Film tax incentive 'must be extended'
LEADING film-makers have called on the Government to extend the tax relief currently offered to movie bosses to shoot in Ireland.
Producers Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn said they were not expecting any improvement on the tax relief, but it was vital to extend it.
Under Section 481, film production companies can claim tax benefits on a large part of their budget -- up to 28pc.
Film chiefs have emphasised the importance of agreeing a possible extension to the tax relief well in advance of its expiry date to help studios and film directors plan in advance. Most films are planned up to two years ahead of filming.
Recently, among those to benefit from Section 481 are 'This Must Be The Place', starring Sean Penn, the hit television series 'The Tudors' and 'Camelot', which is currently shooting and stars Eva Green and Joseph Fiennes.
"It is essential to have an incentive in place that attracts incoming production from the US, Britain and Canada and also part-finances indigenous films," said Mr O'Sullivan, one of the producers on 'Camelot'.
"The fact it is available for television drama is also hugely significant.
"We first developed 'Camelot' in 2006, so a lot of projects have come to fruition this year that were many years in development. Also, during a recession, there is huge appetite for visual content, particularly TV."
Section 481 is "vital" to secure the future of the multi-million euro industry, the Irish Film Board (IFB) added.
"We are in discussions with the department on Section 481," an IFB spokeswoman said. "We're looking for them to commit to extending it past the deadline for expiration at the end of 2012."
Despite the downturn, a surge in film and television production this year is expected to provide a cash injection of €200m to the economy.
"It is vital; there would be no industry without tax incentives," the spokeswoman added.
The IFB said it was well known that successful films helped "promote Ireland as a tourist destination".