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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Director of Oscar hit 'Song of the Sea' reveals frustration with Irish audiences

New Irish animation film Song of the Sea
New Irish animation film Song of the Sea
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The director of Oscar-nominated 'Song of the Sea' has criticised Irish audiences for failing to support Irish films at the box office.

The hand-drawn animated film opens in cinemas nationwide today, and its director Tomm Moore is encouraging Irish cinema-goers to "shop local" this weekend.

"There are big summer blockbusters on show but I hope Irish audiences come out and support the film," he said. "It is a bit like shopping locally - by supporting the film you are putting money back into your own economy.

"The people who made this film are living and working here so by seeing it you are supporting the local economy."

Moore admits it can be exasperating when home-produced films fail to be commercially successful in Ireland - despite receiving international acclaim.

"It can be frustrating when you have spent years working on a film and people don't watch it," he said.

"Irish people are very supportive at one level; they will ask about the Oscars but then they won't watch the movie.

"I sometimes tell people: 'I'll only talk about the Oscars if you watch the film'," he laughed.

Head of the Irish Film Board, James Hickey, has previously acknowledged the challenge Irish movies face at the box office.

"It will always be a relentless thing," he said at the launch of the 2014 production slate. "Irish films simply do not have the same promotional budgets as Hollywood films."

Song of the Sea draws inspiration from mythological 'selkies' - a half-human, half-seal hybrid.

"Myself and the rest of the team put our hearts and souls into it," Moore said.

"It all depends on how many people go to cinemas and watch it this weekend.

"We need a good box office over the next few days to make sure the film stays in the cinema for as long as possible."


The film follows on from the success of Moore's 2010 film 'The Secret of Kells'.

Produced in Kilkenny's award-winning animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, the creative team have ensured their home town is well represented in the movie.

"We squashed a few Kilkenny landmarks into the film, Billy Byrnes pub is in there," he said

"We also used a hurl with the Kilkenny colours and a few family members are in the background."

The studio is currently working on its next feature animation, an adaptation of Deborah Ellis's 2000 novel 'The Breadwinner'.

Moore is also in pre-production on an animation about Oliver Cromwell entitled 'Wolf Walkers'.

Irish Independent

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