Oscar-Nominated Irish Film gets Limited Release of Iconic Stills


One of Ireland’s leading animation studios Cartoon Saloon has released a set of 16 limited edition prints from its 2010 Academy award-nominated film The Secret of Kells.

These one-of-a-kind, handcrafted prints are gloriously high-resolution, gallery-quality scene illustrations from the critically acclaimed film and draw heavily on the ornate and richly textured Irish medieval art that influenced the film. Each scene illustration from the lovingly crafted film is a must-have for film and animation fans, art collectors and historians alike.

Ever since the release of the film, fans have often asked director Tomm Moore how they could own a piece of ‘Kells’ art. Now the studio can meet that demand with this set of limited edition prints crafted by the Cartoon Saloon team.

And, as well as being available for purchase and making a handsome addition to both galleries and any fan’s personal collection, the illustrations will accompany the film as it continues to play at art centres and cinemas worldwide.


Moore and his team went through the more than 200 scene illustrations in the film and selected a short list of 16 scenes from which they made the set of prints. And as well as being personally signed by the director each print is created using archival quality pigment inks on museum quality Hahnemühle Cotton Rag fine art paper and comes framed in the floating deep black timber frame. The prints will be are ready to hang anywhere in the world and are shipped directly from Kilkenny where Cartoon Saloon is based.

The new Secret of Kells Store website features the full range of prints as well exclusive video downloads where Tomm Moore and art director Ross Stewart explain the process and journey behind the creation of each scene illustration.

Moore was on hand recently to launch the prints at the prestigious Hay Festival in Kells, Co. Meath. He said: “Each scene in this special film is its own work of art I hope many will enjoy having a lifelong memento of the film and the story as well as a valuable piece of contemporary Irish art.”

Since the launch the prints have been on public exhibition of the prints at Kilkenny’s IDEATE art and design festival and are set to tour to various other locations internationally in the coming months.


Specifics about the Prints

The prints come framed in a deep, black timber frame 690mm by 460mm and 55mm deep with the individual prints 510mm x 280mm mounted in a floating design. Each print is individually signed and numbered by director Tomm Moore. The image is printed using Epson Ultrachrome HDR archival quality pigment inks on museum quality Hahnemühle Cotton Rag 308g/m2 fine art paper.

How to Buy the Prints

The prints can be viewed online at http://www.secretofkellsstore.com and are priced at $500/€385 for each signed framed print, which will include a certificate of authenticity and also includes shipping and all applicable local taxes worldwide. Depending on location, shipping may take up to three weeks.



We Love… 25 Years of Irish Film – The Secret of Kells

Illustration: Adeline Pericart

So Film Ireland magazine is 25 years old. Over those years Ireland has produced some great films which have been successful both here and abroad – not to mention nabbing a few Oscars® along the way. And so over the next couple of weeks Film Ireland‘s army of cinema dwellers look back over the last 25 years and recall their favourite Irish films in the latest installment of…

We Love…

25 Years of Irish Film

The Secret of Kells

(Tomm Moore, 2009)

‘… a sumptuously animated feast for the eyes…’

Cathy Butler

The Secret of Kells, Tomm Moore’s richly visual interpretation of the mythology surrounding The Book of Kells, centres much around the theme of ‘turning darkness into light’. Ireland, in a literal sense, can often be a dark and gloomy place thanks to our Atlantic climate. Perhaps Irish animators are turning this ‘darkness into light’ through means of their multitude and diverse works. Irish animation has been gaining in strength over the past ten or twenty years. Short animated films such as Fifty Percent Grey and Give Up Yer Aul Sins have demonstrated how Irish animation has resonance on the international platform, both works gaining Academy Award nominations. The Secret of Kells is another addition to this growing legacy, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, and winning the Audience Award at both Dublin and Edinburgh film festivals.

Ireland’s transition from Paganism to Christianity is so far back in our history as to be shrouded in darkness; it is this darkness that Moore manages to illuminate in this intensely visual fictional account of one of Ireland’s literary landmarks. The story begins with Brendan, a young boy living in a monastery under the authority of his uncle, the Abbot Cellach. The threat of the imminent arrival of viking invaders causes the Abbot to relentlessly pursue the building of a wall around the monastery to protect them. The monks of the scriptorium are more concerned with their writing and illumination than building the wall, much to the irritation of the Abbot. With the arrival of ‘master illuminator’ Brother Aidan and his enlisting of Brendan’s help to complete the most magnificent page of ‘The Book of Iona’, Brendan’s crossed loyalties to both Aidan and the Abbot bring him on some perilous adventures.


