Review of Irish Film @ Galway Film Fleadh • New Irish Shorts: Animation

Deirdre de Grae found a lot to love in the animated shorts programme at the 29th Galway Film Fleadh.


The animated shorts programme is always a personal festival highlight of the Galway Film Fleadh, for me. It’s the ideal Sunday morning cure following a hectic week of film screenings and post-film partying – nerves are calmed and eyes are soothed during this perfectly-timetabled programme of Irish short animations. As usual, there was a large audience attendance, including cast and crew.

The competition for entry into the programme is typically tough, resulting in an excellent showcase of Irish animation. This year’s hopeful entrants were up against some well-funded and seasoned filmmakers, so to be selected for this programme is a prize in itself. Not as many student films were included as in previous years, and I missed their creativity and energy. The films curated included animated shorts from a current student and new graduate, as well as established industry professionals. Further animations were screened as part of the Irish Film Board’s showcase on Saturday 15th July 2017, and are reviewed as part of that programme.

The stand-out animated shorts from this programme are An Béal Bocht/The Poor Mouth (winner of Best First Short Animation and The Don Quijote Award for Best Animated Short Film), directed by Tom Collins, and ‘Sorry I Drowned‘, directed by David Habchy and Hussein Nakhal.

An Béal Bocht / The Poor Mouth (dir. Tom Collins), is an adaptation of the novel by Flann O’Brien (A.K.A. Myles na gCopaleen/Brian O’ Nolan), of whom I am a huge fan. The absurdist, satirical comedy is realised incredibly well by the director, Tom Collins, and talented principal animator, John McCloskey. As with any favourite book adaptation, I was nervous to see if it matched my imagined world. However, I had no need for fear, and was delighted to see some hilarious elements retained, such as the never-ending rain, which sometimes seems an accurate portrayal of life in the west of Ireland. And I am happy to report that the pig fart jokes went down very well with the kids in the audience. The casting is particularly on-point, and I can imagine there was some fun in the sound recording booth with, for example, Bob Quinn as ‘The President’, Tommy Tiernan as ‘Ó Bánasa’, and Mícheál Ó Meallaigh as ‘the Drunken Pig’. The animated film was realised using the original Irish version of the novel and cleverly used Flann O’Brien’s own English translations for the subtitles, thus retaining the original wit.

The animation was a co-production of Raw Nerve Productions (Pearse Moore) and De Facto Films, and was animated at the Nerve Centre in Derry. It was funded by Northern Irish Screen (Irish Language Broadcast Fund), TG4 and the BAI.  The cast includes: Owen McDonnell ,Tommy Tiernan, Donncha Crowley, Bob Quinn, Seán Mistéal and Mícheál Ó Meallaigh.

Sorry I Drowned

Sorry I Drowned‘ (dir. David Habchy and Hussein Nakhal) is a monochrome animation, using Arabic voice recordings, inspired by a letter purportedly found on a drowned person fleeing war. The animation was commissioned by Medicins Sans Frontiers and produced by Studio Kawakeb, Lebanon.

The style and content are reminiscent of both Persepolis (black and white / female voice) and Waltz with Bashir (video footage / war themes). Visuals of pixellated, 1980’s computer-graphics delivered in stark monochrome, serve as the foreground to the Arabic words, spoken by a woman. Ideally, the eyes and mind could rest on the images while the words are spoken, but due to my lack of Arabic, I had to rely on the (too-small) subtitles, which distracted from the fast-moving visual images. It is a fantastic, moving animation, but was screened out of competition as it is not an Irish production.


Dylan Nevin’s Blackout was the only student animation shown, and the team deserve kudos for that. This is a dystopian, futuristic, short animation from the perspective of an art student, who rebels. Dylan Nevin is studying animation with the Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE). His work can be seen at

The Line

Dillon Brannick, A recent graduate of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT),  directed ‘The Line’, which explores the dynamics between parent and child, during mourning. In his animation, the baby and father switch places, with the large adult-sized baby taking care of the tiny father.  The result is a gentle portrait of loss and grief. Dillon’s work can be seen at

Wooden Child

Wooden Child, directed by Joe Loftus, is a disturbing examination of death, to a Country and Western soundtrack. Joe works as an animator at Boulder Media and is a graduate of the IADT animation degree programme. His work can be seen at


Animated short films screened in this programme:

Wooden Child (dir. Joe Loftus), Coranna (dir. Steve Woods), The Line (dir. Dillon Brannick), Dreaming of Sleep (dir. Leon Butler), Blackout (dir. Dylan Nevin), Sorry I Drowned (dir. David Habchy & Hussein Nakhal), Cyber (dir. Diarmuid Hayes & Sarah Whicker), Tete a Tete (dir. Natasha Tonkin), An Béal Bocht/The Poor Mouth (dir. Tom Collins).



