THIS country's film industry lost out on a €70m production of 'Dracula' because we couldn't afford to match up-front cash paid by the Northern Ireland Film Board, according to Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.
Javier Bardem is to star in the latest movie version of Bram Stoker's classic horror character, with filming set to start in the coming weeks. But Ireland missed out on the blockbuster investment because of a lack of incentive cash.
Speaking at a national conference in Kilkenny, held by the Young Irish Film Makers organisation, Mr Deenihan said Ireland still has attractive incentives such as the Section 481 tax break, which was recently extended to 2020.
"The only thing I would say is that the UK have very good incentives as well. Recently, 'Dracula', for example, probably would have come here but the Northern Ireland Film Board were able to put money upfront to entice them to come into Northern Ireland, which was a bit of a loss really for many of you young people because it would have meant an investment of about €70m and we need, really, to get a few major blockbusters back into Ireland if we can." In an interview after his speech, Mr Deenihan said, "apparently we couldn't compete" with the Northern Ireland film board.
"They got money upfront and the (Irish) Film Board just didn't have that money." The minister revealed that multi-Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg recently spoke to him about his interest in making films in Ireland, but for the lack of large-scale studio space.
"He's very exercised about doing something major in Ireland but he was saying about the studio space here, you would get that in England but we don't have the space of the magnitude that he would need to do some of his major ones here in Ireland.
"That's what he mentioned as being one of the disadvantages