Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland

New board announced for Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has announced the members of the new Board of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland.

We are delighted to welcome the appointment of Chair designate Susan Bergin and the new board members for Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, who will bring a broad range of experience and depth of expertise to benefit the Irish film, television and animation industry. We are looking forward to working with the new board to provide continued leadership and vision for the sector, discovering and developing new and diverse talent, supporting continued recovery from the pandemic and driving the shared ambition for significant industry growth.

We would also like to thank previous Chair Dr. Annie Doona and board members for their extensive work and dedication to the screen industry during their term and for their resolute support to the Screen Ireland team and the wider sector throughout the pandemic.

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland

The new members of the board of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland are:

  • Susan Bergin (Chair Designate)
  • Dr Zélie Asava
  • Ray Harman
  • Eoin Holohan
  • Kate McColgan (reappointed)
  • John McDonnell
  • Marian Quinn (reappointed)

The appointments will operate on a split term basis to support continuity and future succession planning. The Public Appointments Service managed the recruitment process and all appointees were found to have the requisite skills and experience to serve on the Board.

I am delighted to welcome the new Board of Screen Ireland who take up their role at an exciting time in the film industry. The challenges that endure since COVID-19 arrived on our shores are well known but increased support and investment in Screen Ireland will help deliver key projects across feature film, TV drama and animation production. Sustained investment and work in recent years had laid the foundations for positive growth in the sector and despite the difficulties of operating in a COVID landscape, the sector has demonstrated its resilience.  There is a substantial demand for screen content and with our skilled workforce, our cultural heritage and landscapes and supports for the sector, Ireland is in a strong place to capitalise on this. We are ambitious for the film industry in Ireland and we want to see the Irish creative screen sector grow to become a global centre of excellence for the creative screen industries. The Board is central to the governance, oversight and strategic direction of Screen Ireland and I thank all the Board Members for giving their time and playing a part in supporting the audiovisual sector.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D.

Recent projects that have been successful internationally and at home have been Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature; Normal People, the record-breaking and Golden Globe nominated TV series from Element Pictures; Two by Two: Overboard!, Moetion Films’ animated feature, which reached #1 at the UK box office in October 2020; and Calm With Horses, nominated for a sweep of BIFA Awards in 2021, as well as six BAFTAs.

The most recent statistics show that the film, TV and animation sector in Ireland is worth €692 million. This includes production and distribution/exploitation. The film, TV and animation sector comprises 11,960 jobs by way of direct, indirect and induced employment across the economy.  

Ireland’s screen industries have experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade, with its contribution to the economy growing from €164 million in 2010 to €357 million in 2019: a remarkable increase in 10 years.  The animation sector in particular has seen its annual production activity increase fivefold in the last 10 years, to €180 million in 2019. This success is the result of years of sustained investment in and support for Irish creative filmmaking talent. 

The Government of Ireland has long recognised the vital role that creativity and storytelling on screen in particular plays in the lives of the people of Ireland and in exporting our culture internationally. Ireland has the creative talent, the literary heritage and the international credibility to compete on a global level; to tell compelling stories with universal appeal; and to grow and sustain a vibrant, creative audio-visual sector. Government ambition is for Ireland to become a global centre of excellence for the audio-visual industry and a key European production hub. 

About the Board Members

Susan Bergin is a UCD business graduate, a Chartered Accountant and an A.I.T.I. Chartered Tax Advisor. In 2010 while working as a Finance Director for a Property, Construction and Hospitality Group she was appointed to The Failte Ireland Authority and served as Chairperson of the Audit Committee for eight years. In 2013 /2014 she was employed as a Central Bank Approved Head of Finance and Compliance in an online and International Financial services company. She subsequently returned to the Hospitality Industry and now works for a leading Events, Exhibitions, and conference venue.

Eoin Holohan has worked in the Irish creative screen industry for over 25 years. He has worked as a Location Manager on numerous productions including major award winning  projects such as Normal People, The Lobster, and Sing Street. Eoin has recently served as Chairperson for the Locations Guild of Ireland, and sits on the Board of Directors, for Screen Guilds of Ireland.

Ray Harman has worked as a songwriter and composer for Film, TV , Animation and Theatre for over 20 Years. His work has been nominated for and won several awards including 2 IFTA’S (Irish Film and TV awards) and best original score for Liam Gavin’s horror, A Dark Song (Monster fest, Australia). Recent TV & Film work includes the acclaimed series Blood, The Young Offenders, Penance, Taken Down, The Farthest, Shooting the Mafia , Insppector George Gently  & Love/Hate. He is a Board Member of IMRO and a former director and founder member of The Screen Composers Guild of Ireland.

John McDonnell co-founded one of Ireland’s leading production companies Fantastic Films in 2002 and has produced and collaborated on a diverse range of film and television projects, receiving over 100 international awards, including an Oscar™ in 2006 for Martin McDonagh’s short film, Six Shooter. Recent films include Vivarium, directed by Lorcan Finnegan, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Le Semaine de la Critique, Cannes Film Festival 2019 – winner GAN Distribution Award and Sea Fever, directed by Neasa Hardiman and starring Connie Nielsen and Dougray Scott. He also executive produced Arracht, Ireland’s 2021 Oscar entry. In 2008, McDonnell received his Hons MA in Screenwriting. McDonnell served as a governing body member of IADT 2016-2021. McDonnell designed and runs the Advanced Producer course for Screen Skills Ireland and TUD.

Dr Zélie Asava is a Screen Studies academic. She is the author of The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities on Irish Film and Television (Peter Lang, 2013) and Mixed Race Cinemas: Multiracial Dynamics in America and France (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her work addresses the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in Irish, French, Francophone African and US cinema. She has lectured at UCD, IADT and DkIT where she was a director of academic programmes in Screen Arts and a member/chair of management boards, panels and reviews. She currently sits on the boards of the Catalyst International Film Festival and the journal Unapologetic, and works as an independent scholar and film classifier.

Marian Quinn is a director of Janey Pictures where she writes and directs. She won the Tiernan McBride Screenwriting Award for her debut feature, the multi-award winning 32A. She was an active board member of Cinema North West and The Model in Sligo. Marian lectures on screenwriting and directing in IT Sligo and DKIT. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland and the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, she was chair of the Equality Action Committee of the Joint Guilds until 2017.

Kate McColgan is the Managing Director and Producer at Calico Pictures, as well as a consultant for MPI Media. She has previously held roles in Element Pictures, MTV Arabia, the Weinstein Company and Parallel Films. Calico Pictures’ credits include From the Dark (for US Distributor MPI Media), Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English language project for Venice 70: Future Reloaded, US feature Paper Anchor and The Drummer and the Keeper written and directed by Nick Kelly. Kate recently produced TV drama Darklands for Virgin Media.