IFB Funding Programmes / Production /

Catalyst Project

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (BSÉ/IFB) is delighted to offer three teams of emerging filmmakers the chance to produce a low-budget (€350,000) feature film through the Catalyst funding and mentorship scheme. The teams will have access to key industry experts who will offer mentorship and guidance along the way.

The first Catalyst initiative, launched in 2007, led to the production of the feature films Rewind, One Hundred Mornings and Eamon. Now BSÉ/IFB is opening up a second Catalyst scheme to ambitious, motivated filmmakers who want to make an original, exciting and audience-focused feature film on a low budget without sacrificing high ambitions.

How does it work?

Stage 1 - The Seminars (now closed)

To be eligible to apply for Catalyst funding, potential applicants must complete two days of seminars which will give an overview of low-budget filmmaking. Only those who take part in the seminars will have the opportunity to apply for the awards.

Catalyst seminars are open to individuals from the following disciplines in filmmaking: producers, writers, directors and writer/directors. Selected participants will be encouraged to connect with other filmmakers at the seminars, to form new teams or to enhance existing ones.

Producers, directors and writer/directors are required to have that credit/role on at least one short film and/or television drama and/or commercials and/or viral-online series. Writers are required to have that credit on a produced short film and/or television drama episode and/or commercials and/or viral-online series or to have a project (feature film, TV drama/episode, viral-online series, stage play or radio play) commissioned or in funded development. Applicants will be asked to provide their showreel or an example of their produced work.

Priority will be given to Irish citizens and Irish residents with a track record in audio-visual production. Applicants must be over 18, and students in undergraduate or full-time education may not apply. Those who were awarded funding through the first Catalyst may not apply.

The seminars will be held on Saturday, November 30th, 2013, and Saturday, December 14th, 2013, and will focus on:

1. Idea generation and script development
2. Pre-production and production
3. Post-production
4. Sales & distribution

In order to attend the seminars, applicants must complete the Catalyst application process at www.screentrainingireland.ie. The deadline for applications is Friday, November 1st, 2013. Successful applicants will be notified by email by Wednesday, November 13th, 2013.

Stage 2 - The Awards

Seminar attendees will be given a three-month period after the seminars to utilise the information that they acquired to prepare a package and screenplay for consideration.

Teams made up of a producer(s), writer(s) and director(s) or writer/director(s) (individuals may not apply) will then have the opportunity to apply for the dedicated award.

This initiative will support three filmmaking teams to produce a feature film on a budget of €350,000 with support from BSÉ/IFB personnel and access to a panel of key industry experts who will provide mentorship and guidance to the teams.

The teams will endeavor to afford all technical personnel/crew working on the projects to advance a grade in their profession. The cast and crew will be provided with training and/or mentorship if deemed necessary.

In order to apply for Catalyst, the following will be required:

- Logline (up to 25 words) and synopsis (1/2 A4 page)
- Script

- Detailed director and producer notes on how they envision and plan to execute the film
- Notes on key cast, HODs and any creative/technical crew attached or proposed
- CVs of all principals
- Evidence of ownership of rights
- Any supplementary material such as showreels, storyboards, etc., are also welcome.

Applications should be made through our online system, which is now open. The closing date for applications is Friday, March 28th, 2014. We hope that you will find the application process straight-forward, but here are some notes that you may find helpful.

In addition to BSÉ/IFB guiding principles and criteria, applications will be judged under the following criteria:

1. Audience

BSÉ/IFB is eager to support filmmakers who can envisage the audience (both Irish and international) for their film and are capable of delivering a sales/distribution strategy to maximise its reach and impact. Teams should be open to forging collaborations with a wide variety of partners and pursuing a range of innovative audience-development and distribution options, as well as more conventional forms.

2. Authorship

BSÉ/IFB is committed to developing filmmaking talents, and through Catalyst it is keen to support committed, ambitious, entrepreneurially driven filmmakers who will embrace the challenge of developing, producing and exploiting a high-quality cinematic feature film within low-budget parameters. Collaborations between filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and with differing levels of experience are encouraged, but teams should be united by a single vision and able to evidence the right balance of skills, knowledge and commitment to tackle each challenge. Applicants should be able to demonstrate both strong knowledge of and commitment to their fields. To this extent, the other key creatives - the proposed cast and crew on the project - will also be given strong consideration.

3. Aesthetic

The projects will be selected on the basis of freshness, talent, conviction, originality and quality of vision. Projects will also be evaluated on the basis of feasibility and readiness for production, given that selected projects must be in a position to complete delivery within twelve months of receiving the award. Because the award has stand-alone finance, the filmmakers are freed from conventional commercial constraints and are encouraged to make films that are provocative, fresh and original but that also appeal to a given audience.

Applicants will receive an acknowledgement of their application by email within four weeks of the closing date.

Projects will be assessed by all members of the BSÉ/IFB Production & Development team along with an independent assessor(s). Independent readers reports (2), commissioned for each application, will also be utilised in the assessment process.

The shortlist of projects will be announced in July 2014, and the independent readers reports will be available for all projects submitted. Interviews will be held for shortlisted teams in July 2014, and the three successful projects will be announced shortly after.

Stage 3 - Production

The three selected projects must deliver within twelve months of receiving the award. A BSÉ/IFB Project Manager will oversee each project. Teams must fulfil the requirements of the BSÉ/IFB Business & Legal Affairs Department in order to commence production.

The cast and crew will work at agreed rates and will be provided with training and/or mentorship if necessary. Further details of this will be available in due course.

The Mentor Panel

The members of the panel will offer guidance and advice to the filmmaking teams, drawing from their areas of expertise. The mentors will also be consulted before the interview stage on the shortlisted projects. The teams will be encouraged to meet and engage with the mentors throughout the process from development through to delivery and exploitation of the film as required. Initial areas/roles that may be covered by mentors include:

1. Script Consultancy
2. Producing
3. Directing
4. Editing
5. Sales & Distribution

Note that other skillsets may also be catered to.


Catalyst Timeline (please note that some dates are subject to change)

Friday, November 1st, 2013: Deadline to apply to attend seminars
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013: Seminar attendees notified
Saturday, November 30th, 2013 Seminar day 1
Saturday, December 14th, 2013: Seminar day 2
Friday, March 28th, 2014: Closing date for applications 


Application guidelines and conditions of Catalyst production funding can be downloaded from this page in English and Irish

For further enquiries, please email catalyst@irishfilmboard.ie

Catalsyt is funded and organised by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board in assocation with Screen Training Ireland and Filmbase.  

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