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*Filming taking place in Kilrush. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare has been making headlines in the film industry following confirmation that 2018 Kilkee shot feature film Calm With Horses has received four BAFTA Nominations.

Adding to that is the recent success of Lahinch shot TV series Smother, which retained 40 per cent of the audience share on its opening night on March 7th, taking the number one spot on RTÉ that night.

The Western Region Audiovisual Producers (WRAP) fund is a coming together of ten different stakeholders across six counties, from Donegal to Clare. The Audiovisual industry refers to film, television, animation and games. It employs 1200 people full-time, with 326 companies across the region and is worth €56m to the region.

Director of the WRAP fund Sarah Dillon outlined that “Clare is top of the economic investment leader board. Projects coming into Clare have received close to €570,000 of WRAP investment, just over 32 per cent of our pot. They have generated €4.5m of direct expenditure in the region. What that means for Clare County Council is, for every €1 invested in the WRAP fund, we have invested €70 back into the county.”

The objectives of the WRAP fund are to generate economic impact, produce commercial return, support local talent and SME’s, create sustainable employment, build the audio-visual infrastructure and contribute to the culture and language of the region. The fund’s capital investment comes from the Western Development Commission and Galway Film Centre in association with the seven local authorities in the region and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Sarah informed that the WRAP Fund has invested €2m in the audio-visual sector over the last three years. “We have had two competing productions in Clare. One being Calm With Horses which had a spend in the region of €500,000 and the aforementioned Smother Series One which spent €3.3m directly in the region. The great news story is that Smother will start shooting its second series on April 5th. We expect a similar spend again, estimating that the show will bring expenditure of €6 into Clare”.

Calm With Horses, shot across Clare and Galway between May and June in 2018, had a total budget of €2.5 million, of which €500,000 was spent in Clare specifically. They had 65 crew members, with 21 being from the region. They employed 234 local extras during their shoot. They spent €60,000 on location and office space, €120,000 on accommodation and €40,000 in travel. For every €1 invested into Calm With Horses, €8 went back into the region.

WRAP Fund also build a platform for local talent through a talent spotlight featured on a bi-monthly basis across the industry. The last focus was on actors and featured Tuamgraney’s Frank Blake who played Alan in the acclaimed Normal People.

Similarly, the WRAP Writing Mentorship Scheme is for emerging writers and includes Ennis’ Sinead Collopy, who, since graduating through the programme has had work commissioned by the BBC and received funding from Screen Ireland to develop a feature film.

“It’s not just incoming projects, we are also very involved with talent at a local level and trying to build the capacities of companies and put the six counties in the region on the map,” she asserted.

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