New Irish Shorts: Animation were screened on Sunday 16th July 2017, as part of the 29th Galway Film Fleadh (11–16 July 2017).



Trailer: Animation, Inc. Ireland’s Creative Industry


The trailer for Animation, Inc. Ireland’s Creative Industry has been released.


Animation, Inc. Ireland’s Creative Industry is a feature length documentary about the Irish Animation Industry and the extraordinary influence Irish Animators have had worldwide.


An unprecedented look into the past, present and future of the Irish Animation Industry, covering the Education, Business and Creativity of a fascinating art form, this in-depth and accessible documentary will not only interest fans of Animation and Art but will also provide people who know little or nothing about the incredible story behind Animation in Ireland, with the perfect gateway into that world.


The documentary is being produced by Dublin based production house,

Bruin Motion Pictures and features legendary former Disney animators, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (An American Tail, Land Before Time), Seamus Malone, Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep), DreamWorks Animations’ Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch), Irish Studios Cartoon Saloon (Song of the Sea, Secret of Kells), Brown Bag Films (Doc McStuffins) Giant Animation, Barley Films, and many more.


Animation, Inc. contains original studio tours, rare and never-seen-before archive footage, exterior footage from inspiring worldwide/Irish landscapes and exclusive discussions with Academy Award winning studios and animators.

The production has already shot on location in Bristol, UK. Stuttgart, Germany. New York & Arizona, USA and across the majority of counties within the Republic of Ireland, with more to come before the end of production, giving an idea of the global scope of the influence from Animation in Ireland.

With the increible current success of Animation in Ireland and with the hidden history


Keep up to date on the production at or at,


‘Animation, Inc. Ireland’s Creative Industry’ Doc in Production


Animation, Inc. Ireland’s Creative Industry is a feature-length documentary about the Irish animation industry and the influence Irish animators have had worldwide.

The film offers a look into the past, present and future of the Irish Animation Industry, covering the education, business and creativity of a fascinating art form.

The documentary is being produced by Dublin-based production house Bruin Motion Pictures and features former Disney animators, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, Seamus Malone, Aardman Animation, DreamWorks Animations’ Dean DeBlois, Irish Studios Cartoon Saloon, Brown Bag Films, Giant Animation, Barley Films, and many more.

Animation, Inc. contains original studio tours, rare and never-seen-before archive footage, exterior footage from worldwide/Irish landscapes and exclusive discussions with Academy Award winning studios and animators.

The production has already shot on location in Bristol, UK. Stuttgart, Germany. New York & Arizona, USA and across the majority of counties within the Republic of Ireland, with more to come before the end of production.



The New Dawn of Irish Animation


 The Amazing World of Gumball

David Neary talks to the movers and shakers making it happen in animation.

It’s been 18 years since Sullivan Bluth Studios closed their doors. One-time Disney prodigy Don Bluth had gone rogue in 1979 and founded his own company, which set up shop in Ireland in 1985, providing Irish animators with an outlet and distributor for their talents. Bluth helped launch an animation course at Ballyfermot College ensuring a new generation of skilled Irish animators would now emerge.

And then the end came.

The apprentices of Bluth went their separate ways, founding a number of smaller animation studios in a shrivelled market. It seemed for a time like the golden age of Irish animation was long gone. But now it appears it has only just begun.

Casual observers of the Irish film industry were no doubt surprised in 2009 when The Secret of Kells, by the Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, emerged from the woodwork. An Academy Award® nomination for best animated feature proved Irish animation could now play with the big boys.

Since then the rebirth of Irish animation has been unmistakable, with accolades pouring in from abroad. Brown Bag Film’s short Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty accompanied Kells to the Oscars®. BAFTAs have been dealt out to JAM Media’s Roy and Boulder Media’s The Amazing World of Gumball (the latter also won an Annie Award). Doc McStuffins, a preschool show animated at Brown Bag, recently launched on the Disney Junior UK channel to record ratings. Elsewhere, Irish producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly joined the Oscar-nominated® elite this year thanks to her work on the short Head Over Heels.


