At the end of January, 2018, Limerick City and County council announced that they were going to fund two short films in Limerick County to the tune of €8,000 each, through a competitive call out.  According to their website ‘Limerick City and County Council are pleased to announce the new Limerick Film Bursaries scheme with its first round in 2018. In the light of the development of Troy Studios, Limerick Film Bursaries aim to support professional Limerick-based film makers, established and emerging in all genres, to foster and support the development of original film production’. With the promise of more support coming down the line, these bursaries are a welcome sight for many independent filmmakers based in Limerick who are struggling to find work.

This is also not the first time that Limerick City and County Council has dabbled in the film industry, they invested €60,000 in 2014, as the first city of culture in Ireland, for the development of the independent film sector in the county, through bursaries, marketing and training.  Many lessons were learned, both good and bad, from the now defunct Film Limerick project. The City and County council also owns Troy Studios, costing over €600,000, which is based beside the University of Limerick and the Innovate Limerick run Film in Limerick – Production Resource Project, which provides services for big budget productions in the county. It has taken over four years of lobbying by locally based filmmakers, through the Film Strand of the Limerick Arts and Culture Exchange, to regain this kind of investment.  These new bursaries are for local Independent filmmakers based in Limerick only; this is to develop the local industry, which is a unique entry into the bursary landscape in Ireland.

As any filmmaker will know that while big studios are great for big business the local industry can suffer as a result.  Most big budget television and film production companies will bring their own film technical staff, such as directors, editors, etc and while there can be a knock on effect in auxiliary jobs there is little to support the local industry.  There has to be a change in attitude towards local technical crew or else there will be no one to fill the expected jobs these many studios in Ireland are going to provide.

With the recent loss of Filmbase in Dublin schemes like this are going to become vital for the survival of the local independent filmmaker and should be supported. Most of our most successful filmmakers, like Lenny Abrahamson, Gerard Barrett, Terry McMahon, to name but a few, all have made their start through these kind of investments.  Lenny Abrahamson only stated recently that, in Ireland, we were not nurturing our own talent, that in order to succeed you have to leave and he felt it was such a waste.  He also added about television production here, “[there is] also a very, very questionable and very consistent denigration of local talent – particularly in terms of directors – in favour of mediocre people coming in from abroad.  It’s that kind of lack of confidence which always makes us think that if [someone is] from Britain or wherever, they must be better’.  These statements could also be applied to film in Ireland.  Considering our huge successes over the years in Hollywood and Irish short films winning Oscars, why is this still even a debate!

Hopefully these bursaries will be just the first of many and will give some local hotshot their first chance to produce their own film on their terms.  We should be nurturing local talent and stop looking outside of Ireland for crew.

For further details:  https://www.limerick.ie/council/services/community-and-leisure/arts/limerick-short-film-bursaries-2018

Limerick City and County Arts Office email: artsoffice@limerick.ie   Phone: +353 61 557363

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