IFI expansion to include 3rd cinema screen

The Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin announces a major cinema expansion and redevelopment

The Irish Film Institute today announced a major redevelopment of its landmark Old Quaker Meeting House premises on Eustace Street in Temple Bar. Plans have been unveiled to create a third cinema in addition to the existing two cinema screens, a major overhaul of the existing public areas, and significant development of the IFI’s Irish Film Archive allowing better access to the archive’s collection for the IFI’s audience, film researchers and students.

Speaking of the redevelopment Sarah Glennie, Director of the IFI, said: ‘This cinema expansion and redevelopment marks an exciting point in the IFI’s history. Since opening in 1992 the IFI has brought the best of film culture to audiences in Ireland and this development will allow to us to broaden the scope and depth of our programme as well as introducing new audiences to the IFI’s Irish Film Archive which is one of Ireland’s most important cultural resources.’

This sixty-seat Cinema 3 will have a luxurious boutique atmosphere. Like the two existing IFI cinemas, the new cinema will be fully equipped with the latest digital projection technology and will also be equipped to screen films in 16mm and a range of other formats, allowing better access to material from the Irish Film Archive and emerging Irish filmmakers. The extra capacity will allow the IFI to significantly broaden its cinema programme, allowing for longer and more flexible runs of successful films, and add to the IFI’s unique programme of special events, seasons, festivals and courses.

The public areas of the IFI will be renovated and modernised with brand new washroom facilities, film shop, and improved box office and information provision. The interiors of the hugely popular IFI Bar and Restaurant will be modernised whilst retaining its key appeal of quality and value in a relaxed setting.

The construction and renovation works will help strengthen Film and Cinema’s important role in the Irish economy. In 2006 there were 17.85m cinema admissions nationwide and a gross box office of €114.81m.  Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) and PWC carried out a survey in 2008 which reveals that the Irish audio visual sector is valued at over €557.3 million, employs over 6,000 individuals and represents 0.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The IFI redevelopment will directly provide work for 45 in the construction sector.

The IFI’s redevelopment will take place primarily during the daytime, meaning that audiences will be able to continue catching up with film culture at evenings and weekends throughout the redevelopment period.

More on the IFI – The Story So Far
The National Film Institute of Ireland was officially incorporated on June 2nd 1945. Its origins go back to a 1936 papal Encyclical, Vigilanti Cura, and the desire expressed by Pope Pius XI that the medium of cinema be put to the services of human morality.

Guided by these principles, the founders of the Institute, under the patronage of Dr Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, established an organisation that would spend the next three decades producing, distributing and exhibiting educational films in both the Irish and English languages to schools and other groups. Its eclectic output included the production in 1945 of A Nation Once Again, marking the centenary of the death of Thomas Davis, and the filming of GAA finals from 1948 onwards.

By the 1980s, the moral impetus behind the establishment of the Institute had faded and television had taken over many of its activities. 1982 heralded a new approach to the functions and ambitions of the Institute, which now received active support from the Arts Council. With Arts Council and lottery funding, this phase of development culminated in the purchase in 1987 of the old Quaker Meeting House premises at 6 Eustace Street, which was named the Irish Film Centre.

In the interim, the Irish Film Institute, as it was now called, took over the running of the Irish Film Theatre and subsequently became involved in the acquisition of the former Curzon Cinema in Dublin’s Abbey Street and its refurbishment as an arthouse venue. The Light House cinema was run in association with the IFI until the Institute launched the Irish Film Centre in September 1992. I992 also saw the IFI establish the Irish Film Archive and Tiernan MacBride Library to preserve and make available to the public Ireland’s film heritage. At the same time, a hugely active Education department was developed to bring an informed and broad experience of cinema to young audiences throughout Ireland.

In 2001, the Institute played a central role in the establishment of Ireland’s travelling cinema or Cinemobile. More recently, the promotion of Irish film worldwide has become a priority and with the support of the national agency for the Irish arts abroad, Culture Ireland, IFI now produces high-end celebrations of the true breadth of Irish filmmaking throughout the world.