Watch that Simo go

Simon Perry
Simon Perry

Ex-mugg to run Irish Film Board

Bord Scannán na hÉireann, otherwise the Irish Film Board, has tapped former Variety London staffer Simon Perry as chief exec. Simo, scrammed the London office to get into the British film biz, became a producer and wound up as head of British Screen, an outfit that part-financed ambitious European flicks.

Intriguingly, it’s a case of one Variety alumnus replacing another at the head of the Celtic filmmaking bureaucracy. (See Don Groves’s footnote below.)

John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport, and Tourism said that the Irish film industry had become an important business for Ireland as well as being an important creative art form.

“In appointing a person of Mr Perry’s calibre, the Board has clearly signalled its intention to compete and succeed in this very competitive market,” the Minister said.

James Morris, Chairman of the Irish Film Board, added: “Simon Perry brings a depth of knowledge and achievement in international film production that few can equal. As the head of British Screen from 1991 to 2000, he helped numerous high profile European films make it to the screen including Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game and Ken Loach’s Spanish epic Land And Freedom. His experience covers every critical stage of the film making process, from creative development to production, to finance and to distribution.”

Simo figures to have watched the rise of Ireland as an “enviably vigorous European country, able to boast artistic and entrepreneurial talents in equal measure.” He’s happy to be involved and looking forward to making a contribution to the growth of Irish cinema.

Perry will take up the post January 9 2006 and will be based at the Board’s head office in Galway.

From DON GROVES A short note to point out there is another link with Variety. Simon replaces Mark Woods, who worked alongside me at the Sydney bureau for some years.

Mark left Variety to work for the Showtime pay channel, and then went to the Irish Film Board. He’s now in charge of Ausfilm, the agency which promotes Oz as a production location.