First of all, a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. Remember, Guinness is Irish; corned beef and cabbage is not.
Irish animation has been on a roll the last few years as the combination of a strong talent pool. entrepreneurs willing to take a risk, continuous production demand, excellent products and a little help from the government in the form of tax incentives has made the country a very favourable one to do business in. In other words, the hard work continues to pay off.
Production now extends across the entire content landscape, from shorts through TV all the way to feature films. This growth has caused the industry to continue its expansions and growth at a time when the Irish economy as a whole has been struggling (to put it lightly).
No one studio seems to have eked out a significant lead as the larger ones have managed to succeed by going in different directions. Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon hit it right out of the park a few years ago with The Secret of Kells. As of 2012, development continues on their much-anticipated next feature, Song of the Sea.
Brown Bag Films has cemented their position as the studio to watch on the international stage. Besides announcing the sale of their first original series, Happy Hugglemonsters, they’ve also maintained their production series The Octonauts. Now employing over 100 people, Brown Bag have seem poised to continue their growth for the coming year.
Besides these two well-known outfits, other studios such as Jam Media, Kavaleer Productions (which recently celebrated 10 years in business), Boulder Media (currently winning accolades for their work on the Amazing World of Gumball), Telegael, Monster Animation and Caboom all continue to propel the industry to worldwide attention and admiration.
Noted newcomers this year include Giant Creative which has marked themselves out as a crowd to keep an eye on over the coming years.
Perhaps the largest sign that Ireland is making waves in the animated seas is the fact that this year’s Annecy festival will have a central focus on the country and what it can offer. Big things are expected to be announced come June.
Overall, the outlook for Irish animation is extremely positive for 2012 and beyond. Here’s hoping next year’s post will have even more good things to say.