Now whatever happened to The Hobbit being filmed here?

Mary Hanafin, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport today extended the Irish tax incentive for film and television Section 481 until December 2015. Section 481 allows Ireland to offer 26% – 28% net benefit to film producers on film and television productions, up from the previous 20%. Amendments made in 2008 increased the overall ceiling on qualifying expenditure from €35m to €50m per individual project. The individual investor cap was increased to €50,000 per annum and the relief on that investment was increased to 100% from 80%.  

Minister Hanafin said that “the changes introduced in 2008 were significant and gave the Irish audiovisual sector a major boost in challenging times. In 2010, a total of 57 projects were approved for funding with an Irish spend of some €165m.  These 57 projects supported employment for crew, cast and extras of over 10,000 individuals and had the effect of maintaining and creating jobs in a very difficult economic climate, while at the same time producing a product that will help to sell Ireland abroad.”

Minister Hanafin went on to say “it was imperative that we afford this industry a long term growth perspective and build on the successes to date. In a week in which Irish movies are performing to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and during which the short film The Crush has been nominated for an Oscar, this is a vote of confidence in our film practitioners and in the sector as a whole. Irish movie makers are top class – both behind and in front of the cameras, and the honours they have received over the years are a testament to this. This sector is truly one of our enduring success stories and Government investment and support is repaid many times over”

Significant projects in 2010 were “Camelot”, a TV Series by the same people who made “The Tudors”, “This Must Be The Place” starring Oscar winning actors Sean Penn and Frances McDormand, Steven Soderberg’s “Haywire” and “Albert Nobbs”, starring Glenn Close, in production in Dublin and Wicklow. Recent Irish success include feature film ‘The Guard’ starring Brendan Gleeson and Irish documentary “Knuckle” both of which are screening at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

Responding to the news James Morris, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) Chairman said “The extension of the current tax incentive for film and television to 2015 comes at a crucial time, ensuring stability and certainty to the Irish film and television sector. At a time when there has been much international uncertainty about Ireland’s economic climate, this guarantee will reassure our international production partners that Ireland remains firmly open for business. We already have a significant number of film and television projects in the pipeline and this news will help to secure these productions for Ireland.”
He went on to say “2010 was a record year for Irish film, television and animation production, with Irish expenditure levels in excess of €200m, spent on Irish jobs, goods and services.  This was achieved by recent improvements to the tax incentive Section 481, continued Government support of the Irish Film Board, and the impressive entrepreneurialism and creativity of the Irish filmmaking community. The extension to Section 481 will allow the industry to continue to boost the Irish economy, throughout 2011, creating jobs and expenditure on local goods and services.”