Doc McStuffins

So what’s driving this renaissance in Irish animation? Good old determination and hard work, of course, and that grand tradition of Irish storytelling. But amongst industry professionals there’s wide acceptance that Adobe Flash was the game-changer.

Gerard O’Rourke founded Monster Animation in 1995 in the wake of Bluth going bust. Flash, he explains, was originally used for creating banner ads for websites, but its potential for quickly designing high-quality animation was soon seized upon by the animation industry at large.

‘Flash turned it all around,’ he says. Recalling his days at Sullivan Bluth, he explains that in the traditional cell animation business, an animator’s work had to go through 27 departments, be shot in the camera bay, shipped to Technicolor in London, processed in 35mm, brought back and loaded onto a projector before the animator could see the fruits of his labours. This process took 10 to 12 days. ‘Now,’ he says, ‘an animator on a daily basis can sit there and start with a blank screen and at the end of the day have movie files of what they animated that day.’

The reduction in costs is colossal, and better still has managed to keep those animation jobs in Ireland. ‘Without that digital revolution, a lot of the work would have remained in the Far East, but we’ve managed to bring it back,’ O’Rourke adds.

Monster considers itself ‘your genuine 100% Irish-owned animation studio’. The company nurtures home-grown talent, refuses overseas service work and finds great value in its own intellectual property. The most Irish of Irish cartoons is Monster’s Ballybraddan, about a school hurling team. It’s the ideal Monster property; something that RTÉ can’t import for next-to-nothing like a syndicated Disney show.

Such is the success of Monster that it has separated into two companies. Initially it split into Monster Entertainment, a distribution company and Monster Animation and Design, which specialises in production, but the latter has since re-launched as Geronimo Productions Limited, with both companies now producing and distributing animated projects.

The team at Geronimo showed faith in their own business plan when they produced the preschool show Fluffy Gardens, resisting market demands for characters with ‘generic stories’. The results speak for themselves; Fluffy Gardens is now broadcast in a stupefying 120 countries in 20 languages. With that success under their belts, Geronimo have made even bolder moves since, producing Punky, an animated series about a young girl with Down syndrome. It’s the first show in the world to feature a lead character with such a disability, meaning this company of only 15 has already made its mark.

At its peak Sullivan Bluth employed a staff of some 350 people, producing as much animated material as a company of 80 can produce today. Boulder Media is just such a company. Robert Cullen founded Boulder in 2000 to design E-cards, but after a few animation tests they were handed the reins of Cartoon Network’s multi-award-winning series Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.Roy Their staff of six grew almost overnight to 28. ‘It was a big task,’ Cullen admits. ‘Definitely a baptism of fire.’

Fosters PR Mac Bloo Coco Eduardo Horz

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

Boulder went on to produce a series for Nickelodeon before returning to Cartoon Network for The Secret World of Gumball. Since Gumball arrived, staff numbers have swelled to 78, with the company developing a 3D department in-house to keep up with the shifting industry. Now in the midst of a two-year stint on Disney’s Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, Boulder have secured a name themselves as Ireland’s premier service studio for animation.

‘We’re definitely punching above our weight,’ Cullen says of the Irish animation industry. ‘With all the big shows that are out there, so many seem to be produced or co-produced in Ireland. It’s great for Ireland’s reputation. As more broadcasters come back to Ireland for projects, hopefully that will incentivise others to pop over to Ireland and make use of Section 481 as well.’

There’s no time for nostalgia about the Bluth era. Cullen admits: ‘If we were offered an endless time frame we’d love to go back to pencil and paper, but I think what we’re trying to do is create that sort of fluid animation within Flash. So it’s still quite traditional animation, just not using paper.’

Nowhere is that clash of old and new in animation more evident than at JAM Media, whose very headquarters reveal a jolting juxtaposition; their offices, complete with glossy logo and a shiny new BAFTA, are located in a deconsecrated 18th Century Moravian Church on Dublin’s Lower Kevin Street. In addition, JAM’s biggest success, the BBC-produced Roy, is about an 11-year-old Ballyfermot boy who appears to be a living hand-drawn cartoon – but it’s all done in computers.



Roy is drawn directly into Flash, to create a hand-drawn shape, before he’s sent through the programme After Effects to add natural-looking pencil lines. As Roy producer Ian Hamilton points out, there is an irony in that the better the digital technology becomes, the more ‘papery and textured’ Roy looks.

