Report: Irish Animation @ Cartoon Forum



Séamas McSwiney was at this year’s Cartoon Forum, which put the spotlight on Ireland paying tribute to the Irish animation industry

“Money well spent!” is how Paul Young, President of Animation Ireland, puts it. He’s talking about the multiplier effect of a collective push that ensured a very successful Irish presence at last week’s Toulouse Cartoon Forum. Ireland was selected to be the first Spotlight country in a renewed bid for the EU-funded Cartoon Forum to ensure diversity.

Founded in 1990, the annual Forum was, at first, in a different city every year, before settling in Toulouse. It could thus concentrate on perfecting its very efficient model, rather than having to reinvent itself each year to fit a new location. Given the strength of French industry and the location, there is, however, the danger of it losing its diversity. So, the new Spotlight idea was introduced this year and Ireland, with its strong animation sector, was a perfect match. In fact, Irish animation is probably more successful than the French industry if the economic performance and audience statistics were converted to a per capita basis.

Paul Young’s company, Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, is no stranger to success either, having been on the Oscar trail with both Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells. In Toulouse, he and Animation Ireland —an association of 22 Irish animation studios— were in the shepherd role, paving the way for the Irish Spotlight presence. Upstream, they’d co-ordinated funding from RTE, the Irish Film Board, Animation Skillnet, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland and, essentially, they formed a team of companies —new kids on the block and old hands— to step up to the pitching mound.

There was also a significant student presence with four students from Dun Laoghaire IADT and four from Ballyfermot Irish School of Animation, a wonderful opportunity for emerging talents to observe at close hand the cosmopolitan co-production crossroads of the very lucrative European animation sector.

They also got a chance to meet the Irish Ambassador, Geraldine Byrne Nason, down from Paris with her team for the opening of the Forum. A dab hand at representing the creative industries abroad, in French and in English, she underlined Ireland’s reputation for storytelling.

And the teams of producers and creators justified Ambassador Byrne Nason’s boast; from a field of eighty projects selected overall (28 French, 9 UK, 8 Irish,…), Irish pitches figured prominently among the most appreciated presentations, notably top player Jam Media’s Snoozeville, exploring the dream world of an eight year old and Giant Animation’s Creepers, whose trio of contrasting heroes, Gwen, Harry and Coop mirror in a cutely autobiographical way the adventures of Giant Animation trio, Alex Sherwood, Ben Harper and Jonathan Clarke.

At the Cartoon Forum, like any animation production, everything is efficiently scheduled and synchronised. At breakfast (aka Croissant Show), in the vast luxury canteen downstairs, intros are made and trailers played for the pitches you can see that morning, three of which will play at any given moment, in the Pink, Purple or Blue rooms upstairs. So, for breakfast, in fact you get a morning ‘toon pitching menu and likewise for lunch, along with company and broadcaster presentations, you get the afternoon pitching sessions trailered.

Other Irish companies’ pitches included Kavaleer’s Alva & the Trolls, Igloo Films Peek Zoo, Keg Kartoonz Zombabies, Salty Dog Pictures’ The Mooneys and Treehouse Republic’s I’ve Got a Time Travelling Monkey on My Back, whose title doubles as a short pitch in itself. Newbies Pink Kong’s Niamh Herrity, Aoife Doyle and Leo Crowley rounded off the proceedings and earned whoops and cheers for their pitch of Urban Tails. It’s a 52 x 2’ series urban wildlife, each in a different city. The pilot is a music video rap song by two inner city foxes, rhyming, moonwalking and oozing attitude, as they scavenge their way round Dublin. You could watch it over and over. Toons with tunes. Others planned include boars in Berlin, swans in Paris and rats in New Yawk City, all smartly educational and sublimely entertaining, aimed at 6-8 year olds of all ages.


