 11,960 jobs by way of direct, indirect and induced employment across the economy, according to Screen Ireland.

According to Variety magazine: “Ireland has become a capital of filmmaking” in recent years, establishing itself as “one of the world’s most attractive production environments” thanks to an attractive tax incentive, Section 481, and the plethora of talented writers, directors, producers, casts and crew that Ireland has to offer.

Over the years, Irish creative filmmaking talent has been recognised on the international stage; most recently coming to fruition when John Crowley’s Brooklyn and Lenny Abrahamson’s Room received a combined total of seven Academy Award nominations in 2016.

They follow in the footsteps of internationally acclaimed directors such as Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan.

Over the years Irish film has won almost every major international award such as Academy Awards (Best Song for Once, Best Short Film for Six Shooter (2006) and Stutterer (2016) and Best Actress for Brie Larson, Room), the Palme d’Or (The Wind that Shakes the Barley) and the Jury Prize (The Lobster) at Cannes; alongside a host of other awards that includes Golden Globes, Emmys and BAFTAs.

In recent weeks ThinkBusiness reported how €3.2m in funding was awarded across 26 production companies responsible for more than 100 feature films and 65 TV series between them.

Successful projects to emerge from previous slate funding schemes include the Academy Award nominated Song of the Sea produced by Cartoon Saloon and The Favourite, produced by Element Pictures, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2018.

To get a sense of the talent involved, here are 16 such production companies making stand-out film and TV today.

Bl!nder Films

Founded in 2006 Bl!nder Films’ work include One Hundred Mornings, (Special Jury Award at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival) and Sensation, written and directed by Tom Hall starring Domhnall Gleeson. It has also produced TV shows that include the award-winning The Savage Eye. Company principals are producer and director Kieron J Walsh and managing director Katie Holly.

Cowtown Pictures

Alan Maher and John Wallace’s Cowtown Pictures is behind films that include Song of Granite, Ireland’s official entry for the foreign language category of the 2018 Academy Awards, Forever Pure and Rialto. It also produces documentaries such as Songs For While I Am Away about Thin Lizzy’s legendary frontman Phil Lynott and The 8th, about the vote to repeal the 8th amendment in Ireland.

Deadpan Pictures

Deadpan Pictures is an award-winning production company specialising in TV and feature film comedy drama. Building on the success of the International Emmy-winning Moone Boy, Deadpan’s most recent TV productions include Dead Still, a dark comedy set in Victorian era Ireland and starring Michael Smiley, Kerr Logan and Eileen O’Higgins and The South Westerlies another TV-hour six part comedy drama starring Orla Brady, Eileen Walsh, Steve Wall and Patrick Bergin. Recent film productions include Four Kids and It (2020), a family adventure feature film starring Academy Award-winner Michael Caine; and The Last Right (2019), from writer/director Aoife Crehan, starring Michiel Huisman and Niamh Algar.

Element Pictures

Element Pictures is an Irish film and television drama production company, independent film distribution company and cinema. Element Pictures has produced or co-produced and distributed more than 30 films. as well as a number of television shows. Run by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe and with offices in Dublin, Belfast and London, award-winning titles include The Favourite and The Nest while popular TV shows include Normal People based on the acclaimed novel by Sally Rooney and directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald.

Fantastic Films

Focusing on genre and niche films Fantastic Films is an Oscar-winning business based in Dublin. Films include Nails directed by Dennis Bartok, Muse directed by Jaume Balaguero and the SXSW hit I Am Not A Serial Killer directed by Billy O’Brien, to name a few. Recent productions include Vivarium, the new sci-fi thriller from director Lorcan Finnegan, Sea Fever directed by Neasa Hardiman and Arracht directed by Tom Sullivan.

Ripple World Pictures

Founded by Jacqueline Kerrin and Dominic Wright, Ripple World Pictures develops and produces its own film and TV projects and also acts as co-producer and executive producer on films and TV coming to the UK and Ireland. Recent films include western Never Grow Old and drama Zoo while TV programmes include Wisting and Super Fit Seniors.