Roy demonstrates the technology shift behind the current animation boom better than any other project. The show began life as a 23-minute short, Badly Drawn Roy, which was hand-animated, and took a small team nearly a year to produce; picked up for a third and fourth season, Hamilton points out that JAM will now produce 26 episodes of Roy in almost the same amount of time, thanks to Flash.

Despite the wealth of animation talent, with new students graduating each year from courses in IADT Dun Laoghaire and Ballyfermot, and new programmes as far apart as Letterkenny and Carlow, there is still a deficit of animators, with JAM having to look to Canada to get their projects completed. ‘Animation in Ireland is booming at the moment,’ says Hamilton. ‘It’s very hard to find an animator out of work at the moment.’

This is a sentiment echoed by Robert Cullen: ‘I think the industry is in its golden age now; the biggest problem people have in the animation industry in Ireland at the moment is finding the staff! It’s not been hit by the recession in that sense. The really talented people out there are usually hunted down very quickly, so if you’re a good animator you’re pretty much guaranteed a job at some stage.’

Keith Foran, Director of Animation at the National Film School at IADT, has seen the face of Irish animation change more clearly than anyone. He graduated from the Bluth programme at Ballyfermot in its inaugural class, and was a part of the original line-up at Brown bag. He refutes the idea that there is a renaissance in Irish animation, suggesting Bluth was only a precursor to an industry, never truly Irish.

‘The industry has grown, certainly in the last two to three years, but the cottage industry has been there for 15 years,’ he says. ‘The industry that came in before was American-skilled, American-authored, with tax-break incentives and young Irish people doing the menial artistic tasks. That was the structure of an animation industry but it closed down over night. The industry that’s there today is not a renaissance,’ he adds, ‘it’s actually a new industry – a new dawn.’


This article originally appeared in Film Ireland magazine – Issue 144, 2013




Irish Film at the Galway Film Fleadh: Moon Man


The 25th Galway Film Fleadh (9 – 14 July, 2013)

Moon Man

Saturday, 13th July



Moon Man, the 2D feature animation based on Tomi Ungerer’s best-seller, takes giant steps to the Galway Film Fleadh this weekend. Ireland’s Ross Murray and Paul Young, from Cartoon Saloon (The Secret Life of Kells) produced the film along with the German director, Stephfan Schesch, and French company, Le Pacte. Irish animators who worked on the project include Fabian Erlinghauser (The Secret of Kells), Sean McCarron (Song of the Sea) and Marie Thorhauge (Old Fangs).

Catherine Hehir, Studio Manager at Cartoon Saloon, told Film Ireland, ‘We are delighted that the Galway Film Fleadh will be screening Moon Man, and the fact that author Tomi Ungerer will be there makes it a very special event’.

Ungerer, who is now based in Cork, acted as a consultant to the filmmakers and will be taking part in a Q&A with Stefano Scapolan from Cartoon Saloon after the screening.

Moon Man is a loving family tale about the man in the moon, who isn’t even aware how much children love him. When a shooting star passes by on its way to earth, he hitches a ride and crashes down on a planet ruled by a tyrannical President. Escaping the president’s soldiers, Moon Man sets off on an adventure , where he will marvel at the many wonders the Earth has to offer and realise how much children love and need him.

Tickets are available to book from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 569777, or at


Call For: Online Smoke Operator

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

Brown Bag Films are looking for an experienced online editor to work on a freelance /part time basis .Brown Bag Films have a 5 months overlap where they need extra online resources to work outside the normal working day (evenings and weekends ) flexible hours available. Applicants will need to be familiar with the Smoke online system ideally.

The duties of this role include:

• Mastering to Tape

• Conforming edits ready for review by directors

• Tracklaying of audio and formatting

• Online editing
Deadline: 15th February 2013


Click here to apply


Details Announced of Animation/VFX Event ISA CON 2013

(Guest Speaker Stuart Sumida on the right)

The Irish School of Animation with support from the Irish Film Board, Enterprise Ireland and Animation Ireland has announced details of the upcoming animation/vfx event: ISA CON 2013.


The event will take place on Friday 15th February from 7-10pm in Printworks at the Morrison Hotel.


Guests speakers at the event include renowned anatomy consultant Stuart Sumida (‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Life of Pi’), animation story artist/director Fergal Reilly (‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘Hotel Transylvania’), motion capture specialist Simon Kay (‘Total Recall’ and ‘Iron Man 2’), and visual effects guru Ciaran Crowley (‘Inception’ and ‘The Dark Knight’).


