Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey wins Prestigious Murakami Award at the Irish Animation Awards

The 2019 Irish Animation Awards ceremony was held in Dingle last night (Saturday 23rd March) and the big winner was Nora Twomey, who won the prestigious Murakami Award for outstanding contribution to animation. The Irish director was the driving force behind Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar nominated feature The Breadwinner.

The new animation studio Paper Panther Productions scooped up three awards, including Best Animation and Best Design & Art Direction for the stunning The Bird and The Whale. They also won the Best Newcomer Award, a new category introduced this year.

The glitzy event is organised by Animation Ireland and is a major highlight in the global animation calendar, with this year’s ceremony hosting large delegations from Netflix, Disney, the BBC, Amazon Prime, Nickelodeon and many other international production houses.

Among the other major winners on the night were Cartoon Saloon for The Breadwinner (Best Feature) and Brown Bag Films for Vampirina, which won Best Animated Preschool Series (up to 6 years) and Best Writer for an Animated Series.

Boulder Media and Windmill Lane’s Danger Mouse was another outstanding success, bringing home three awards for Best Director, Best Music and Best Sound Design.

Commenting on the ceremony, Animation Ireland Chairperson Moe Honan said; ’the evening was a tremendous success and once again highlights the vibrancy and talent within our sector. This country really punches above its weight when it comes to animation and the number of senior executives and producers from overseas who were there last night pays testament to that.’’ 

Moe went on to say;  ‘’on behalf of animation Ireland I would like to say a very hearty congratulations to all the winners. The level of quality this year has been truly outstanding from all the entrants and it really highlights the magnificent talent of the animation sector in Ireland.’’

The awards this year was the biggest yet for animation Ireland, with four new awards categories and a huge increase in the number of entrants. There are 16 categories in total, up from 12 in 2017 and one of our new awards is the Kids’ Choice Award, with the winner being chosen by primary school children across the country. Another new category is Best Newcomer, which according to Moe Honan ‘’shows the continuing increase in the amount of new studios being set up. The new award categories and the sheer volume of entries reflect the substantial growth in the sector over the past two years.’’

The 2019 Irish Animation Awards were sponsored by RTÉ, Screen Ireland, Animation Skillnet, Philip Lee, CelAction, Screen Skills Ireland, Brophy Gillespie and Gorilla Post.

Winners of each category received a statuette designed by animator, film maker and teacher Eimhin McNamara. The statuette resembles a Phenakistoscope which was an early animation device used to create an illusion of motion.

Animation Ireland is the trade association for Ireland’s animation studios, representing 25 member studios who employ more than 1,500 people nationwide. The sector has seen meteoric growth in recent years, with the sector now generating over €100 million for the economy annually as Irish animation projects are viewed in over 120 countries worldwide.

For more details on the Irish Animation Awards please visit

For more information on Animation Ireland please visit

Image 1 (top): Nora Twomey, Cartoon Saloon; Winner of the Murakami Award and Best Feature Film at the Irish Animation Awards.  Best Feature Film presented by Matthias Lechner (pictured), Disney Animation; (Photographer, Jamie Tanner).

Image 2:  Moe Honan, Moetion Films & Industry Chair Animation Ireland. (Photographer,  Jamie Tanner).

Full List of Winners of The Irish Animation Awards 2019

Best Animated Preschool Series (up to 6 years)
Vampirina: Going Batty – Brown Bag Films

Best Animated Short Film
The Wiremen: Jessica Patterson/ JAM Media

Best International Short Film
All the Things- Chris Guyot & Paul McMahon (USA/IRL)

Best Writer for Preschool Animation (up to 6 years)
Becca’s Bunch: Acorn King- Shane Langan & Amy Stephenson

Best Writer for an Animated Series
Vampirina: Home Scream Home -Chris Nee/ Brown Bag Films

Best VFX as part of Animated TV Series or Film
Space Chickens in Space – Paul Rutledge/ Gingerbread Animation

Best Animation for Apps, Gaming and Interactive
Aurora- Pink Kong Studios

Best Design and Art Direction
The Bird and the Whale- Carol Freeman/ Paper Panther Productions

Best Director of an Animated TV Series
Danger Mouse- Aidan McAteer/ Boulder Media

Best Animation
The Bird and the Whale- Eimhin McNamara & Carol Freeman/ Paper Panther

Best Music
Danger Mouse: Melted- Sanj Sen and Dominic Lawrence /Boulder Media

Best Sound Design
Danger Mouse- Dominic Lawrence and Sol O’Carroll/ Windmill Lane

Best Irish Feature Film or Special
The Breadwinner- Nora Twomey/ Cartoon Saloon

Best Newcomer
Paper Panther Productions

Kid’s Choice Award For Best Pre-School Animated Series (up to 6 years)
The Doc Mc Stuffins Christmas Special-Brown Bag Films

Kid’s Choice Award For Best Animated Series (6-12 years)
Space Chickens in Space- Gingerbread Animation

Murakami Award
Nora Twomey, Cartoon Saloon

Rory Sweeney
Paul Allen & Associates
18 Fitzwilliam Square South, Dublin 2
01 676 9575/086 897 6442