West of Ireland Film and AV industries set to strengthen and grow with new WRAP investment fund commission

The West of Ireland’s rugged and atmospheric beauty have made it an ideal location for film and TV production over the decades, but a development of the WRAP investment fund - via the new Commission - will show the region has more than just scenery to offer.

WRAP is evolving from a position of funding individual productions to direct investment in film, TV, games, and animation companies based in the West of Ireland, and growing them over a longer term. It will empower producers and companies in the region through more direct support, via the newly established WRAP Screen Commission, and ensure the WRAP Region - Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Clare and Donegal - can compete with the east coast in terms of the kind of production which can be attracted here.

WRAP is a joint initiative of the Western Development Commission and Ardán, with support from local authorities from the Western Region - Clare, Donegal, Galway City and County, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo - and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Through WRAP, a sustainable ecosystem for people working in the AV industry in the West of Ireland is being created.

An expanding industry

This evolution of WRAP’s strategy is a significant step towards scaling the region’s film and AV landscape. Alongside Budget 2024’s Section 481 tax credit cap increase, Screen Ireland’s Creative Clusters Programme, and sectoral regional development strategies led by the Western AV Forum (WAVF ), this initiative aims to grow the Western Region’s competitiveness and appeal, furthering a sustainable ecosystem for people working in the AV industry in the West of Ireland.

Since WRAP’s inception in 2018, it has supported 32 projects, including TV series Obituary (shot in Donegal ), Smother and Blackshore (Clare ) and North Sea Connection (Connemara ), with 98 award nominations and 13 wins. The fund has seen upwards of €33 million (€40.2 million including non-regional cast ) spend in the region, from €2.69 million invested, a €12: €1 impact in the region.

WRAP has also supported the award-winning creative and collaborative animation studio, Studio Meala, in Boyle, and films such as Wild Mountain Thyme, with Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan (Mayo ); The Cellar, starring Elisha Cuthbert (Roscommon ); The Winter Lake, with Charlie Murphy and Emma Mackey (Sligo/Leitrim ); and Death of a Ladies’ Man, starring Gabriel Byrne (Connemara ).

Importantly for the West, this has created approximately 500+ regional crew positions and the employment of 150+ regional trainees, 75+ regional cast, and 1500+ regional extras.

Allan Mulrooney, CEO, Western Development Commission has welcomed the creation of the WRAP Screen Commission, saying, “This scaling of funding to support the whole AV ecosystem in the Western Region is very much complementary to WDC’s ongoing strategy of fostering the emerging CreaTech sector in the region. Through this clustering of investment, the Western Region is strengthening its competitive advantage of offering stunning and unique film locations complete with the necessary infrastructure that enables us to attract international interest.”

The screen industry in the West of Ireland is also undergoing a period of expansion in the number of production studios and facilities based in, and building their businesses, here. WRAP’s focus on longer-term support and development of the film, TV, games and animation industries in the WRAP Region will help create a sustainable, self-propagating AV sector in the West.

“Supporting the regionalisation of the film and TV industry is a very clear Government policy,” says Ardán CEO Alan Duggan. “WRAP investing in local producers directly addresses that policy and process of regionalisation. Ardán is determined to see more production happening in the region, borne out of producers we support in the region.”

Creating a sustainable industry in the West

WRAP can invest up to €200,000 in film, TV, games, and animation companies in the WRAP Region, with the intention to scale and grow production companies, studios, post-production facilities, and game developers, among others, through the development of their own IP, service/work-for-hire offerings, or both.

“Investing in those companies and growing them over a longer term means we can play a bigger part in growing producers and the overall sector here,” says Gar O’Brien-Collins, WRAP Executive. “We are also identifying producers of scale in the WRAP Region, and investing in producers and production companies to a point where they can internationalise, and work and pitch in the co-production market, allowing them to sustain more consistent work here.”

The WRAP Screen Commission is an important new strand to ensure more opportunities for companies and individuals committed to developing the screen industry in the West. This includes networking and mentoring opportunities in partnership with national organisations and initiatives, including the National Talent Academies and IMIRT.

The WRAP Screen Commission will also work directly with producers and production companies to provide funding opportunities for talent and location scouting, and key connections to local fixers.

Increasing the impact

WRAP has already had a significant impact on the AV industry in the West, supporting award-winning TV series Smother, Obituary, and Ireland’s Wild Islands, as well as the films Calm With Horses, Wild Mountain Thyme, My Sailor, My Love, and Death of a Ladies’ Man.

“Investment from WRAP has been invaluable to us,” says Paddy Hayes, producer with Galway-based Magamedia. “As a regional producer with a large-scale, international co-production in Obituary, having the support to shoot in the regions and showcase the wealth of crew, talent, locations, and scenery here is very important to me.”

The importance of WRAP to the West of Ireland is further underlined by producer, Martina

Niland, of Port Pictures. “Bringing top quality work to the regions can often be challenging,” she says, “so WRAP has been vital in providing investment that has allowed us to bring international projects such as Death of a Ladies’ Man, starring Gabriel Byrne, to Connemara.”

Supported by WRAP, as well as initiatives like the Creative Clusters Programme, the West of

Ireland’s screen industry is poised to make significant progress in the coming years on a local,

national and international scale. Building on a strong production legacy, these WRAP initiatives will reinforce the Western Region as a key hub for the creation of film, TV, games, and animation, delivering a significant and lasting impact both culturally and economically into the future.

For more information on the WRAP investment fund and commission email wrap@ardan.ie.

 

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