A NEW hub is to be established in Wicklow to build capacity for the film and TV sector seeking specialist crew and production workers.
Screen Ireland has announced details of three new crew hubs in Galway, Limerick and Wicklow that will seek to alleviate shortages of skilled labour in the Irish film and television industry amid record levels of production and “huge” potential for growth.
The hubs will be managed by Atlantic Academy (Danú Media) in Galway and Clermont Enterprise Hub in Wicklow, while in Limerick, the hub will be managed by the Film in Limerick project.
The crew hubs, in which €1 million in funding will been invested, will join Screen Ireland’s new National Talent Academy network. Two academies have been allocated funding of €1.2 million: the film and television drama academy, which is now open and managed by Jade Murphy at the Galway Film Centre, and an animation academy, which is due to open in January 2022 and will be managed by Deirdre Barry in Animation Ireland.
The network has been established to develop a high-skilled talent and crew base throughout the State as Irish production companies seek to participate in a global surge in screen production, and Screen Ireland aims to lure more foreign direct investment to Irish shores.
The crew hubs will operate nationally, while having a particular focus on their surrounding region. The Atlantic Academy will cover Galway, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. As well as Limerick, Film in Limerick will cover Cork, Kerry, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford, while Clermont Enterprise Hub will cover Wicklow, Dublin, Louth, Meath, Wexford, Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Longford, Laois and Offaly.
The skills push is part of Screen Ireland’s three-year strategy to help the industry sustain its current boom and expand at a time of unprecedented spending by international media giants, led by Disney and Netflix.
Several leading filmmakers have reported difficulties securing experienced crew, while the UK industry has also experienced a similar explosion in production following last year’s pandemic pause.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin welcomed the establishment of both the talent academies and crew hubs.
“The potential of this industry for our country is huge. Not only are we seeing a thriving domestic screen industry, but Ireland is becoming a major international location for film, television and animation production,” the Minister said.
“This is founded on the talent that exists within the country and we must develop this further to maximise this potential. I would encourage all those interested in developing a career in the screen industry to avail of the opportunities that these new hubs and the talent academies will offer.”
Screen Ireland chief executive Désirée Finnegan said the Irish creative screen industry was seeing “huge demand for talent across all departments” within film, television, documentary and animation.
“We are building and investing in a national network of talent academies across the country to develop the next generation of screen industry professionals from all backgrounds. Our aim is to support creative collaboration, developing the skills and opportunities to create powerful films and television series,” Ms Finnegan said.
“It is vital that we ensure Ireland has the necessary skills base to respond to the current demand and continue to grow our creative screen sector.”