IFB Funding Programmes / Overview /

Regulations & Limits

The amount of funding that can be awarded to applicants by BSÉ/IFB under many of these programmes is limited by regulations agreed with the Irish government or laid down by the European Commission.


Under European Commission rules with regard to intensity of state aid (i.e. the amount of funding in a project derived from subsidy funds, tax-based incentive schemes or any other support mechanisms), the amount of state aid used to finance a film project may not exceed 50% of its total cost, subject to certain exclusions:

  • where the film is considered to be ‘low budget' or ‘difficult' (see paragraph below);
  • where the total cost of the film project is not more than €100,000.

Note that the value of the net benefit of funds raised under Section 481 in Ireland and awards made from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Sound & Vision Fund are both regarded as state aid, and that in an international co-production, the amount of state aid in a project is the aggregate of all such funding provided by all the co-producing countries.


BSÉ/IFB is authorised to certify a film to be made in Ireland as ‘low budget' or ‘difficult'. A film may be considered ‘low budget' if its production budget does not exceed €3 million. The approved definition of ‘difficult' can be found in the Financing Your Film section of this website.


With regard to development funding, there are limits on the amount that can be provided to projects by BSÉ/IFB pursuant to Irish government regulations as implemented by BSÉ/IFB as follows:

  • The maximum amount of BSÉ/IFB development funding that can be provided to any one project is €100,000.
  • Any amount of BSÉ/IFB development funding above €50,000 to any one project must be matched by funding from other sources.

Applicants should note that in light of the pressure on BSÉ/IFB resources, awards considerably less than the maximum are likely to be offered.

Repayment: BSÉ/IFB development loans must be included as a production budget line item, and repayment must be made in full by first day of principal photography or full animation drawings.


With regard to production funding, there are Irish government regulations that limit the amount that can be provided by BSÉ/IFB. In addition, BSÉ/IFB will also apply funding arrangements and limits. The limits are as follows:

1. Fiction: Irish Production (Including Animation Feature Films)

  • Microbudget Films: for projects with budgets of €100,000, BSÉ/IFB can provide 100% of the budget
  • New Irish Cinema: for projects with budgets of more than €100,000 but not more than €1.5 million, BSÉ/IFB can provide up to 65% of the budget, with a maximum of €300,000
  • Cinema Plus: for projects with budgets of more than €1.5 million but not more than €4 million, BSÉ/IFB can provide up to 40% of the budget, with a maximum of €750,000
  • Major Irish Feature Films: for projects with budgets of more than €4 million, BSÉ/IFB can provide a maximum of €1 million.

Note re. 2014 Budget: The amount of capital funding available to BSÉ/IFB in 2014 is approximately 5.2% less than in 2013, when BSÉ/IFB's budget was already subject to a significant cut. With demand on these resources running high and since BSÉ/IFB wishes to support as many projects as possible, for the time being applicants should continue to regard the following as the likely upper remit of funding to be awarded to a project unless exceptional circumstances prevail.

  • €100,000 for Microbudget Films
  • €300,000 for New Irish Cinema
  • €600,000 for Cinema Plus
  • €750,000 for Major Irish Feature Films

As the funding for New Irish Cinema anticipates an equivalent level of funding from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland ("BAI") (as well as broadcaster support to enable that funding to be accessed) BSÉ/IFB reserves the right to increase its funding up to a maximum of €600,000 if BAI funding and/or broadcaster support are not forthcoming.

(i) Special Condition
It is a condition of BSÉ/IFB funding that the production budget must contain adequate line items for the making of marketing materials. Exceptions may be made for Microbudget films and documentaries. This requirement is explained in detail in the Production Funding Guidelines downloadable from the website.

(ii) Ultra-Low Budget Projects
European Commission regulations still allow BSÉ/IFB to provide 100% production funding to film projects capable of being realised and delivered for a total production cost of not more than €100,000. The Special Condition outlined above does not apply to such projects.

