Regulations and Limits

Regulations and Limits

The amount of funding that can be awarded to applicants by Screen Ireland under many of these programmes is limited by regulations agreed with the Irish government or laid down by the European Commission.

1. State Aid Intensity

Under European Commission rules with regard to intensity of state aid (i.e. the amount of funding in a project derived from subsidy funds, tax-based incentive schemes or any other support mechanisms), the amount of state aid used to finance a film project may not exceed 50% of its total cost, subject to certain exclusions:

  • where the film is considered to be ‘low budget' or ‘difficult' (see paragraph below);
  • where the total cost of the film project is not more than €100,000.

Note that the value of the net benefit of funds raised under Section 481 in Ireland and awards made from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Sound & Vision Fund are both regarded as state aid, and that in an international co-production, the amount of state aid in a project is the aggregate of all such funding provided by all the co-producing countries.

2. Low Budget and Difficult Films

Screen Ireland is authorised to certify a film to be made in Ireland as ‘low budget' or ‘difficult'. A film may be considered ‘low budget' if its production budget does not exceed €3 million. The approved definition of ‘difficult' can be found here.

3. Development Funding Limits

With regard to development funding, there are limits on the amount that can be provided to projects by Screen Ireland pursuant to Irish government regulations as implemented by Screen Ireland as follows:

  • The maximum amount of Screen Ireland development funding that can be provided to any one project is €100,000.
  • Any amount of Screen Ireland development funding above €50,000 to any one project must be matched by funding from other sources.

Applicants should note that in light of the pressure on Screen Ireland resources, awards considerably less than the maximum are likely to be offered.

Repayment: Screen Ireland development loans must be included as a production budget line item, and repayment must be made in full by first day of principal photography or full animation drawings.

4. Production Funding Limits

With regard to production funding, there are Irish government regulations that limit the amount that can be provided by Screen Ireland. In addition, Screen Ireland will also apply funding arrangements and limits. The limits are as follows: 

1. Fiction: Irish Production (Including Animation Feature Films)

  • Microbudget Films: for projects with budgets of €100,000, Screen Ireland can provide 100% of the budget
  • For projects with budgets of more than €100,000 but not more than €1.5 million, Screen Ireland can provide up to 65% of the budget, with a maximum of €600,000
  • For projects with budgets of more than €1.5 million but not more than €2 million, Screen Ireland can provide up to 65% of the budget, with a maximum of €700,000
  • For projects with budgets of more than €2 million but not more than €3 million, Screen Ireland can provide up to 65% of the budget, with a maximum of €750,000
  • For projects with budgets of more than €3 million but not more than €5 million, Screen Ireland can provide up to 65% of the budget, with a maximum of €800,000
  • For projects with budgets of more than €5 million, Screen Ireland can provide up to 40% of the budget, with a maximim of €900,000

* For projects which qualify for Fiction: Irish Production, enhanced production funding of up to an additional €100,000 is available to projects with Female Talent (writer and/or director, writer/director) attached, see the Guidance Note for more details.

Note re. 2018 Budget: With demand on Screen Ireland resources running high, applicants should expect increased competition for funding. All Screen Ireland offers are subject to the availability of funding. Applicants are advised to read the Production Funding Guidelines 2018 downloadable from the website.

(i) Special Condition
It is a condition of Screen Ireland funding that the production budget must contain adequate line items for the making of marketing materials. Exceptions may be made for Microbudget films and documentaries.

(ii) Ultra-Low Budget Projects
European Commission regulations still allow Screen Ireland to provide 100% production funding to film projects capable of being realised and delivered for a total production cost of not more than €100,000. The Special Condition outlined above does not apply to such projects.

(iii) Exceptional Circumstances
Please note that all of the above funding limits are subject to alteration in the event that wholly exceptional circumstances apply to a particular project. Screen Ireland will require that such wholly exceptional circumstances are set out in detail in writing with any application. Given the levels of budget constraints currently in existence, it is not anticipated that any wholly exceptional circumstances will be accepted by Screen Ireland in the near future.

2. Fiction: Creative Co-production 

Funding levels for creative co-productions will be in line with the levels of the creative contribution of the Irish co-producers, but will not normally exceed €250,000 per project.

Please note that the Admissible Irish Creative Expenditure rules apply particularly to Fiction Creative Co-Productions.

3. Television Drama and Animation Series 

The level of funding to be provided to high-quality (international) television drama and animation TV series will be related to the levels of funding available from the broadcasters and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, but will not normally exceed €300,000 for a television series.  

4. Fiction: International Production 

Funding levels for international production will be in line a the 40:1 spend ratio (reduced down to not less than 30.1 spend ratio in limited circumstances) between Section 481 Eligible Expenditure and Screen Ireland investment . Please note that this funding scheme is currently open for applications on a rolling deadline basis until further notice.

 
5. Completion

Funding levels for completion funding will be in line with the minimum level of actual expenditure required to complete the film, and each project will be assessed carefully on that basis. In any event, completion funding will not normally exceed €50,000 for a feature film and €15,000 for a documentary. 

Applicants should note that in light of the pressure on Screen Ireland resources, awards considerably less than the maximum are likely to be offered.

Admissible Irish Creative Expenditure

A fundamental principle of Screen Ireland funding for production is that the entire amount invested in a project must be spent on Irish personnel, goods and services. Where only part of the production of a project will take place in the Republic of Ireland, producers should be aware that the amount of funding requested from Screen Ireland may be limited by the amount of such Irish expenditure to be incurred. 

This is likely to apply most frequently to projects structured as minority Irish co-productions and eligible for Fiction: Creative Co-production funding from Screen Ireland. It may also be relevant to animation feature projects (typically made as multi-country co-productions) and to Fiction: Irish Production projects where little or no shooting takes place in Ireland.

For full details of Screen Ireland Admissibale Irish Creative Expenditure, please read the Production Funding Guidelines 2018 downloadable from the website.