Tickets cost 5 Euro and are available from the Administrative Offices of Ballyfermot College of Further Education. Tickets will also be available for purchase/collection on the door of the venue on the evening of the event.


For more information see:


Acting For Animators Master Classes with Ed Hooks at Ballyfermot College of Further Education


“The actor in an animation is the character on the screen, but it is the animator who must endow the character with the illusion of life.” – Ed Hooks.

Ed Hooks pioneered acting training specifically for animators and his Acting for Animators master class has been presented to tens of thousands of animators around the world.


From the 19th to the 22nd November next, Ed Hooks will visit Ballyfermot College of Further Education to deliver a series of master classes on ‘Acting For Animators’ to college animation staff/students and invited guests.


The Master Classes, which are supported by the Irish Film Board, will be delivered in the Anna Brett Hall, Ballyfermot College Media Building on the following dates and times:

Monday 19th November from 10-4pm – Acting for Animators Part 1

Tuesday 20th November from 10-1pm – Acting for Animators Part 2

Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22ndNovember from 10-1pm – smaller group sessions with BA Animation students.


Ed Hooks

Ed Hooks is a multi-faceted theatrical professional, respected as an actor, author and acting teacher. He has taught professional-level workshops and scene study in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. His stage, film and television credits include more than 100 roles.

Since 1996, Ed created acting training specifically for animators, and his system is used by leading animation schools internationally. He is continually in demand as a guest lecturer and speaker at animation conferences. He has presented his master class at major festivals and major animation studios internationally, like Siggraph, FMX, Dreamworks, EA, Disney and Blue Sky.

Ed has also written a number of books and articles on the subject of acting for animators. And his book Acting for Animators, now in its 3rd edition, is a required text for animators in training everywhere.


For more information on Ed Hooks and his master classes see –


MEDIA Desk Ireland presents ‘Focus on Animation’ Monday April 30th

MEDIA Desk Ireland in partnership with RTÉ and the BAI are delighted to be hosting an Animation Day – Focus on Animation – on Monday April 30th in the Light House Cinema in Smithfield.  The event will run from 9.30am until 3pm – Registration is from 9am.

Panels and Presentations include:

Alix Wiseman,
Head of Sales and Acquisitions, Aardman Animation
‘Selling Animation in the Global Market’

European Broadcasting and Distributing Animation – Panel
featuring RTÉ, CBeebies, WDR and Aardman Animation

Domestic Funding Opportunities in Animation – Panel
featuring the BSÉ/IFB, BAI, RTÉ and the Revenue Commissioners

This is an ideal opportunity to meet with other animation producers, national funders and European and national broadcasters.

Please RSVP to by Thursday April 26th


Pegbar Animation Networking Event 16th September in Trinity Science Gallery

On the Friday 16th of September 2011, Irish animation networking event, Pegbar, will take place in the Trinity College Science Gallery.

Pegbar & the Science Gallery will be hosting a series of talks and screening short animations, all giving an insight into the creativity and technology behind the animation industry today.

Guest speakers are, Fraser MacLean whose credits include Animals of Farthing Wood, Space Jam, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Duck Tales, Emmet O’Neill Director of Creative and Interactive Design with HMH Publishing and Barry O’Donaghue Founder, Director & Producer at Barley Films.

The evening will kick off with a number of short animations from award winning company Barley Films, followed by talks from Emmet O’Neill and Fraser MacLean. Fraser MacLean will also be giving us a sneak peek at his new book ‘Setting the Scene‘. After our series of talks, ticketholders can reside to the Lombard for a few drinks, animation screening and social networking.

Watch Pegbar on Twitter  ( ) and Facebook where we will be having an internet giveaway

Tickets are €6 and can be bought online @

Entry is at 5:30pm.  Grab some tapas, beers & wine downstairs in the cafe beforehand if you’re hungry!


Blackrock Animation Festival Competition deadline is Friday July 29th

Calling all animators in Ireland! The deadline to enter the Blackrock Animation Festival Competition is just ten days away – Friday 29th July. The Blackrock Animation Festival and Competition is organised by the Blackrock Business Network and supported by the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Design and Technology (IADT). 

To showcase the animation competition entries, a selection will be shown on Saturday 27th August at the Blackrock ‘Pop Up’ cinema at Urban Junction, Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin and awards and prizes will be presented.  A mobile cinema at Frascati Shopping Centre will also be showing animation films throughout the Festival as well as other events for this celebration of animation.

