The National Film School Lecture Series: Tomm Moore


The National Film School Lecture Series in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann / The Irish Film Board present Tomm Moore, Academy Award®-nominated Animation Director.

Tomm Moore co-founded Cartoon Saloon in 1999 and, during the company’s history, he has worked as Director, Art Director, Storyboarder, Animator and Illustrator on a range of projects. He has directed two feature films, The Secret Of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014),  and both  received Oscar® nominations for Best Animated Feature. Tomm also directed the “On Love” segment for The Prophet (2014), a feature animation produced by Salma Hayek, based on the book by Kahlil Gibran. Winner of two IFTAs, and co-creator of TV series, Puffin Rock, Tomm is dividing his time between the development of his latest project, Wolf Walkers, and Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner,  of which he is a producer.

The talk will be held on the IADT campus in Room A019 at 2.00 pm on WEDNESDAY 11 MAY 2016 at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology | Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.



Irish Film Review: Song of the Sea


DIR: Tomm Moore • WRI: Will Collins, Tomm Moore • PRO: Claus Toksvig Kjaer, Tomm Moore, Paul Young • ED: Darragh Byrne • MUS: Bruno Coulais • CAST: Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Lucy O’Connell


Acclaimed Irish filmmaker and illustrator Tomm Moore follows up his first Oscar-nominated feature, medieval fantasy quest The Secret of Kells (2009) with another mythological and magical tale of venture steeped in legend and lore in his second consecutive nominated film, Song of the Sea. Inspired by the mysterious, fabled selkie creatures, who inhabit the land as humans but transform into seals at sea, Moore’s timeless tale, nostalgically delineated in hand-drawn, 2D animation, melds the mystical of yesteryear with a specific time in contemporary Irish culture to create a heartfelt story of origins, home and identity that will resonate with audiences of all ages.


Ben lives with his little sister Saoirse and father Conor in a lighthouse off the Irish coast. Their selkie mother returned to the sea six years previously, leaving Ben devastated and his father unable to cope. Troubled Ben grows increasingly resentful of mute Saoirse, who appears to embody the selkie tales told to him by his mother and whom he blames for her abrupt departure. When Saoirse discovers a white sealskin coat she is called to the sea and it is revealed that, she too, is a selkie and swims with the seals until she is washed up ashore, prompting Granny to take the children to the city for their own safety. Yearning to return home, they run away and in their adventurous quest, they encounter a host of mythical characters inhabiting a lost and forgotten world, who either help or hinder their challenging venture to see them safely back to the island.


Set in the 1980s and voiced by an all-star Irish cast, including Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Lisa Hannigan and Pat Shortt, Song of the Sea is a retrospective celebration of an Irish culture and identity that no longer appears visible in the nation’s ever-changing cultural landscape. Rooted in a particular space and time, depicted through its recognisable pre-Celtic Tiger iconography, unobtrusive Irish symbolism and colloquial expression, the film is a romantic and wistful portrait of a defunct past that evokes a particular cultural mood and serves as a welcoming breath of fresh air in a genre that is wholly engaged with a hyper-sophisticated, CGI platform. The film’s revisionist perspective elicits a deep emotional resonance to a specific cultural identity while also challenging the art of contemporary animation through its bewitching use of a traditional and predominantly redundant means of animation filmmaking. Moore’s hand-drawn, water-coloured aesthetic executes a craftsmanship that stimulates an intimacy, charm and melancholic beauty and which sits in complete opposition to its successor’s craft, so that each frame stands alone as a conventional laboured work of artistry and finesse.


A masterful storyteller, Moore’s dreamscape retrospectively entwines a bewitching fantasy of ancient folklore with a heart-warming contemporary narrative to marry the traditional with the new, the fantastic with the real, the joyous with the sinister and the mystical with the cynical. Narratively more accessible and visually more arresting than The Secret of Kells, the classic narrative of attempts to reach home in the face of adversity, driven by a host of recognizable archetypes in possession of traditional Irish values, engenders a nostalgically recognizable milieu that summons a language and behaviour of a bygone era, bringing a sense of wondrous familiarity to the film’s narrative and overall comforting aesthetic. Song of the Sea explicitly embraces its revisionism through its highly conventional narrative, stereotypes and style to commemorate a time when a sense of collective national and cultural identity appeared more clearly defined and resolute. Moore, however, does not glorify an idealised past in blissful amnesia. Shards in the narrative detail dark subtexts infusing a socio-cultural commentary that is fully aware of the past’s own failings. Themes of abandonment, alcoholism, depression, grief and isolation recall metaphorical legends of an ancient past realised through a more conflicted contemporary narrative, creating a vision that is both romantic and discordant but underpinning a sentimentality that is firmly embedded in its Irish identity.


