SCREEN WEXFORD WELCOMES GREEN LIGHT FOR TARA FILM STUDIOS
In a recent announcement, Wexford County Council has green-lit the planning permission for the construction of Tara Studios – a proposed 250,000 square feet, state-of-the-art film studio at Borleigh Manor, just north of Gorey. The new facility will include seven sound stages along with supporting buildings on the 160 acre site - a significant new contribution to the Irish film industry.
Screen Wexford, the county’s film and television agency, has welcomed the announcement, describing the new studios as a major step forward for the county and also nationally. Linda Curtin, Screen Wexford's Film & Television Co-ordinator, sees this as “a key vote of confidence for Wexford and its up-and-coming film industry, both for jobs directly in the sector and also for ancillary employment and tourism. Screen Wexford is delighted to welcome Tara Studios and looks forward to working closely with their management team to help attract film and television production to the county, and to develop and support local talent and enterprise with local jobs in the support and construction industries.”
Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, the global film and television industry has experienced substantial growth in the last number of years. Screen Wexford sees that the region can continue to benefit from this trend through the expansion of infrastructure and facilities. It is anticipated that Wexford's new film studios could help generate in the region of 350 jobs on incoming productions and a further 30 jobs at Tara Studios itself, plus additional local employment for technical and craft workers.
The team behind Tara Studios is headed up by John Gleeson and Ivan Dunleavy. Gleeson hails from North Wexford and is recognised as one of Ireland's most established advisors on film finance and an expert on the Irish Film and Television Tax Credit, Section 481; with a past list of media clients that include Amazon, Apple, Disney, Netflix, Sony and Universal Pictures. Ivan Dunleavy, whose parents were originally from Wexford, is the former chief executive of Pinewood Studios, the UK's iconic "dream factory" and home to the James Bond franchise among many others. Dunleavy has also been an executive producer on film productions and involved in post-production in the area of ground breaking visual effects.
Screen Wexford is proud to announce successful applicants for the New Short Filmmakers Fund in Drama, Documentary and Animation.The fund is an initiative of Wexford County Council’s Arts Office in conjunction wit Bodecii Film and is run by Screen Wexford, the county’s agency for promoting Film & TV production and training.
From a highly competitive slate of submissions, three Wexford based teams have been selected to receive €2,500 production finance; equipment support from lighting company Teach Solas to the value of €1,500; and a professional mentor to support the filmmakers throughout the production process.
The three projects to make it through to final selection are:
• HALTED by Robert Tyrell and Joanne Heffernan – a documentary about the everyday lives of women from the Travelling Community in Wexford.
• SAMSARA by Unity, a collaboration between artists Mirona Mara and Jonathan Murphy who plan to make an animated short about the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth.
• SONNY, MAMMY AND PATCH THE DOG by Sinead O’Quigley, Richard Deering and Adam Hart is a dark comedy about how life can be put back together after a bereavement.
Speaking about the three successful teams and their upcoming films, Screen Wexford’s co-ordinator Linda Curtin said that “although the benchmark for choosing projects was the potential to make a great short film, we also wanted to represent a diversity of subject matter, culture and ethnicity.” According to Curtin, the selection panel which also included playwright-actor Michael Cristofer and writer-director Conor Morissey was excited by the quality of projects selected, but overall it had been a tough process given the surprisingly high standard of submissions. She added that “we hope to repeat this process in future given the level of talent and creativity in the county.”
NEW VOICES SHORT FILM AWARDS ANNOUNCED
SCREEN WEXFORD APPOINTS NEW FILM & TV COORDINATOR
Wexford County Council’s Screen Industries initiative, Screen Wexford, has announced the appointment of a new Film and TV Coordinator, Linda Curtin, who will oversee the implementation of a Screen Sector Strategic Plan for the region. This initiative is part of a drive for the development of film, TV and animation in County Wexford. The aim is to attract more international and indigenous film and TV productions to the region, and to nurture homegrown talent.
Curtin is an award-winning filmmaker who has been working in the industry for ten years in varying capacities from festival marketing to hands-on film production in the fields of documentary and art film. Her work has been broadcast on TV and exhibited in galleries and festivals worldwide. She facilitates workshops in creative filmmaking, while making collaborative works funded in conjunction with bodies such as CREATE and the Arts Council of Ireland. She has been involved in film programming and currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Cork Film Centre and First Cut Film Festival.
“Screen Wexford is perfectly placed to promote the many unique advantages to shooting here,” Curtin states, “but equally important is to help grow our local grassroots film and TV industry. The arts and media sectors are hugely vibrant in the county, with tremendous potential for growth. From a film locations perspective, the county has enormous untapped potential from our unique Norman and Viking architecture to our sprawling coastline. I’m very excited to get stuck in. We have big plans.”
The Screen Wexford Steering Group, which includes Liz Burns (Arts Officer), Liz Hore (Head Of Enterprise/Wexford LEO) and Laura Way (Bodecii Film), have been engaged with the screen sector, government agencies, training bodies and guilds, including Screen Ireland, Screen Skills Ireland, WWETB, Creative Ireland & SDGI, to develop an ambitious vision for County Wexford in the thriving Irish film, television and animation industry.
“We are excited to have Linda in her new role at Screen Wexford, especially as this is a crucial time for Film and TV production and development in Ireland. Currently there are thirteen large scale productions filming in the country, with a demand for trained crew. With Linda as Film and TV Coordinator, Screen Wexford will be focused on the development of filmmaking infrastructure, regional skills development and nurturing of local talent, and also attracting foreign and international productions to the county.”