A Blackrock business community initiative, the purpose of the Animation Festival and Competition is to encourage emerging and existing talents in animation both in Ireland and abroad. This is the first year of these awards and it is planned that this will be a yearly event.  The town is also organising a Family Fun Day on Sunday 29th August.  Blackrock will be the place to be on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th August!

Calling for final entries for the animation competition, Festival Director, Fionnghuala Ni Neill said:  “This is our first year and we really are thrilled at the level of entries already received – from across the country to as far afield as Japan! Blackrock is a thriving and vibrant town and our Animation Festival will reflect the diversity of businesses here as well as the range of events and activities going on.  It is going to be a great weekend with the Family Fun Day being held the following day.  More details on the Animation Festival and Family Fun Day will be posted throughout the month of August on the Blackrock Business Network’s website


Irish-based animated children’s series exported to South Africa


Photo: Lifeboat Luke

Dublin-based Animation Company Kavaleer Productions recently received news that Lifeboat Luke the 52 x 5 minute pre-school series co-produced by the company, has been sold to M-Networks, a South African hi definition channel by the series’ international distributor Monster Distributes.

Lifeboat Luke continues to grow its global broadcast platform with sales already confirmed to the US, Denmark, Slovenia and 22 territories in the Middle East via the Al Jazeera network, with many more territories in negotiation.

The first thirteen episodes were financed and produced in Belfast by holding company Luke the Lifeboat Limited (LTL Ltd.). Irish broadcaster RTÉ expressed an interest in the series and on a recommendation Kavaleer were approached by producers Richard Morss and Darryl Collins in 2006 to co-produce 39 further episodes of the show.

Together, Kavaleer and LTL Ltd. managed to secure €1.7million of funding for the second batch of episodes from a number of sources such as the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, private investors and RTÉ. Additional funding was also obtained via the section 481 tax relief incentives.

Straandlooper, as the creators of the series, came up with the storylines, wrote the treatments and had final script approval. These completely prepped scenes were then sent to Kavaleer for animation. The approved animation would then be sent back to Straandlooper in raw file format.  39 episodes were successfully produced in this manner over an eight-month period.

Lifeboat Luke is the creation of award-winning director and animator Alastair McIlwain, and is set in the mad magical but fictional Irish seaside town of Donaghadoo. The series features the fast and funny search and rescue adventures of Lifeboat Luke and his friends both human and animal.


Irish finalist for Cartoon d'Or Best European Animated Short Film 2009

The European Association of Animation Film has announced the five finalists for Cartoon d’Or 2009, an award for the best European animated short film for which Irish filmmaker David O’Reilly has been nominated for his short Please Say Something. Also nominated is Nick Park for Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. The winner will be announced in the Norwegian city of Stavanger on 24th September.

The finalists will have the opportunity to present the film to over 700 participants at Cartoon Forum, the annual European rendezvous to support the co-production, financing and distribution of animation series for television and new media platforms, which will be held in Rogaland, Norway from 22–25 September.

The winner – who will be decided by a jury made up of the directors Serge Elissalde, Tomm Moore and Kari Juusonen – will receive funding for his or her next animation project.

Created in 1991 to support upcoming talent in European animation, this is the only pan-European prize specifically for animated films. Competition in this event is exclusively reserved for winners of awards from one of eleven partner animation festivals, considered some of the most important in Europe, over the past year. The Cartoon d’Or is supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

For further information please visit here: and here:


Frameworks at the Galway Film Fleadh

A great selection of diverse animated shorts will again premiere at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh highlighting the wealth of animation talent in Ireland.

The Frameworks scheme aims to combine this creative exploration with an ability to appeal to a wide audience.

This year’s short animations include Louise Bagnall’s Donkey which tells the tale of Donkey who is sick of his minimum wage job. This is Louise’s first Framework film after writing and directing the Short Short Colour Contamination last year. Donkey is produced by Niamh O’Donoghue and Barley Films.

In Old Fangs, written and directed by Adrien Merigeau, a young wolf decides to confront his father who he’s not seen since he was a child. The short was produced by Ross Murray and Cartoon Saloon, European Production Company of the Year whose feature film The Secret of Kells has just picked up awards at the Edinburgh and Annecy Film Festivals.

Written and directed by John McCloskey and produced by Pearse Moore for Raw Nerve Productions Guns, Bees and Tadpoles is an animated tale set in seventies Northern Ireland, where a summer’s day takes a turn to the extraordinary for a normal family in not so normal times.

