We catch up with Maggie Breathnach, a newly appointed board member of Screen Producers Ireland and head of IFTA-winning Red Shoe Productions.
She shares some insight into the bright and busy future of Red Shoe, and her desire to create a sound support system for both regional companies and women the film and television industry.
On her plans for the future, Breathnach tells us she is currently renovating offices in her hometown of Ring, Co. Waterford which will be a newly established branch of Red Shoe in the Gaeltacht. The new location will include a full editing suite and sound booth, which will be used by the core Red Shoe team and also be made available to external companies for their projects.
The technical outlay of the suite is incredibly important to Breathnach, who intends to launch by late August with a small number of new staff. The Red Shoe office in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin will continue to operate as normal.
The company recently received BAI funding for ‘House of Art’, a documentary dealing with the art within Leinster house. The project is currently in pre-production stages for Oireachtas TV with Breathach herself set to direct.
For the first time in Irish broadcasting history the one-hour landmark documentary reveals the jewels in the State art collection held within the hallowed grounds of Leinster House. Given unprecedented access Ireland’s foremost portrait artist Mick O’Dea will discover the stories, the artists, and the people behind this unique art collection.
Other documentary projects in pre-production include ‘Join Our Boys’, which discusses the lives of three young Irish children suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disease. Breathnach is also hoping to take this work to Lisbon Docs in October.
As always there is a strong line-up of work for TG4, with the second season of traditional music series ‘Hup’ for TG4, directed by Pascal Cassidy. Red Shoe has also been commissioned to produce ‘Gradam Ceoil’, TG4’s music awards, for the third consecutive year. This will be airing live in February of 2017 from the Opera House in Co. Cork. The team are also impressively taking ‘Imeall’ into its ninth season this year with series editor Genevieve Murphy.
SPI Board Membership
Breathnach describes Screen Producers Ireland as, “…a real backbone and a support for small and large companies such as Red Shoe.” She put herself forward to become a board member because of the value she has experienced herself, as both a member and a professional dealing with the day-to-day operations of a small company.
On her plans to help shape policies and supports through SPI in the future, Breathnach hopes to exercise her position to assist other small business owners, but cannot overstate the importance of an open dialogue on support for women in the industry.
In particular she stresses the importance of providing women with a positive environment to re-enter the workplace following maternity leave, reassuming their previous roles at the same level with confidence.
She states: “I’m hoping I can implement some kind of strategy or policy to help women in film and TV in a more real way. To tell them that it is okay to go away and have a baby, that it is normal, and that it is also normal to raise a child in tandem with having a full-time job.”
In tandem she calls for more support for more isolated, regional companies to benefit from the same level of support as their larger counterparts, who benefit from more developed infrastructures. Improving this balance would create more equality around opportunities such as funding.
Breathnach carefully argues that while it is hugely important to keep pushing Irish film and TV on an international level, by pushing larger companies generating revenue for the economy, new talent should also be nurtured.