Five young and contemporary drama series, ranging from a supernatural coming-of-age dramedy to an eight-part gritty crime drama, have been selected by TG4 for development, supported by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland. Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry.
The five new character-based series are aimed at younger audiences under 35, and each are expected to attract a new and diverse generation of TG4 drama enthusiasts. Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland provided the funding as part of 2020’s €3 million July Stimulus Package, recognising the potential for growth in the Irish TV drama sector and its successes to date, including the BAFTA Award-winning ‘Normal People’ and RTÉ’s recent success ‘Smother’. In partnership with TG4, Screen Ireland aims to support Irish-language TV drama development, with a strong focus on young, contemporary audience-driven stories with national and international appeal.
Development funding of up to €50,000 per series will be provided to bring the series to production level. Mentorship provided by Screen Ireland will be available to the selected companies throughout the development process. Screen Ireland and TG4 are hopeful that one of the five series selected will go to production before the end of 2021.
The five series selected for development are:
Saor Sin Ó Olc is a gritty drama series set in a costal Connemara village focusing on the discovery of a local woman’s body who has been missing for 20 years. Written by Doireann Ní Chorraigáin, Richie Conroy and Eoin Mac Diarmada and produced by Darach Ó Tuairisg for Fíbín Media.
Ag Briseadh Tríd is a Gaeltacht set comedy about a teenager struggling to find herself. Written by Christina Caty & Seán T. Ó Meallaigh and produced by Yvonne Donohoe for Blinder Films.
Cailíní Aimsire is a comedy following the exploits of three college friends as they begin their careers in a new city. Written by Sheena Lambert and directed by Déirdre Ní Fhlatharta for Danú Media.
An Bua is a dramedy exploring the repercussions of a hedonistic Galway student discovering she’s clairvoyant. Written by Eva O’Connor, Ciara Ní É and Hildegard Ryan, directed by Hildegard Ryan and produced by Paddy Hayes for Tua Films in Galway.
Ciontach is a nineties-set drama exploring the aftermath of sexual assault for a 16 year old girl and the justice system. Written by Clíona Ruiséil and produced by Ciarán Ó Cofaigh and Eilís Ní Cheallaigh for Rosg.
Director General of TG4, Alan Esslemont, said, “programming for young people has been identified by the TG4 Board as one of the areas in which we are under-serving audiences, and we recognise that drama is a key genre for all of the various younger demographics. Fifteen years ago, the series ‘Aifric’, showed that both the television talent and the audience appetite do exist.”
“But a gap of fifteen years is too long, and it is well past time that we committed in a sustained and sustainable manner to serving young Irish audiences with Irish language drama series. Our Cine4 partnership with Screen Ireland and BAI has already produced feature films of the highest quality and we believe that this new collaboration with Screen Ireland will lay the foundation which will allow multiple original and innovative drama series in the Irish language to emerge.”
Chief Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Désirée Finnegan, said, “Screen Ireland is committed to building Irish language TV drama told by and for new, contemporary audiences. We are delighted to support the five series selected for development. The TV Drama Stimulus Package, provided to Screen Ireland by Minister Catherine Martin T.D., is invaluable in responding to the strong appetite worldwide for original, local language stories.”
“We are delighted to recognise these five creative and original Irish language series in collaboration with TG4 – and are looking forward to providing mentorship and support to all five production companies selected for the scheme.”