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RTÉ and IFB announce joint funding initiative for new comedy

RTÉ and IFB announce joint funding initiative for new comedy

RTÉ today announced that it has formed an exciting new partnership with the Irish Film Board to support new Irish scripted comedy projects, with export potential.

Following the success of shows like Can’t Cope Won’t Cope and Bridget & Eamon, which have been sold to the BBC and UK TV respectively, and the upcoming series based on the hugely successful film, The Young Offenders, RTÉ is now calling for proposals for half-hour scripted comedies, which have the potential to be picked up by international distributors and/or international broadcasters. To that end, participation in this initiative requires producers to source additional financial investment from international distributors/broadcasters, which, at a minimum, matches RTÉ’s investment at pilot and series stage.

RTÉ Head of Comedy Eddie Doyle said: 'We want to help bring the next generation of Irish comedy talent to the world. There are so many, extraordinarily talented writers, performers, producers and directors, coming out of Ireland at the moment, and at the same time, the appetite for Irish comedy, at home and abroad, has never been greater. We are thrilled to be working with the Irish Film Board, and we want to use this initiative to find new partners, in our mission to serve Irish talent and Irish audiences.

Dermot Horan, RTÉ Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions said: ‘We’re delighted to confirm this new partnership with the Irish Film Board. This presents a fantastic opportunity for Irish producers to develop new scripted comedy projects, which can be brought to the international market, as well as serving Irish audiences at home. Our recent successes have demonstrated that there is a real interest in comedy coming out of Ireland.

The scheme will have three phases: an initial selection of 10 projects for development (funded by RTÉ and the IFB); the selection of four of these to proceed to broadcast pilot (funded by RTÉ and IFB, with producers being asked to source additional funding from international sources); and finally, one of these pilots will proceed to a full series (funding from RTÉ plus international funding). Projects may also qualify for the s481 tax break at both pilot and series phase - which will add further funding to the scheme.

James Hickey, Chief Executive Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said: ‘We are delighted to be working with RTÉ on this new initiative, which will support four new comedy TV series projects to pilot stage. Our aim is to further develop the depth of Irish comedy writing talent across TV drama. Irish audiences traditionally love home grown comedies with films such as The Young Offenders, The Stag, The Hardy Bucks and older titles such as Intermission and Man About Dog proving to be major hits at the Irish box office. We hope this pilot scheme will discover new creative talent, resulting in screen storytelling which will be successful with Irish and international audiences.

Proposals can be submitted via the RTÉ ECommissioning system www.rte.ie/commissioning before the closing date of 29 November at 12pm.

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