Séamas McSwiney is an Irish writer-producer based in Paris

Cartoon Forum 2016 took place 13 – 16 Sep 2016 in Toulouse


Irish Animation at Cartoon Forum


Toulouse will host the 26th edition of Cartoon Forum, the co-production platform for European animation series that will present more than 80 new projects from across Europe from 1518 September 2015.
Over the past quarter of a century, Cartoon Forum has steadily grown in quality and size, with a record 150 projects submitted this year.

About 850 sector professionals will have the opportunity to discover some 540 hours of animated series that can boast of original stories and innovative visual material.

Ireland will present 9 projects this year.

  • “Brewster the Rooster” by Salty Dog Pictures
  • “Burrows” by Telegael
  • “Dorg Van Dango” by Cartoon Saloon
  • “Dougie Noir” by Kavaleer Productions
  • “Ellabie” by Monster Entertainment
  • “First Aid Kitty” by Kid Gloves
  • “Jessy and Nessy” by JAM Media
  • “ShipAntics” by Studio Powwow
  • “Tony & Abigail” by Wiggleywoo


Cartoon Forum takes place 15-18 September 2015 in  Toulouse, Midi-Pyrénées


9 Irish Animation Projects Pitched at Cartoon Forum


9 Irish Animation projects will be among the 86 projects pitched to buyers and investors at the Cartoon Forum next month.

The Cartoon Forum is a unique event focusing on pitching sessions of pre-selected TV projects, where animation producers can find cross-border partners and speed up financial arrangements. It allows co-productions to be finalised, pre-buys agreed, negotiation of distribution agreements, options discussed on every type of right, and licensing of secondary rights. The nine Irish projects selected are:

Dragon Fist – Treehouse Republic
Ellie the Ace – Cartoon Saloon
Little Roy – Jam Media
Kiva Can Do! – Kavaleer Productions
Millie and Mr. Fluff – Mooshku
Papa’s Boy – Ink and Light (a co-production with Muste ja Valo Finland)
Scribe – Wiggleywoo Ltd.
The Dinkers – Monster Entertainment
Wulfie – Wulfie Animation Ltd

Northern Ireland company Flickerpix Animation will also pitch their project Cat & Dog.

Tuilleadh eolais:/Further information:




Photo: Granny O’Grimm (left) and Please Say Something (right)

The 20th anniversary of Cartoon Forum – which drew to a close on September 25 in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, County of Rogaland – showed that animation productions are becoming increasingly attractive and competitive on the international stage.

The ten projects that garnered the most interest among broadcasters, investors, producers and distributors at the meeting were Boo Boo Dolls (Germany); Granny O’Grimm (Ireland); Skybabies (UK); Kinky & Cosy (France); Me and my Robot (France), The Flying Squirrels (Spain); The Secret Life of Suckers (Spain); Copy Cut (France); Pigly (France); and Dustbunnies (UK).

Cartoon Forum has been a driving force behind European animation over the past two decades and can be given credit for this year’s hike in co-productions between two or more European countries (39% vs 20% in 2008) and an increase in projects from countries beyond the traditional ‘big five’, including Ireland, Belgium and the Nordic Countries.

Along with the presentation of these new projects, the event also hosted the Cartoon Tributes and Cartoon d’Or 2009, which have become prestigious awards for European animation. Aimed at recognizing companies or personalities that have had a positive influence on the European animation industry over the last year, this year’s Cartoon Tributes went to NRK (Best Broadcaster), Cake Entertainment (Best Investor/Distributor) and Brown Bag Films (Best Producer).

Meanwhile Irish director David O’Reilly took the Cartoon d’Or 2009 for his innovative short film Please Say Something. Written and directed by O’Reilly, the film won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film earlier this year at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. This year’s jury was composed by directors Serge Elissalde (France), Kari Juusonen (Finland) and Tomm Moore (Ireland).

Organised every year by the European Association of Animation Films, this new edition of Cartoon Forum was supported by EU MEDIA Programme, the County of Rogaland, the cities of Stavanger and Sandnes, the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Innovation Norway, Sparebanken 1 SR-Bank and NRK.