Paddy Delaney went along to the recent Ballyfermot College Final Year Animation Showcase to check out Ireland’s future animators.
Irish animation is standing pretty strong on an international level. From prestigious awards at Sundance for Irish Folk Furniture to continued international success, with companies like Brown Bag Animation, to having the No.1 children’s television show in 2012 with over 100 million viewers in over 160 countries. Attending the Ballyfermot showcase it’s easy to see why.
When asked what he thought of the offerings one attendee said, “The standard was really great. This year the standard was just so professional” and he was absolutely correct. It was incredibly impressive to see what a small team of animation students could accomplish. Ranging in duration, there was a staggering variety of styles and subject matter. From the illustrated style sea-monster story of Curraid by Adam Kavanagh, to the hauntingly beautiful Lake Isle of Innisfree by Don Carey, to the unsettling The Pit Out There by JJ Kavanagh, to the short but hilarious Not Programmed For Love by Brian McDevitt the technical achievements of all the films were remarkable.
Lake Isle of Innisfree
Another shining example of the quality to be expected from the College’s alumni was my personal favourite The Sweet Life by Maureen Walshe. Reminiscent of the opening montage from Disney/Pixar’s Up it tells a story of hardship, loss and redemption with a touching and heart-warming happy ending that had everyone in the audience saying “Aw”. All this was done in about three or four minutes with no dialogue. The stylised three dimensional characters were so expressive and the soundtrack so perfectly aligned with the events of the story that there was never any uncertainty as to what was happening or how the cast of characters were feeling.
The Sweet Life
Speaking with Maureen after the show it was clear that it’s not just time the college are willing to invest to see their students succeed. For example, eight of the films from the show-reel were selected for the Galway Film Fleadh, and as Maureen said, “The college are really, really good at getting (our films) into the festivals, they paid for all of us. They’re really good like that”.
Despite some technical difficulties (the Blu-ray had to played through a PS3 and the pub next door was on standby as a backup location due to earlier problems with the audio) it is very hard to look on this showcase as anything but a rousing success and a testament to the hard work and skill of the students at Ballyfermot. If their films are anything to go on, Ireland will continue to be a world leader in the field of animation.
The films shown were:
Strongbow & Aoife
Love is Blind
The Pit Outside
Not Programmed For Love
The Sweet Life