Song of the Sea is a magical feast of visual delights, narrative intrigue and nostalgic revisionism that will appeal to the inner child of all ages. It can be viewed as a yearning to return to a familiar past and reclaim a forgotten identity, lost in an ever-increasing chaotic culture, both narratively and within the context of the animation genre. It serves to reinforce a more coherent vision of the past through its use of over-familiar and universal narrative devices, which will effectively resonate with knowing audiences, particularly those familiar with the pre-Celtic Tiger era in Irish culture. Song of the Sea does not seek to dethrone the existing digital prowess dominating the animation genre but rather through revisiting conventional mores within the genre itself it, celebrates a simplistic but highly emotive method of animation filmmaking and a distinctly traditional way of authentic Irish life.

Dee O’Donoghue

PG (See IFCO for details)
93 minutes

Song of the Sea is released 10th July 2015

Song of the Sea – Official Website











Tomm Moore to Receive The Murakami Award at Animation Dingle



Tomm Moore, director of Oscar®-nominated The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, will receive The Murakami Award at the Irish Animation Awards in Dingle. Animation Dingle (12 – 13 March) is part of the Dingle International Film Festival (12 – 15 March).

James Hickey, CEO of The Irish Film Board, will hand over the award to Tomm at a presentation as part of the Awards in The Skellig Hotel this Friday night.

The first ever Irish Animation Awards will take place on Friday 13th March at the Dingle Skelligs Hotel in Dingle. This is Animation Irelands’ inaugural awards ceremony to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding creative talent  within the Irish Animation, VFX and gaming industries. The awards also recognise and support animation students and we acknowledge them with our “Best Student Film” category.

Each of the 12 categories have been appointed two judges that worked together to agree the shortlist and will choose the final winner.  Chairs and Judges include Jackie Edwards – Executive Producer of Cbeebies Animation, Tim Patterson – VP, Director of Programming at Nickelodeon UK, Sarah Muller Head of Acquisitions at CBBC, Helen McAleer – Chief Global Development Officer for the Walker Group and a host of names from the world of animation and children’s Television.


Tickets are available at or you can call the bookings line 0851974481






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:


The Secret of Kells and Cherrybomb Premiere at Berlin

Irish films The Secret of Kells and Cherrybomb had their world premieres yesterday at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The Secret of Kells, directed by Tomm Moore and produced by European Producer of the Year, Cartoon Saloon, is a beautifully animated film featuring the voice talent of Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally and will screen as part of the Generation K plus section of the festival.

Cherrybomb, directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn and written by Daragh Carville has been officially selected as part of the Generation 14Plus programme. It stars Robert Sheehan, Rupert Grint and Kimberley Nixon.

Irish audiences will have an opportunity to see both films during the upcoming Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. The Secret of Kells will close this year’s festival on 22nd February at the Savoy. Cherrybomb screens on 20th February at Cineworld.

Irish talent is well represented at the Berlin festival with a wide number of producers travelling to raise finance for their feature films. A number of emerging Irish filmmakers have also been selected to participate in an exciting international initiative Advance Party II which will develop eight new films from some of the most exciting filmmaking talent emerging from the UK and Ireland. Eight directors were selected and include emerging Irish filmmakers Rory Bresnihan, Ciaran Foy, Oscar® nominee Steph Green and Enda Hughes, who will come together at the festival to work together on eight new scripts.

Other new Irish filmmakers have been selected for the prestigious Berlin Talent Campus at the festival. Filmmakers include Patrick Butler (director/producer), Narayan Van Maele (cinematographer/director), Lauren Mackenzie, (writer/director), Michael Kinirons, (writer/director), John Hayes (director) and Rebecca Daly (director).

An Irish reception at the Festival will take place tonight to celebrate new Irish cinema at the festival and to provide key networking opportunities for the industry delegates.