Samson Films

Samson Films is one of Ireland’s leading feature film production companies. In addition to developing its own film and TV drama material, Samson also acts as a co-producer and executive producer on a wide range of Irish, European and International feature film projects. Recent films include Wildfire, Rose Plays Julie, The Castle and End of Sentence.

ShinAwil

ShinAwiL is one of the largest and most successful independent production companies in Ireland. In 2009 ShinAwiL Ltd. opened its first UK office and 2012 saw its first BBC NI commission, Undercover NI. ShinAwiL is the production powerhouse behind some of Ireland’s biggest entertainment series’ including The Apprentice, Dragons’ Den, MasterChef Ireland and most recently The Voice of Ireland. has also created original formats. It also works on scripted productions including Miss Scarlet and The Duke andThe Cured.

Subotica

Subotica is one of Ireland’s leading film and TV production companies working with writers, directors and co-producers in the development and production of content for cinema and television. The company operates globally and has worked in co-production with numerous countries, financiers and sales agents. Notable films include Song For A Raggy Boy, Sonja the White Swan, Across the Waters and Gold.

Tailored Films

Tailored Films is a creative film, TV and digital production company. Founded by producers Ruth Treacy and Julianne Forde in 2006, the company’s vision is to be renowned for creating edgy, story-driven, film and TV content that engages audiences, and secures worldwide distribution. It also produces story-driven digital content for clients throughout Ireland. Films include The Lodgers, Stitches and The Winter Lake and TV programmes include Ace My Space, Mini Moguls and Spooky Stakeout.

Treasure Entertainment

Treasure Entertainment is one of Ireland’s leading independent production companies, with a proven record in producing commercially and critically successful films and television for Irish and international audiences. Notable film credits include John Butler feature films Papi Chulo, Handsome Devil and The Stag, Paddy Breathnach’s Oscar-shortlisted Viva, and BAFTA nominated Good Vibrations.

Underground Films

Underground Films led by Lyndsay Cambell and Rachel Lysaght creates and produce high-end drama and documentary feature films for the international theatrical and television markets. Films include 11th Hour, Dreams of a Life and Herstory – Ireland’s Epic Women.

Venom Films

Venom Films is a multi-award-winning production company based in Dublin, working across drama, documentary and TV. Established in 2006 by producer Andrew Freedman and director Ken Wardrop, Venom’s films have been highly acclaimed internationally such as, the European Film Award-winning Undressing My Mother and the Sundance winning His & Hers. As well as previous titles screening at other major film festivals, including Cannes, Berlinale and Toronto. The company has also successfully co-produced many films including Michael Madsen’s The Visit and Kieran Evans’ BAFTA-winning Kelly + Victor. Katie, a documentary about boxer Katie Taylor, directed by Ross Whitaker, went into the top 10 documentaries on Netflix.

Vico Films

Established in 2004 by Peter Foott, Cormac Fox and Michael Doherty, Vico Films works with financiers, broadcasters and content providers including BBC, Screen Ireland, Netflix and RTÉ. Vico Films’ productions have screened at more than 100 international festivals, winning more than 30 awards. Successes include The Young Offenders, which was the Irish box-office sensation of 2016 grossing almost €1.3m at the Irish box office and went on to receive eight IFTA award nominations. Other projects include Animals and Cold Courage, an international crime thriller series set in London based on the best-selling Nordic novels by Pekka Hiltunen and directed by Agneta Fagerström Olsson.

Wild Atlantic Pictures

Wild Atlantic Pictures is a team of creative producers and top-level production personnel committed to creating and servicing original high-end content for global audiences. Projects in post-production include The Green Knight directed by David Lowery and starting Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton, and Fate: The Winx Saga, a TV series produced for Netflix. Currently in production is the TV series Foundation, which is produced with Skydance and Apple. Current releases include Gretel and Hansel for MGM Orion, Battle at Big Rock: Jurassic World for Universal Studios, and Nighflyers, based on the George RR Martin book for Syfy/Netflix.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 15 July, 2020

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