New X-Pollinator Initiative Announced to Help Rapidly Address Gender Imbalance in Irish Film Industry

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

X-POLLINATOR was launched today as an ambitious new professional development and networking initiative aiming to kickstart collaborations between female writing and directing talent and take positive action to rapidly address the gender imbalance in the Irish audiovisual industry.

Conceived by leading film and television producer Katie Holly (Love & Friendship, Extra Ordinary) and developed in collaboration with theatre, arts and film producer Lara Hickey (Where We Live, THISISPOPBABY), X-POLLINATOR is supported by BAI, Screen Skills Ireland, Screen Ireland and Creative Europe Desk Ireland and is presented in association with The Lir Academy.

For the inaugural event taking place over two weekends on 2nd / 3rd November and 7th / 8th December, X-POLLINATOR invites applications to participate from female writing and directing talent, both emerging and established, working in film, theatre, literature, comedy and visual arts. Producers of any gender are also invited to apply.

X-POLLINATOR wants to inspire the forging of new creative teams to foster the production of new work for the screen from emerging and established female creative talent. The X-POLLINATOR weekends will offer a carefully curated programme of talks, masterclasses, panel discussions, break-out sessions and keynote speeches from esteemed artists and industry figures, sharing their approach and experiences to inspire and inform participants. The initiative will also address the business and practical side of creative screen content and navigating the audio-visual industry.

The initiative will also provide crucial facilitated networking opportunities to make connections between participants and build the female creative teams of the future. The first wave of speakers will be announced shortly.

BAI chief executive, Michael O’Keeffe: “The BAI is proud to support X-POLLINATOR, which will bring together professionals in the audiovisual sector to promote and celebrate female talent. We want to see more female leaders and creative partnerships to address the gender imbalance in the audiovisual industry and foster a media landscape that better represents the diversity of Irish society. X-POLLINATOR is an innovative project that will inspire and encourage 150 participants to share ideas, form new creative partnerships and bring more women to the forefront of the audiovisual industry.”

Gareth Lee, Manager at Screen Skills Ireland: “Screen Skills Ireland believes that continuing to improve the diversity and inclusivity of the screen sector is vital, which is why we are delighted to support X-POLLINATOR. It’s a timely and exciting initiative that will contribute to addressing gender imbalance in the sector and encourage cross-pollination of diverse ideas from creative female talent.”

Producer and Course Director Katie Holly: “I’m excited about the potential the XPOLLINATOR initiative has to build teams and advance the careers of the next generation of female Irish talent. Having participated in the first Catalyst scheme, I developed relationships with so many creative collaborators and peers, and two of my first features came directly from attending those weekends, as did many more films from other teams. I’m looking forward to being inspired by the brilliant female talent who are already making waves in the creative sector across so many disciplines but also to making an important positive step towards addressing the ongoing gender imbalance in the screen industry.”

Applications are currently open with the deadline of 5pm on Monday 7th October. Please visit this page to apply.

For further information, visit

Participating in X-POLLINATOR is free of charge. Organisers aim to accommodate as many applications as possible with a maximum capacity of 150.

Media Interview Requests

For interviews with Katie Holly and/or Lara Hickey about X-POLLINATOR or for more information, contact P Stewart Communications at

Social Media HASHTAG: #xpollinator

Editor’s Notes

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is the independent regulator for radio and television broadcasters in Ireland. The BAI’s remit is set down in the Broadcasting Act 2009 and includes a range of objectives and functions, including: licensing radio and television services; making broadcasting codes and rules; monitoring and enforcing compliance with codes and rules and broadcasting contracts; deciding on broadcasting complaints; and, administering funding schemes for television and radio programmes and archiving. In addition, the BAI also has a statutory role in supporting the development of the broadcasting sector through research and training. More information can be found at

Screen Skills Ireland is the leading agency with responsibility for investing in people and skills development for the screen sectors in Ireland. Screen Skills Ireland designs, develops, and delivers industry-focused skills development initiatives for the screen sector in Ireland, encompassing film, TV, animation, games and VFX, for all roles from new entrants to company leaders.

Screen Ireland is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry, investing in talent, creativity and enterprise.