In a parallel universe featuring a cast of owls and magic transformations, a young barn owl is pushed out of his family’s nest by his older brother and then rescued by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen, multi award winning film director Jim Sheridan, and Board Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board  (IFB) Chair, James Morris today welcomed the new Irish Film and World Cinema TV Channel, which was confirmed yesterday as part of the new Broadcasting Bill.

For the first time ever Irish audiences will be provided with an opportunity to view award winning independent Irish, European and World Cinema in prime time TV slots free of any commercial charges. The Film channel will be a non commercial channel available to all Irish households on the free public service digital transmission system that will replace the existing 4 channel system by 2012.

Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen commented “This free to air public service will showcase the best of Irish European and World cinema. It is yet another important initiative in our ongoing support for the Irish film sector. This is a fine example of joined up government with our own Department working closely together with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and the Irish Film Board to bring this new and exciting service free to the public.”

The morning and afternoon schedules will be specifically programmed with films designed to complement the primary and secondary school curriculum, transition year projects and third level film studies.The channel will also build key strategic relationships with Irish film festivals, local film societies, schools, third level colleges and universities around the country. Each film will have a pre- recorded introduction by a well known Irish or International film critic, film director, actor or personality.  Each introduction will give the audience a short background and context to the film before it is shown.