Just as Los Angeles starts to celebrate luring back film and TV productions and related business thanks to the expanded California tax credits, Ireland has come along to spoil the party.

The Irish government is emerging as a competitor to Hollywood with its own improved credits for filming as well as its lush scenery, a growing digital technology scene and new studio facilities.

The final scene of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was shot in Ireland and proved a great calling card for the country to attract not only filming but companies as well.

In the last two months, four L.A. entertainment or creative companies have opened up European headquarters on the Emerald Isle: Activision Blizzard Inc., Riot Games, J2 Global Inc. and Daqri.

“We’re thrilled with the quality of technical expertise there,” said Gaia Dempsey, co-founder of downtown L.A. augmented-reality product maker Daqri, which has opened a research center in Dublin.

Meanwhile, IDA Ireland – a government organization tasked with increasing foreign investment in that country – just doubled its West Coast staff to 14 and assigned a team of five to Los Angeles, from where direct flights between Los Angeles International Airport and Dublin start next month on airline Aer Lingus.

“Our people on the ground are focusing on the L.A. tech and creative clusters,” said the IDA’s Barry O’Dowd. “Through their efforts, L.A. companies are becoming more aware of all the benefits Ireland has to offer.”

Last month the California Film Commission announced that 13 feature films were earmarked for the state’s expanded Film and Television Tax Credit Program, which is aimed at stopping runaway production and boosting local investment.

Coming Home

Having just made history by becoming the first cinematographer to win three Oscars in a row, Emmanuel Lubezki’s latest cinematic venture focuses on his home city of Los Angeles in a new Terrence Malick-directed film called “Knight of Cups,” which opened last week.

The film features Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter but the real star might well be L.A.’s iconic locations.

Critic reviews of the film have been mixed but there’s nothing but praise for the job Mexico-born Lubezki has done capturing the cinematic qualities of the City of Angels.

Will it be good enough to land him a fourth trip to the Oscar podium, having already won Academy Awards for “Gravity,” “Birdman” and “The Revenant”?

The film’s producers Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda certainly hope so.

“He showcases the city in a wholly unique way, using the camera to bring iconic Los Angeles locations to life,” the pair said in a statement to the Business Journal.

Short Takes

“Star Trek” legend William Shatner has teamed up with West L.A.’s Egard Watch Co. to design an out-of-this-world timepiece, which has meteor dust placed on the dial as well as the actor’s engraved signature. The limited-edition watches sell for $1,195 each.

Celebrity hairstylist José Eber is celebrating 40 years looking after the locks of the famous and fabulous of Los Angeles and now he’s sharing the secret of enduring success with the Business Journal. “It’s all about hard work. I can barely remember when I last took a vacation,” said the Beverly Hills beauty expert responsible for the hairstyles of a who’s who of showbiz icons from Elizabeth Taylor to Cher.

Never short of innovative ideas to boost attendance, Westwood independent movie theater Crest now has a house band playing live music before, and sometimes during, old movies shown at the venue. The group, known as the Reel Players, will next be on stage April 1 for a screening of the Quentin Tarantino-scripted film “True Romance”.

While many L.A. business professionals showcased their products to Hollywood stars at last month’s Oscar gifting suite co-hosted by GBK, Life Cell and Alessi Institute, beauty expert Elizabeth Porikos-Gorgees seemed rather inclined to storytelling herself. Porikos-Gorgees impressed visitors to her stand with the rags-to-riches tale of how she started Brow Art 23 10 years ago with one cart in a shopping mall and grew the business to 200 locations, including a flagship store at the Beverly Center.

Leigh Savidge might not have won an Oscar as co-writer of “Straight Outta Compton,” but he has landed his own show on Podcast One. The Beverly Hills company has handed him a weekly podcast called “Straight Outta …” on hip-hop culture.

Teenagers spend almost nine hours a day looking at screens, reveals new documentary movie “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” which will screen at schools and community centers around the country. When the film premiered at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz last week, most of the kids actually looked up from their phones to watch it.

Managing editor Sandro Monetti can be reached at smonetti@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 200.

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