Sunday 24 June 2018

'We need ambition for the arts, and the resources to back it up' - Abrahamson

Director Lenny Abrahamson Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Director Lenny Abrahamson Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

Oscar-nominated film director Lenny Abrahamson said the country can make a mark internationally as a film and TV production centre.

The Dublin-born director of 'Room' has backed the major new plan aimed at supporting culture and the arts, Creative Ireland.

The new five-year plan is promising access for children to art, music, drama and coding, while supporting artists and investing in cultural institutions.

The plan aims to enhance the country's reputation for the arts abroad and develop a global hub for film and TV production.

Abrahamson said that the opportunity to develop this industry is huge.

"We could have an industry of a far greater size than we've got now, making work equal to the best being made anywhere," he said.

"The only thing in the way up to now has been a lack of imagination on the part of successive governments and a failure of the industry to frame a strategy as coherently as it might. Where targeted funding could have the biggest impact - where the appetite and opportunity is global - is in TV," he told the Irish Independent.

Abrahamson suggests expanding the Irish Film Board to cover TV drama and said Ireland would then be "well placed to transform the industry, nurture talent in greater numbers, and make its mark internationally".

The award-winning director of 'Adam & Paul', 'Garage', 'Frank' and the Oscar-winning 'Room' said the reputation for Irish film-making internationally is "very strong" at the moment.

"I've spent a lot of time in the US over the last year-and-a-half and people comment all the time about what they see as a burst of great work sustained over quite a few years, like there's some hard to explain creative cluster on the western edge of Europe," he said.

Abrahamson said high quality education in film and TV is in place, but that "there's no point in training people if the work isn't there when they leave education".

He said the solution is agencies working together on a long-term plan.

"There has to be ambition for the industry - and for arts and culture as a whole - from the State with resources to back it up. It's not mysterious, it just needs the will," Abrahamson said.

Irish Independent

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