James Bond and Harry Potter makers consider setting up an Irish studio

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The new head of the Irish division of Pinewood Studios says that the studio, which is behind iconic franchises like James Bond and Harry Potter, could open an Irish base in the next five years.

Pinewood announced yesterday that Naoise Barry, the current Film Commissioner for the Irish Film Board is joining the company to lead-up its Irish operation.

Mr Barry will work with productions who are filming in Ireland, assisting with tasks like location scouting and budget preparation.

The studio has recently worked with 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.'

Speaking to the Irish Independent Mr Barry indicated that he hopes to bring major productions to the island:

"We are currently in talks with a number of our clients on selling them on filming here, the tax breaks available here for films are a big help."

"If you look at the Pinewood business model it is to provide production services but to also provide studio facilities and I think there is a possibility of Pinewood setting up a studio here in the medium term," he said, adding that an Irish facility could be established within two to five years.

He continues: "At the moment the company is effectively a startup but I have no doubt that as the firm begins to execute its strategy it will begin to expand to provide a wider range of services that could include a film studio - that's the hope."

Irish production opportunities have been limited by a lack of world-class studio facilities.

Ardmore Studios in Bray is the country's largest studio, and Siún Ní Raghallaigh, its CEO has said that it has been forced to turn away business.

She has called on the Government to establish a €15m fund for investment in studio infrastructure - and said that the number of people employed in Ireland's audiovisual industry could double by 2022.

The head of Disney in Ireland also warned in April of this year that a lack of studio space could lead to the country missing out on new investment opportunities.

Limerick City and County Council have confirmed the purchase of the old Dell building in Castletroy on the edge of Limerick city.

It hopes to turn the 350,000 square foot facility into a major studio to be run with Ardmore - but the project is yet to be confirmed.

 

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