Trolley Boy is written and directed by Teemu Auersalo. It tells the tale of Trolley Boy whose frustration with work builds up into a giant monster made of shopping trolleys. After which he realizes there’s more to life than pushing trolleys into stacks. It was produced by Nicky Gogan for Glimpse Digital.

Finally David Quin’s T’was a Terrible Hard Work documents Tipperary miners from the Slieveardagh coal fields as they describe their live and work underground. This short animation was produced by Steve Woods for Cel’Division. Written by Alice Lyons, it was co-directed by Alice and Orla McHardy.

Frameworks is co-funded by the Irish Film Board, the Arts Council and RTE.

These shorts will premiere on Saturday 11th July at 3 pm in the Town Hall Theatre.


Issue 129 – A useful website guide for animation


Richard Keane gives us the tour.

This interweb lark is definitely going to catch on, so we decided to include some of the more popular websites that you’re likely to find saved on an animator’s web browser.

No doubt there are lots of important sites that didn’t make the list, so if you think we have missed any really good ones, please let us know and we will include them on the website.

Animation and Creative Blogs

This is an interview with Ralph Eggleston about designing with a purpose. Ralph was the production designer on Pixar’s gorgeous WALL-E.
Nick McGivney’s lyrical take on the state of advertising in Ireland and in general.
The Small Print is an independent project developed to promote great creativity.
An animation blog from the team in Brown Bag Films.
Blogs by the wonderful people at Cartoon Saloon. Check out their ‘Blog of Kells’
Another Irish animation company’s blog with links to recent work.
Showcasing exceptional creativity, wherever it may be, through interesting formats and memorable projects.
This is a website on the style and design of ’50s animation. Taking the various styles of the UPA studio this website gives you a great understanding of where animation design has come from.
Why not learn from the masters themselves. The legendary Frank and Ollie have their own website and have some animation tips that are a must read for every animator.
The creator of VeggiTales shares lots of information and there is a very interesting story about how VeggiTales got sold to Entertainment Rights.

Animation Training
In Ireland we are lucky to have two fantastic animation colleges in Ballyfermot and Dun Laoghaire. But if your situation does not suit the college life this site gives you a place to earn a diploma in 18 months with the help from world class tutors.

Animation Podcasts and
These are two great sites for amazing podcasts on animation and various tips and links to other websites. Both sites interview the very best in the industry and are very inspiring.

An amazing online repository for everything Mark Kennedy knows about storyboarding, filmmaking, drawing, and animation. Put aside a few hours to read his epically interesting blogs!
After working in layout for Disney for eight years and then going into various other sides of the entertainment industry, let’s just say Denise knows her stuff!
This is where to discover the art behind the art with Rob Richards, while waiting for him to return from a temporary hiatus.
Screengrabs from films and great links to other sites about cinematography.

Character Design
This site supports the development of Ireland’s illustrator community and shows a diverse range of superb design work.
Stephen has a very recognisable style since he has worked on so many high profile projects. He also has a tutorial section to his site and is a fantastic teacher.
Mark McDonnell has worked for every major studio and has just released a must have book on gesture drawings. This is a collection of his designs, development, doodles and dabbles.
Interviews and galleries from the top artists in animation, movies, games, illustration and comics.
Nate does amazing designs and illustrations for animation and children’s books, which can all be found here.
This is a forum where John Nevarez posts daily to semi-daily sketches of his observations, thoughts, concepts and basically whatever comes to his mind.

Irish Interest
Blatant self-promotion, but this is truly Ireland’s best ever website. No contest. All the latest news, links, resources, expanded interviews and articles from Film Ireland. Oh, and did I mention
All the latest news and events about the animation industry in Ireland can be found here.
Lots of news and resources on the Irish film and television community.
The online home for the creative Irish design community, or, alternatively, a popular place for anonymous bitchy backstabbers to ‘comment’ on other people’s work.
A great new networking site for Irish animators with fantastic events organised regularly.
Ireland’s online community for CG artists and animators.

Animation News
An online news publication with articles from around the world.
KidScreen is the leading international trade publication and essential reading for anyone interested in children’s entertainment.
Comprehensive coverage of the international animation community news.
All the latest news on the business, technology and art of animation can be found here.
Updated frequently each day, this news site is a hub for the international entertainment community.
This is a key resource for everyone working in the animation industry.

