Monday 21 October 2019

Hollywood, here I come! Leo Varadkar goes to Tinseltown in bid to boost Irish film and TV industry

Leo Varadkar on the set of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Leo Varadkar on the set of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Cormac McQuinn in Los Angeles

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Hollywood as part of efforts of efforts to double the size of the Irish film industry in the next five years.

Mr Varadkar will hold meetings movie and TV-streaming executives from Netflix, Hulu, Skydance and Fox Searchlight during the trade mission to boost inward investment and increase productions in Ireland.

In recent years Irish locations including Skellig Michael featured strongly in the latest installments of the massive Star Wars saga.

Meanwhile the Netflix sci-fi show Nightflyers was filmed in Limerick.

Fans dressed as Chewbacca and Darth Vader approach Skellig Michael. Picture: PA
Fans dressed as Chewbacca and Darth Vader approach Skellig Michael. Picture: PA

READ MORE: Film industry hits out at Revenue tax incentive shake-up

The audio-visual sector is worth over €1bn to the Irish economy, with the film, TV and animation sectors accounting for almost €700m of this.

There are 12,000 people working in the industry.

Screen Ireland invested almost €14m in State funding across 50 TV and film projects last year.

READ MORE: Additional 12,000 staff to enter film, TV, and animation production by 2024

The government’s goal is for employment in the sector to reach 24,000 across the country in the next five years.

Nightflyers
Nightflyers

Mr Varadkar will reinforce the Government’s commitment to growing the industry, including through the Section tax 481 break and incentives for filming in the regions.

The film and TV-related meetings take place tomorrow.

This evening, the Taoiseach will open the new Consulate General of Ireland accompanied by Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

When he was in New York Mr Varadkar met US comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon.

It came during a visit to NBC Studios, where he was meeting executives about TV production opportunities in Ireland.

Mr Varadkar is not appearing on The Tonight Show, but met Mr Fallon - who he described as an “absolute gentleman” who’s proud of his Irish heritage.

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