EMPLOYEE numbers at one of Ireland's best-known TV and movie production firms, Octagon Films, have risen to 850 as a result of new series of 'The Borgias' and 'Vikings', currently in production.
Abridged accounts lodged by the Co Wicklow Octagon Films Ltd with the Companies Office show that it recorded a profit in the 12 months to the end of September last, with accumulated losses falling from €150,885 to €37,638.
Separate accounts show that a firm connected to Octagon Films Ltd, Tiber Productions Ltd, had shareholder funds totalling €2.5m at the end of March last year.
In an interview yesterday, Octagon co-founder James Flynn said: "The TV production side of the business is going very well. On the film production, we have scaled down and are becoming more selective in what we do by pursuing prestige, passion projects."
Speaking from Budapest where the third series of Showtime's ' The Borgias' starring Jeremy Irons, is being directed by Neil Jordan, Mr Flynn explained that Octagon Films "is the R&D or oil exploration part of our business" and isn't representative of the production business's revenues, where special purpose firms are established for each project.
He declined to provide revenues and profits of the overall business. However, he said that around 1,000 people are employed across Octagon Films productions for this year.
Mr Flynn said that filming of the third series of the award-winning drama, 'Love Hate' has been completed "and we are hopeful that a fourth series will be commissioned".
He confirmed that the writer of 'Love Hate', Stuart Carolan, has been employed to write a movie script for the acclaimed Paul Murray novel, 'Skippy Dies'.
Mr Flynn said that 250 people are employed on the new series of 'The Borgias', with 300 employed on 'Vikings' currently being shot in Co Wicklow, starring Gabriel Byrne.
A further 300 are employed on other productions.
Mr Flynn said that the budget for the third series of The Borgias is $44m for 10 one-hour episodes.
Mr Flynn said that Octagon is to commence a new movie, 'Calvary' starring Brendan Gleeson on September 24 in Dublin and Sligo, with 'The Guard' director John Michael McDonagh.
And a historical drama series entitled 'The Herods' is currently in development.
Mr Flynn said that the current Irish-based tax incentives for films and TV have been extended to 2015.
He described this as ''very positive. However, there is a need to extend beyond that to 2020 as high end TV series are running for four and five series on average."