This site provides industry news, features, podcasts, application tips and tricks, and online forums. Widely regarded as one of the top information sources for high-end visual effects professionals.
This is one of Ireland’s more popular technology news services with plenty of frequently updated articles on technology.
Dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new internet products and companies.
Digg is true online democracy – the most popular articles as Digged by the public. The technology section has a finger on the world’s pulse as to what’s popular each day.
This site has reviews, news, downloads and price comparisons about the latest technology.

3D Stereoscopy Technology
Your one-stop information source about the fascinating world of 3D stereoscopy.
Strictly for the technically-minded nerds out there (you know who you are), this is Autodesks white paper on the ever-changing future of stereoscopic technology.

You know the one!
Like YouTube but with better compression on uploaded videos. Highly recommended for distributing your work.
They must be the only content Dot-com from circa 2000 that aren’t Dot-gone. They are still a good resource for web-based comedy shorts.
If you don’t understand Facebook, Bebo or Twitter (i.e. you are over 35 years old) then check out for some incredibly simple and brilliant summaries.
When you have finished reading this issue of Film Ireland from cover to cover, you need to rush out and make a short film (over a 6–12 month period) and then enter it to the brilliant Darklight Film Festival. Animation is simple, really.




DIR/WRI: Henry Selick • PRO: Claire Jennings, Mary Sandell • DOP: Pete Kozachik • ED: Christopher Murrie, Ronald Sanders• DES: Henry Selick • CAST: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr.

Coraline is, unmistakably, the creation of writer/director Henry Selick whose gloomy, phantasmagorical style brought to life The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and James and the Giant Peach (1996). This stunningly surreal, stop-motion 3D feature is going to surprise a lot of viewers and terrify a lot of children.

Eleven-year-old Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) and her parents (Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman) move to an old pink Victorian house in Oregon where she is lonely and can’t get the attention from her preoccupied parents she so desires. She encounters a whole cast of eccentrics in her search for company, including two retired theatre ladies (Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders) a delightfully self-possessed cat and a little boy called Wybie, who gives her a doll that looks like her but with black buttons for eyes. She finds a trap door leading to a predictable Alice In Wonderland-esque rabbit hole which then leads to a parallel world in which everything bears some resemblance to her known world, but better. Her parents are devoted and shower her with gifts. Everything is more exciting and alive than the drab lonely world she has left behind. But, like the doll, her new perfect parents have black buttons for eyes. One doesn’t have to dig too deep to read Coraline as a story of a pre-teen girl’s transition from childish solipsism into the troubled world of human inadequacy and complexity. Whether she stays plugged in to this parallel world – which is perfect in all respects except those concerning the soul – or not, is something you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

Based on Neil Gaiman’s 2002 award-winning novella of the same name, Coraline spent two years in pre-production and shot for eighty-three weeks. It uses labour-intensive stop-motion animation, which is complimented nicely by the all-too-often gimmicky 3D effect. This gives a deceptively fresh feel to a movie that is actually very old fashioned in many ways. As a story, it looks back to a long tradition of children’s literature and its referents are many and well worn.

The word ‘dark’ will be used ad nauseam to describe this film but there is an important distinction to be made here. Coraline deals with fear and loneliness but there is no dark intent lurking beneath that. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Jeremy Kyle Show is dark. My Super Sweet 16 is dark. Coraline is relatively life-affirming. As a viewer who generally doesn’t like children’s movies, I was delighted not to be bombarded with the usual deafening, musical shout-fest that seems to be required to keep a young audience’s attention. Already, loathsome Internet commentary is clogging up the websites of reputable publications with complaints like ‘it was boring and my children fell asleep and it had no singing’. Be warned. Coraline is relatively slow paced, there is no simplistic anodyne moralising and, like most works of this kind of beauty, it is undoubtedly the creation of a sad heart.

Angela Nagle
(See biog here)

Rated PG (see IFCO website for details)
is released on 8th May 2009
Coraline – Official Website


Córdoba Animation Festival Call for Entries

The Association for the Development of the Animation Industry of Córdoba is announcing the call for entries for the 5th International Animation Film Festival of Córdoba, Animacor’09, which will be held from 2–7 November.

A total of €39,000 will be awarded to prize-winners in the course of the festival. The winners will also receive the ‘Carrasquito’ statue.

Animacor’09 screens not only films from European and Latin American countries, but also from South Korea, Iran, Canada, Russia and Japan. The festival will also feature matinee screenings for schools, evening screenings held in the Filmoteca (Film Archives) of Andalusia and exhibitions and workshops devoted to the application of new technologies in animation.

For more information, please visit