Smother 2 Seána Kerslake, Niamh Walsh and Dervla Kirwan
Irish TV Drama Production Smother

Record-breaking production figures for the Irish screen industry in 2021 published by Screen Ireland

New figures published today from Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland reveal a record-breaking spend of €500 million in the Irish economy across film, television drama, documentary and animation production in Ireland in 2021. This level of spend on jobs and local goods and services represents the highest ever achieved and is a 40% increase on the previous record set in 2019.   

The increased levels of production activity are being driven by both local and international productions. The sector is currently supporting 12,000* local jobs with major additional expansion opportunities across all parts of the industry anticipated in the coming year.  

Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland said that the success of screen production activity has come on the back of a combination of Ireland’s competitiveness in attracting international productions, Screen Ireland’s own development funding opportunities and schemes for local producers and creative talent, as well as direct support from Government that is key to driving and maintaining this success.   

Key figures published by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland today show that:  

  • In 2021, across feature film, documentary, animation and TV drama, the total production spend in the Irish economy for 2021 was €500 million – 40% higher than 2019’s previous record spend.   
  •  In 2021, local Irish film activity increased by 52% from 2019, reaching the highest year ever for the category. New feature films coming for 2022 include Nocebo, Joyride, Aisha and God’s Creatures.   
  •  Local TV drama production spend increased by 40% from 2020, showcasing the impact of increased funding and support. Since Screen Ireland’s introduction of development funding for TV drama in 2015, TV drama spend has increased by 145%.  Upcoming Screen Ireland-supported TV drama in 2022 and beyond shows no signs of abating, with new series Holding based on Graham Norton’s novel, The Dry and Redemption due to make waves with Irish and international audiences later this year.   
  •  Local Irish animation also demonstrated an increase in production in 2021 of 27% after a decade of rapid growth that culminated in a phenomenal surge in 2019, where the sector quadrupled in size. New projects recently released include animated feature film Tea for the Dead and TV Series Lady Bird Liu.  
  • International production activity grew by 45% with projects such as Disney’s Disenchanted which filmed on location in Dublin and Wicklow, hiring up to 98% Irish crew representing over 1000 jobs on the production.  
  • Throughout 2021, Screen Ireland funded film, television and animation projects picked up over 35 major international award nominations including Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA nominations.  

The Irish screen production industry is building a reputation for high quality production across the world. Our people, landscape, and creative talent are combining with a supportive economic and cultural environment to provide Ireland with a major competitive advantage that is attracting significant investment from overseas.  

The AudioVisual Action Plan has supported Ireland’s screen industries to become a global centre of excellence for the film and TV industry and in particular to grow Irish TV Drama. Looking at the creative output generated in 2021, it is clear that, in line with the Audiovisual Action Plan, Ireland is on track to continue to grow, creating local jobs and a welcome spend in the Irish economy. Local film, television and animation ensures that Irish stories and Irish creativity are enjoyed worldwide, whilst international productions bring images of Irish locations around the globe.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, TD

This record-breaking level of film and TV production in Ireland demonstrates the dedication and resilience of all those working across the sector.    

Despite immense challenges, the producers, directors, writers, cast and crew continued creating world-class stories to entertain audiences at home and abroad. Throughout 2021 Screen Ireland supported Ireland’s vital national cinema, increased investment in high-end TV drama, embraced innovation in the animation sector and continued excellence in documentary production.  

Government support through increased funding and TV drama stimulus provided by Minister Catherine Martin TD has played an essential role in the industry’s recovery and subsequent growth, generating a substantial contribution to the economy, creating significant employment and skills development opportunities.

Desiree Finnegan, Chief Executive – Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland

Regional Production  

In 2021 Irish film and television projects filmed on location all around Ireland including counties Limerick, Mayo, Cork, Leitrim, Donegal, Wicklow Galway, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Clare, Dublin and Wicklow.  

Looking to the future 

After incredible levels of growth in 2021, Screen Ireland’s emphasis is on building an industry that has a wide representation of modern Ireland. The aim of the agency is to ensure future growth is as sustainable as possible. We are extremely focused on encouraging new entrants into the sector with the establishment of three Talent Development Academies across the country with a big focus on diversity and inclusion. Screen Ireland has also set up a wide number of skills development schemes to encourage those form more diverse background into the sector including Passport to Production.  

The agency will continue to support and advocate for creative excellence across film, television, documentary, and animation. Creative talent remains at the heart of all funding and policy decisions, as well as empowering production companies to build strong in-house creative teams with the right skills.