Tuesday 4 March 2008

Look East Not West

The Irish Independent reports on a recent interview with Simon Perry, the chief executive officer of the Irish Film Board, in Film Ireland. Perry noted what he felt would benefit the Irish film industry:

"I hope Ireland can gain confidence -- confidence is the key word -- by feeling that if our European neighbours can make films that have a clear identity and have something new to say, and break new ground, then Ireland can join them." He said the dependence on the UK for distribution is also a problem.

"There is this wicked set-up in Ireland, the colonial relationship with the UK, which is abysmal, it is appalling and has kept Irish distribution poor for many years.

"One of the nicest things that happened recently was the emergence of Element, an Irish-owned and managed distribution company."

Mr Perry said we could follow the lead of Austria and make films in our own right.

"Austria is a good example for the Irish. It has the same sense of living in the shadow of a bigger country and having a strange colonial relationship in terms of distributors."

He said producers have a responsibility to steer Irish cinema the right way.

"I felt some producers were leading Irish cinema in the wrong direction, in other words trying to go head to head with Hollywood.

"Producers need to make as close a connection as possible to partners in Europe."

Perry said that the international success of the low-budget film Once -- which won the Oscar for Best Original Songwith Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's song Falling Slowly at the Oscars last week -- was a sign we are coming into our own. He also praised such films as Adam and Paul and Garage, by director Lenny Abrahamson.

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