#IrishFilm: Filmbase closes – The Arts Council responds

The following is a statement from the Arts Council of Ireland concerning the closure of Filmbase.

The Arts Council became aware of the financial difficulties at Filmbase last Monday, 5th March. We sought immediately a detailed account from the company on a number of matters and gave the company until Thursday 8th March at 5pm to respond. A satisfactory response was not received.

We appointed independent auditors to investigate the matter on Friday 9th March. Under the terms and conditions of Arts Council funding the organisation must comply with the auditors. Our auditors went on site on Monday 12th March.

The board of Filmbase informed us the following morning (Tuesday 13th) that it intended to go into liquidation.

On Wednesday 14th, the board informed us that the staff have been laid off and that the company had ceased trading pending liquidation.

Per the Arts Council’s published funding, Filmbase had received a commitment of €250,000 in 2017 from the Arts Council, for its work as a resource organisation offering training, information and advice, mostly to emerging film makers. The allocation for 2018 was €125,000.

Per the Arts Council, Filmbase was to produce an up-to-date set of audited accounts from Filmbase last year. When that was not provided the Arts Council placed a stop on funding for the organisation. This left Filmbase unable to draw down the final 10 percent, or €25,000, of its 2017 annual funding, and has not been able to draw down any of the €125,000 that it was offered in funding for 2018. That offer has now been withdrawn.

The Arts Council also advised that in addition, the company received €170,000 for the 2017 Reel Art scheme. Under this scheme, two artists are each awarded up to €80,000 to make a documentary film. Two artists were successful in December. The Arts Council will vigorously seek the payment of the money owed to the artists as part of the liquidation process.