(iii) Exceptional Circumstances
Please note that all of the above funding limits are subject to alteration in the event that wholly exceptional circumstances apply to a particular project. BSÉ/IFB will require that such wholly exceptional circumstances are set out in detail in writing with any application. Given the levels of budget constraints currently in existence, it is not anticipated that any wholly exceptional circumstances will be accepted by BSÉ/IFB in the near future.

2. Fiction: Creative Co-production

Funding levels for creative co-productions will be in line with the levels of the creative contribution of the Irish co-producers, but will not normally exceed €300,000 per project.

Please note that the Admissible Irish Expenditure rules apply particularly to Fiction Creative Co-Productions.

3. Television Drama and Animation Series

The level of funding to be provided to high-quality television drama and animation TV series will be related to the levels of funding available from the broadcasters and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, but will not normally exceed €300,000 for a television series.

4. Fiction: International Production

Funding levels for international production will be in line with the 20:1 spend ratio (reduced down to not less than 15.1 spend ratio in limited circumstances) between Admissible Irish Expenditure and BSÉ/IFB investment but in any event will not normally exceed €250,000 per project.

5. Completion

Funding levels for completion funding will be in line with the minimum level of actual expenditure required to complete the film, and each project will be assessed carefully on that basis. In any event, completion funding will not normally exceed €50,000 for a feature film and €15,000 for a documentary.

Applicants should note that in light of the pressure on BSÉ/IFB resources, awards considerably less than the maximum are likely to be offered.

Admissible Irish Expenditure

A fundamental principle of BSÉ/IFB funding for production is that the entire amount invested in a project must be spent on Irish personnel, goods and services. Where only part of the production of a project will take place in Ireland, producers should be aware that the amount of funding requested from BSÉ/IFB may be limited by the amount of such Irish expenditure to be incurred.

This is likely to apply most frequently to projects structured as minority Irish co-productions and eligible for Fiction: Creative Co-production funding from BSÉ/IFB. It may also be relevant to animation feature projects (typically made as multi-country co-productions) and to Fiction: Irish Production projects where little or no shooting takes place in Ireland.

Definition of Admissible Irish Expenditure

The definition of Irish expenditure governing the level of BSÉ/IFB funding in a project is subject to periodic review, and is different from the definition of qualifying Irish expenditure under the Section 481 tax incentive provisions. BSÉ/IFB currently regards the following as Admissible Irish Expenditure for the purposes of its own investment:

  • Fees and salaries paid to Irish persons working in Ireland or abroad
  • Per diems paid to any persons while working in Ireland
  • Expenditure on goods and services purchased in Ireland

Please note that the following costs are not eligible as Admissible Irish Expenditure:

  • travel costs of non-Irish persons unless travelling to/from Ireland in order to carry out work in Ireland
  • payments for insurances, including completion bond
  • payments for rights clearances in respect of music, literary work, archive material, etc.
  • financing costs

With regard to development costs, these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Payments to Irish persons (e.g. screenwriters) will clearly be admissible; other costs will be assessed taking account of the nationality of the producer primarily responsible for development, and in some cases, the provenance of development finance.

Maximum level of funding to be requested

In relation to the amount of investment to be sought from BSÉ/IFB for a project and the amount of Admissible Irish Expenditure to be incurred, the following factors will come into play:

The amount of investment sought from BSÉ/IFB must be no greater than two-thirds (66 2/3 %) of the Admissible Irish Expenditure, i.e. BSÉ/IFB will now require a 1:5 to 1 spend ratio on its investment.

For example, if the Admissible Irish Expenditure is €600,000, then the maximum amount of investment from BSÉ/IFB that can be sought is €400,000 (being 66 2/3% of the Admissible Irish Expenditure).

BSÉ/IFB may waive this requirement solely in circumstances where a minimum of 95% of the principal photography of the project takes place in the Republic of Ireland.

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