 Wait until you see the rest of my forest

What ensues is a sumptuously animated feast for the eyes. The lush, mysterious forest that surrounds the monastery is richly depicted, while the shadowy, threatening figures of the horned ‘northmen’ are vividly rendered. The sheer extent of the detail makes the film a true feat of artistic and technical endeavour. The animation draws off various tropes of ancient Irish art, such as concentric circles and serpentine patterns, and reworks them into this more contemporary manifestation. Refreshingly, the film’s use of such aspects of ancient Irish culture and mythology does not stray into twee stage-irishness, as it could so easily do.

The narrative retains the fun and frolics of a children’s film while managing to tackle larger, universal themes. Brendan’s journey back and forth from the monastery to the forest is one that echoes of the journey from innocence to experience. The organised world of the monastery, emblematic of Christianity, is contrasted with the beauty of the natural world, that more aligned with Paganism. In another sense, the schism within the monastery between working on the wall and working on illumination suggests on a basic level the pursuit of art in the face of more practical concerns. For cinematic visuals, engaging story, and insightful themes, The Secret of Kells ticks all boxes.

Cathy Butler



More Details of The Underground Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire Announced

Submerge yourself in Independent Irish Film with the Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) which will take place in Dun Laoghaire between September 9th and 11th.


This year’s festival offers an incredible mix of film for professional filmmakers as well as genuine film lovers. On offer this year are 70 short Irish films, 15 independent features, an Irish language programme, a children’s programme and free workshops from some of the country’s best writers, directors and actors including: Una Kavanagh, Noel Brady, Edwina Forkin, Marie Caffrey, Ali Coffey, Vinny Murphy and Ferdia MacAnna to name but a few.


Q&A sessions have been arranged with such renowned figures as director Terry McMahon (Charlie Casanova), actor Mark O’ Halloran (Adam & Paul), director Jason Figgis (3 Crosses) actor Emmett Scanlan (Blood, 3 Crosses) and director Conor Horgan (One Hundred Mornings).


Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include the Dublin Premiere of Charlie Casanova  (opening film) and the multi award winning Tin Can Man  (closing film). We are also delighted to be screening the 20th Anniversary of Screening of The Commitments followed by an interview with writer Roddy Doyle.


70 short films will be screened as part of the Shorts Section including Gerard Lough’s horror The Boogeyman, and David O’Neill’s The Shadowboxer.


Entertainment in the evening will be provided by Comedian Joe Rooney and Musicians and Artist Aindrias De Staic. For the kids, Sinead Monaghan will keep the young audience busy with her free puppet workshops and face painting.


UCFF Weekend will embrace 5 major venues in Dun Laoghaire: The IMC Cinema, The Royal Marine Hotel, The Kingston Hotel, The Dun Laoghaire Club and Privé Nightclub, the official Festival Club.



The event is crowned with The Underground Cinema Awards Ceremony held in Fiztpatrick’s Castle Hotel in Killiney on 17th September.


More information on tickets, programming and workshops can be found on



Line Up Announced for Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire 9th -11th Sept

The Underground Film Festival have announced their program for this year’s festival which runs from Friday, 9th September to Sunday, 11th September at various venues across Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Highlights include, the Dublin Premiere of the award-winning Charlie Casanova and the 20th Anniversary Screening of The Commitments with Roddy Doyle in attendance.  On top of that there is a special screening of The Secret Of Kells for the kids, over 70 short Irish films and an incredible selection of film workshops from some of the best experts in the business.

For full details visit http://www.undergroundcinema-filmfestival.com/


‘The Secret of Kells’ Success

The Secret of Kells was awarded European Animated Feature at this year’s 8th annual British Animation Awards held at the BFI Southbank in London

The Secret of Kells was up against Peurs du Noir from Prima Linea Productions; Folimages’ Mia et le Migou; Melusine Productions’ Panique au Village; Dragon Hunters from Futurikon; and Milimages SA’s Lascars.

For a full list of Animation Award winners, please click here.


Win for 'The Secret Of Kells'

Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret Of Kells has won the Audience Award at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival, with the award being presented by Sir Sean Connery.

The Secret Of Kells will be released on DVD in Ireland on 7th of August 2009.


Win for The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells, a co-production between Ireland, France and Belgium, has won best director (Tomm Moore) and best producer (Cartoon Saloon, Les Armateurs and Vivi Film) of the year at Cartoon Movie Tributes 2009, awards given at the annual Cartoon Movie forum. The three-day event is a business forum for the European animation industry and held its 11th edition 4–6 March in Lyon, France

620 sector professionals came together to see over 50 productions including both completed films and works in progress. One of the new developments of Cartoon Movie 2009 was the participation of producers from the videogame industry. 3D films targeted at family audiences are also extremely popular.

Since 1999, more than 130 projects with a total budget of €800 million have obtained full financing due to this annual forum aimed at strengthening the production and distribution of animated feature films in Europe. Cartoon Movie’s next edition will be held in Lyon from 3–5 March, 2010.

The Secret of Kells is currently on nationwide release in cinemas.