Culture Ireland recently announced their latest round of grant awards, and it makes for interesting reading for those interested in the development of smaller scale arts industries in Ireland.
Culture Ireland, as the government agency entrusted to develop and promote the Irish arts abroad come under a lot of scrutiny from the country in general and the arts community in particular when it comes to a fair spread of funding across all arts sector, these sectors are broken down into theatre, music, film, visual arts, architecture and literature. Theatre and music generally take up the most amount of funding, primarily because these sectors have higher overheads – with large casts and band members, but also because these two sectors are generally more developed in Ireland. However, film is also considerably well developed in Ireland but Culture Ireland in general only funds for one representative to take the reel along with them to a film festival and that’s usually all the involvement CI have in the film industry apart from their partnership with Reel Ireland.
Yet, visual arts and literature tend to be less developed and don’t seem to receive as much support – this could be in part because CI don’t receive enough quality applicants from arts organisations or individuals within this sector but some still feel that there is a general lack of funding available to visual artists across Ireland. It is encouraging for those involved in this industry to see that CI have awarded a whopping €94,000 to the visual arts industry, albeit they awarded €240,650 to music projects, €180, 200 to theatre, €14,750 to literature and a mere €3,000 to architecture and a pathetic €2,000 to one film project, when the country is supposed to promote one of our greatest artistic exports.
However, I’ll be fair and surmise (as is suggested here) that a significant number of film applications are considered outside of grant rounds because of how close to the event many filmmakers can receive any invitation to screen their films – however – €2,000 is very low! So I guess Ross McDonnell is currently the only hope for Irish cinema abroad….have a look at a clip from his documentary Colony which will screen at Docaviv Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival in May.