Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland and Animation Ireland are delighted to announce the 10 animation and interactive company recipients of this year’s Animation Innovation and Immersive Development Fund. The €400,000 fund, which is in collaboration with Cultural & Creative Industries Skillnet & Eirmersive, is an investment in projects and concepts that explore the new opportunities for storytelling offered by immersive technologies.
The successful proposals this year include: the use of motion capture to deliver accessible, entertaining sign language to deaf and hard-of-hearing children; an immersive theatre/documentary experience based on the work of painter Sean Keating; a virtual reality ‘reality show’ series; and the exploration of new methodologies for hand-drawn animation.
Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, said:
“Screen Ireland is delighted to continue our support and investment in Irish animation with the Animation Innovation and Immersive Development Fund. Each of the selected projects are a glimpse into the potential future of storytelling; and the range of technologies and subjects here showcase a wealth of originality, ambition, and diversity. We’re looking forward to seeing these projects come to life over time, and to the growth of further innovation and original IP across the sector.”
The Animation Innovation and Immersive Development Fund reinforces Screen Ireland’s ambition to highlight Ireland as a centre of excellence in animation, while diversifying the scale and breadth of what the industry has to offer. Since the fund was initially launched in 2021, Screen Ireland has invested in 30 innovative, high-concept development projects across areas such as immersive storytelling, VR, augmented reality and app development.
Ronan McCabe, Chief Executive of Animation Ireland, said:
“Animation Ireland would like to congratulate all the successful funding recipients from the third Screen Ireland Innovation Funding round. Once again we have been very impressed by the high standard of the applications and how reflective they are of the animation industry’s embrace and exploitation of new technology. We look forward to showcasing the projects at the Animation Ireland Conference in 2024.”
The selected projects and companies for the 2023 Animation Concept and Innovation Fund are:
Algorithm is an immersive production studio specialising in content creation for live events and immersive mediums.
Concept Proposal – VR-Based Creative Development Environment Tool:
This tool will be a new addition to Algorithm’s existing Orbit system for developing immersive experiences, allowing all team members and stakeholders to convene in a virtual reality space and collaborate and discuss the project, making instant annotations or drawings to communicate changes. It will also allow the team to preview the experience in virtual representations of different venues, to give an understanding of how different audiences will experience the finished project and allow for adaptation and scalability without physical venue checks. Crucially, it will facilitate collaborative real-time interaction within the creative and technical team.
Imvizar creates and hosts Augmented Reality experiences on their global streaming platform, revolutionising storytelling and engagement at attractions, towns and cities using next generation immersive experiences.
Concept Proposal – ‘Monto’ Augmented Reality:
A virtual, augmented reality walk through Dublin’s most infamous red-light district at the peak of its notoriety. Monto AR will allow users to interact with and listen to the stories of the working-class community who lived in the Monto, digitally reconstructed to experience the street as it was at the end of the 19th Century.
JAM Media, with operations in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, is one of the leading creators and producers of multi-award winning animated and live action content for the children’s and pre-school audience.
Concept Proposal – Performance capture sign language character for children’s programming, ‘Maki Signs’:
‘Maki Signs’ is a vibrant and relatable cartoon character, designed to bridge content accessibility gaps for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Providing sign language interpretation for young people’s programming, Maki will be brought to life using cutting-edge performance capture technology and rendered in real time using Unreal Engine. This results in a dynamic and engaging character that can effectively communicate in sign language, captivating young audiences and making the viewing experience more immersive, fun and inclusive.
Little Moon Animation
Little Moon Animation is a CG studio based in Dublin and dedicated to creating compelling projects, full of character and imaginative story, brought to life through beautiful animation.
Concept Proposal – Innovation Animation Through Virtual Puppetry
The development of a tailor-made Virtual Puppetry pipeline within Little Moon Animation, allowing the studio to develop and capitalise on new and continued IP. By allowing real-time animation capture through the use of a puppetry rig, the project seeks to revolutionise the conventional animation production model by dramatically reducing both costs and production timelines.
Phil’s Deep Thoughts
The production company for filmmakers and visual artists Linda Curtin & David Keating.
Concept Proposal – SIT, STAND, OR SMOKE: A Virtual Reality Experience
Part drama, part documentary, part theatre – SIT, STAND, OR SMOKE is a Virtual Reality experience aimed at capturing the unique events that led to the creation of the painting ‘Men of the South’ by artist Sean Keating. Using dramatic reconstruction, tableau vivant and a cast of actors – and employing volumetric capture, 360 degree shooting and 3D animation – the audience will be placed at the centre of an immersive journey into the emotional world of the painting’s origins and story.
ShinAwiL is one of the largest and most successful independent production companies in Ireland, specialising in non-scripted entertainment, factual entertainment, live event programming and now scripted drama.
Concept Proposal – Escape From Belvelly Castle / The Villa
A virtual reality series, shot in fully immersive 360° video, Escape From Belvelly Castle is a supernatural thriller following three couples from various parts of the globe who are finalists in a social media competition to win the castle itself. Each couple has auditioned to take part in a fun yet competitive weekend of cutthroat games to determine the lucky winners. Little do they know, they won’t be playing for the castle: they’ll be playing for their lives.
Studio Meala is an award-winning animation studio based in the west of Ireland, producing original IP and specialising in outstanding hand-drawn 2D animation.
Concept Proposal – Queen Maeve
The development of a proof-of-concept pitch for an animated feature film, aimed at a young adult audience, retelling the story of Irish mythological legend Queen Maeve. Using a combination of hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery, the project’s goal will be to redevelop Studio Meala’s production pipeline for feature production, focusing on implementing new and ethical technologies to improve storytelling quality, while maintaining the craft of animation.
Turnip + Duck
Turnip + Duck is an award-winning, writer-led, creator studio that originates, develops, and produces kids’ comedy which is smart, funny, inclusive, and just a tad irreverent.
Concept Proposal – Designing for the Unseen
A collaboration between Turnip + Duck, Angel Eyes, and Wolffsohn Research, this project proposes further research and development into a best practice model that will support animators and teams to animate with vision-impaired audiences in mind. Using Maddie + Triggs, a series aimed at young audiences aged 4-7, as a case study – the project will support teams and individuals working in animation to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to have a visual impairment and how this can be applied to their craft as part of the overall animation pipeline, improving access to audiovisual content for vision impaired users.
Wiggleywoo is an award-winning animation studio in Dublin, set up by Gilly and Susan Broe. Their preschool series The Day Henry Met is now broadcast in 192 countries worldwide.
Concept Proposal – Deco Records Phase 2
Deco’s Records is the world’s first animated record label – its first phase supported by Round 1 of the Animation Innovation Fund in 2021. Phase 2 will further promote the label and its artists – with the production of two additional music videos for the project, a six-part podcast, and a website.
Zanzibar Films is one of the leaders in the Irish and European film and television industry, producing over 41 award-winning film and TV projects.
Concept Proposal – Ours
An ambitious sci-fi single-player or cooperative game that leverages bleeding-edge technologies like AI, machine learning, and VFX simulations, alongside strong art direction. Ours explores what happens when a hostile prison ship full of outcast humans returns to Earth after 18 years in deep space, only to find the planet inhabited by a peaceful civilization of highly evolved synthetic beings.