Irish animation centre stage at French festival
They are our cuddliest exports, loved by pre-schoolers far and wide – and luckily for us, they are virtually recession-proof.
Irish animation took centre stage at the industry's most prestigious festival in the picturesque French lakeside town of Annecy.
Two popular Irish TV series 'Octonauts' and 'Wildernuts', along with feature documentary film 'Last Hijack', are in the running for the Official Selection in the main competition.
Irish animation producers are rubbing shoulders with global broadcasters during the festival, with every channel looking for the next big thing.
Also at Annecy is Irish short film 'The Missing Scarf', narrated by Star Trek's George Takei – a black comedy which won Best Animation at the New Hampshire Film Festival in the US and Best European Short Film at the Seminci Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain. It is also nominated for Best European Short Film at the European Film Awards 2014
Darragh O'Connell from Brown Bag Films – the makers of massive Disney hits 'Doc McStuffins' and 'Henry Hugglemonster', along with the Emmy nominated 'Octonauts' series, said that Ireland is "definitely one of the hottest countries for animation" over the last few years now.
Brown Bag Films, which has a staff of around 160 people, has also received eight Emmy award nominations for its 'Peter Rabbit' series.
"We're definitely punching above our weight and that's a testament to the talent available right now in Ireland," said Darragh.
He said there was no secret to their success but that it was down to the "whole combination – the Irish gift for story-telling, our legendary welcome, the language and the fact that we are one hour closer to the US."
Paul Young, of Cartoon Saloon, is in Annecy selling new movie, 'The Song of the Sea' featuring the voice of Brendan Gleeson.
It tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child who embark on a fantastic journey through Irish legend in a bid to return to their home by the sea.