Cartoon Saloon goes solo with jobs boost for city

OSCAR-NOMINATED animation studio Cartoon Saloon will provide a badly-needed boost to the local economy with the creation of thirty jobs for their new feature film The Song of the Sea.

OSCAR-NOMINATED animation studio Cartoon Saloon will provide a badly-needed boost to the local economy with the creation of thirty jobs for their new feature film The Song of the Sea.

Pre production on the film, which will cost 5.3million euro will begin this autumn.

Creative director, Tomm Moore told the Kilkenny People that he had ruled out working with Hollywood giants Dreamworks on the production.

“We realised that going down the Dreamworks road wasn’t right for this project. We didn’t agree with them on how the story should be told so we are moving forward. Finances for the project have to be sorted out by September or October,” he said.

Rights to the film have been sold to a UK distributor Optimum and lessons have been learned from the studio’s experience with The Secret of Kells, which despite being a massive international success did not attract as much attention in Ireland. “We will probably release it abroad first and then in Ireland. It seems to be a better strategy,” said Tomm.

Cartoon Saloon expect to be working to full capacity by late autumn with work also ongoing on a pilot for Disney, MoonMan, a co-production due to start in the next few weeks.

“During Kells and Skunk Fu we had 75 in total in the studio and we could expect a similar number again. For Song of the Sea the crew in Kilkenny will be a maximum of thirty,” he added.

Song of the Sea follows the adventures of Saoirse, the last of the selkies, legendary seals who can change into women. She escapes from her grandmother’s house and travels with her brother, freeing fairy creature trapped in the modern world and Fionnuala Flanagan, who starred in The Others and Lost will provide the voice of Saoirse’s grandmother and Macha, an Irish witch.

Meanwhile Kilkenny born, Tomm who is one of the founding members of the Saloon is currently in Annecy where he is part of the selection committee for their film festival.

Last week he spent St Patrick’s Day as a guest of the Obama family in the White House. “I shook hands with the President and we were shown around the White House.

“On the Friday I had dinner with the new Taoiseach Enda Kenny and I was sitting beside Ferghal Purcell, who was announced as the new government press officer and grew up beside me in Kilkenny. This week I am watching cartoons all week in Annecy as part of their selection committee. I really couldn’t have picked a better job for myself,” he added.