Kicking off our Directors In Dialogue series, Birch Hamilton, the Executive Director of the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, writes for Culture about why we need to champion Irish filmmakers.

Audiences are swimming in a sea of Irish filmmaking talent. Right now, you can walk into cinemas and watch outstanding new films by Irish directors Neasa Ní Chianáin, Alan Gilsenan and Juanita Wilson.

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On your own screens, you can watch international work made by Irish directors in the last year via platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Volta. Never before have audiences been bathing in so much quality work from homegrown talent.

Last month, Martin Scorsese was in Dublin with the Irish Film and Television Academy and threw out the challenge to Irish directors to reinvent cinema - I believe he said this because it is entirely possible.

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Irish directing talent is an unstoppable force, powering forward despite global uncertainty in the digital market, reduced government support and little domestic drama opportunity.

More than that, Irish directors are becoming innovators on the international TV scene. Our directors worked on over 80 International TV projects in live action and animation in 2016 on all the major UK broadcasters and networks, including Showtime, SKY, Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Fox and Sony.

Watch: The trailer for Sky's Riviera, created and directed by Neil Jordan

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It may be that the unstoppable grit of Irish filmmakers that has partly driven all this; the insistence that film and TV is no longer the bargain cousin of the Irish literary scene, that its bona fide quality has ignited an appetite, not just for Irish films and TV, but for Irish talent to make global films and TV series.

As Steven Soderbergh said, the entertainment industry is not about races, it’s about horses. If creativity is at the heart of entertainment, then it follows that directors are its lifeblood. Supporting creatives on a project-by-project basis is not the logical step in a business that is totally talent-driven.

It is not enough anymore to say that ‘We value the production of Irish film and TV’. There needs to be a radical step taken by broadcasters and stakeholders - to invest in the talent itself.

Our forthcoming SDGI Directors In Dialogue series, presented in association with RTÉ Culture, presents a series of in-depth video interviews with a quartet of contemporary Irish filmmakers: John Butler (The Stag), Mark Noonan (You're Ugly Too), Lisa Mulcahy (The Legend Of Longwood) and John Carney (Sing Street).

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I hope viewers enjoy the Directors In Dialogue series, and that it gives an insight into Irish directors, their collective success and the future potential for Ireland. You will see their creativity, plus the grit and vision that has made their work so successful - and reveal our directors as one of Ireland’s most powerful assets.

The first Directors In Dialogue interview, with John Butler, goes live on RTÉ Culture on Monday, March 20th.