Network Ireland Television is the foremost Irish-based TV distribution company, established in October 1995 with the objective of providing a sales and marketing service internationally for television programme makers and film producers and directors.
In the 20 years since its start-up, Network Ireland Television has now accumulated a catalogue of over 1,500 hours of quality English language programming and short films from a range of Irish and international producers and has firmly established itself as the major distributor of niche market material. Network Ireland Television is currently selling to over 100 overseas broadcasters, VOD operators, DVD distributors and Inflight Entertainment companies.
Network Ireland Television’s Managing Director, Derry O'Brien has over 40 years’ experience in international services in the music, TV and film industries and with the Irish Trade Board. Derry was responsible for the inauguration of the Ireland on Screen joint marketing initiative between the relevant Northern and Southern trade promotional agencies at both the MIP and MIPCOM television markets for 5 years, from 1991 - 1995 inclusive, a marketing initiative that survives to this day. Furthermore, as a Board Member of the Brussels-based E.U. Programme, Euro Aim for a similar period, Derry was actively involved in Euro Aim sales and marketing activities at both the Berlin Film Festivals, the Donestia Screenings and their Rendezvous Co-production and more recently at the Cannes Film Festival. Derry also served on the Board of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission for 5 years (1999 – 2004).
Short Film Catalogue
The company has been distributing short films since it was first launched in 1995. It tendered for and won the distribution rights to the Irish Film Board/RTE funded live action Short Cuts series and subsequent schemes. Series One of Short Cuts included Damien O’Donnell’s short film 35 Aside which went on to win over 40 major international awards. Other independent shorts that NITV has represented have been multiple international festival award winners over the years.
One of our more distinguished successes has been the short documentary Undressing My Mother, which won the 2005 European Short Film of the Year in December 2005. Simon Ellis’ 2006 short film, Soft won more than 40 international short film festival awards and has achieved great sales success afterwards.
Indeed, over the past 20 years, as our catalogue has judiciously expanded, we have marketed 14 short films in total that have won or have been nominated for Academy Awards: ten live action films, three animation shorts and one documentary short. In the past five years alone we have been fortunate enough to represent 8 short films that have been nominated for an Academy Award . These include New Boy (2009), Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2008), Kavi and The Door (2010) The Crush (2010) and Wish 143 (2011) and Pentecost (2011) and The Shore (2012). Naturally we were delighted when Terry George’s excellent short film, The Shore, went on to win the Oscar that year.
In 2015 we had two short films nominated in the Oscar live action category, The Phone Call and Boogaloo and Graham, the former of which went on to win, which makes this a very exciting time for the company.
We now represent over 1000 short film titles of which 70% are live action shorts and the balance are short documentaries and animation shorts. We represented The Irish Film Board’s funded shorts internationally both on the festival circuit and for commercial sales for many years. Since our start up, we also represented short films from the independent film sector, initially in Ireland, but more recently from producers and directors in England, Scotland, the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Austria. We now believe we are one of the biggest short film distributors in the UK and Ireland and certainly are more visible than most of our competitors in promoting our catalogue in the international marketplace.
Sales and Marketing
We have attended the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival Market for the past 21 years, as this is a very important market for shorts. NITV staff members also speak regularly on the industry panels at various festival’s seminars. We participate at the MIPTV and MIPCOM markets every year and meet several of our regular short film buyers at each of these markets. Apart from the established Irish Film Festivals, we attend the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, Encounters Festival Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Palm Springs Shortsfest, Sheffield Doc Fest and we’ve also attended festivals such as Santiago de Compostela and Alcine in Spain; Aix-en- Provence and Cannes in France; and Leuven in Belgium, among many others in recent years.
This consistent promotion and follow-up has enabled us to maintain regular sales to the major programme buyers of short films worldwide, who have come to expect us to represent short films of the highest calibre.
NITV can provide an informal consultancy service to filmmakers for their film’s festival run. We have previously provided such a service to the Irish Film Board for 9 years, making applications to a designated list of 35 festivals each year for the short films funded under their schemes. Unsurprisingly, in recent years NITV has been regularly asked to assist several of the Irish-American festivals in curating their respective shorts programming.
We have built up a rapport with those larger mainstream festivals as a result of these marketing and promotional activities and have come to meet and know many of their festival programmers. We have also assister filmmakers in qualifying for the Academy Awards and closely supported them on their respective publicity campaigns if they’ve been nominated. We feel that we have gained invaluable experience in the competitive festival sector as a result, enough to be able to advise and guide our short film clients through the international festival maze.