Dublin's Filmbase to close after 32 years

The firm is to be placed into voluntary liquidation due to debt

Dublin's Filmbase to close after 32 years

People queue at Filmbase in Dublin to be extras in the History Channel's 'Vikings' in 2013 | Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated: 16.40

The not-for-profit orgnaisation Filmbase is to close its Dublin operation.

It says the staff, management and board made decision on Thursday.

In a statement, the organisation says: "Filmbase has been fighting for many years against difficult financial circumstances and as a not for profit organisation that fight has always been a tough and challenging one.

"Debts which had accumulated at the organisation had reached a point where it was unrealistic for Filmbase to continue operations.

"This is a decision which has been reached with great sadness by all involved and the organisation will now move into voluntary liquidation."

Filmbase has been in operation since 1986.

The group gave many film talents early support to begin their careers.

The company adds: "Many people will remember Filmbase as a creative community, a hub to discuss and debate film and filmmaking, a networking space to meet likeminded filmmakers, and the catalyst for ideas, scripts, projects and partnerships which have enriched Irish film culture in innumerable ways."

"There is a huge debt of gratitude due to an enormous number of very special people and Filmbase would like to thank each and every one for their incredible generosity and support over the years."

In particular, the company says it wants to thank the Arts Council "for supporting the organisation from its very earliest days".

Arts Council response

The Arts Council says it became aware of the financial difficulties at Filmbase on Monday March 5th.

In a statement, it says: "We sought immediately a detailed account from the company on a number of matters and gave the company until Thursday 8th March at 5pm to respond. A satisfactory response was not received.

"We appointed independent auditors to investigate the matter on Friday 9th March.

"Under the terms and conditions of Arts Council funding the organisation must comply with the auditors. Our auditors went on site on Monday 12th March.

"The board of Filmbase informed us the following morning (Tuesday 13th) that it intended to go into liquidation.

"On Wednesday 14th, the board informed us that the staff have been laid off and that the company had ceased trading pending liquidation."

The Arts Council says Filmbase was awarded €250,000 in annual funding last year.

The council says when it did not receive an up-to-date set of audited accounts last year, it placed a stop on the funding.

This meant Filmbase was not able to draw down the final 10% - or €25,000 - of its 2017 funding, and has not been able to draw down any of the €125,000 it was offered for 2018.

It says that offer has now been withdrawn.

The Arts Council adds: "In addition, the company received €170,000 for the 2017 Reel Art scheme. Under this scheme, two artists are each awarded up to €80,000 to make a documentary film. Two artists were successful in December.

"We are particularly concerned that money owed to two artists awarded under the our Reel Art Scheme managed by Filmbase has not been paid.

"The Arts Council will vigorously seek the payment of the money owed to the artists as part of the liquidation process."