In 2013, Roddy Flynn and Tony Tracy had a bright idea. Why not make a statistical analysis of Irish film?
This conversation explores the surprising things they found out.
Flynn and Tracy’s data-driven approach focuses particularly on the Irish Film Board and the projects it has supported. In this insightful and entertaining commentary, they explore the connections between Irish and global screen culture and put their research into the context of the ever more frequent waves of change that wash over screen production in Ireland.
Why is it, they ask, that very few directors ever manage to go on to make a second film? Why did the chronic underrepresentation of women in the industry suddenly rise to the top of the agenda in the mid 2010s? How many films and TV shows that have been made in Ireland actually Irish? Who gets to decide? Has the Irish Film Board been a success or a failure?
The most difficult but crucial task of all is working out what an indigenous film industry is for. Perhaps the old bugbear of Irish identity has finally been set aside as the big issue for Irish filmmaking, as director Lenny Abrahamson once suggested:
Irish cinema got a lot better when it stopped thinking about what it means to be Irish
This recording was made in June 2018, one week after the referendum on abortion in Ireland, which is referred to on a couple of occasions. It is also worth noting that the Irish Film Board was re-named Screen Ireland two weeks after this recording.
Tony Tracy lectures in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway. Roddy Flynn lectures in the School of Communications in Dublin City University. Among many other activities, they are regular contributors to Estudios Irlandeses – Journal of Irish Studies, where much of their research on this topic has been first published. Together, they have written the Historical Dictionary of Irish Cinema, which Rowman and Littlefield will publish later in 2019.