Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland is delighted to announce the 10 animation company recipients of the Animation Concept and Innovation Fund, in partnership with Animation Ireland. The funding, part of a Support Package for the Animation Sector made available by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, will invest €400,000 in innovative, high-concept development and business growth opportunities with a maximum of €50,000 allocated per proposal.
Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive of Screen Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support the continued success and growth of the animation sector by providing further investment in creative innovation. Screen Ireland is committed to expanding new talent and industry opportunities, encouraging creative innovation in new areas and diversifying the scale and breadth of what the industry has to offer. These original and exciting concept proposals will allow companies to explore new storytelling avenues and technical ambitions. With audiences always at the heart of creative success, we are looking forward to seeing these projects come to life.”
Ronan McCabe, Chief Executive Animation Ireland said ‘’Screen Ireland’s Animation Concept and Creative Innovation Development Fund is a huge milestone for the animation sector in Ireland. Our animation studios are bursting with talent, innovative ideas and creativity and this fund is aimed at helping them develop these ideas into commercially successful projects. The Irish animation sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, but we need to keep supporting the innovation and creativity that underpins it. Together with Screen Ireland we have identified ten worthy projects to support.’’
The projects and concepts selected for the fund range from Pink Kong Studio’s AR mythology-based card game; Little Moon’s proposal for the development of a language learning app for children; and Galway-based Magpie 6 Media’s voice-activated AI interactive story. New workflows and production processes will also be supported, where studios like Algorithm will test new pipelines to speed up the rendering process for a national heritage project, and Studio 9 will develop a new offering in puppet-making for 3D stop motion animation.
Each company was assessed on criteria measuring the quality of the proposal, level of innovation involved in the project, and its appeal to the market. With a strong emphasis on business development, the fund was designed to support the Irish animation sector as it responds to challenges in the form of increased international competition and diversifying content streams, as well as to explore new opportunities offered by emerging technologies.
The Irish animation sector has been in rapid growth for the past decade – almost quadrupling in size by 2019, where production figures show that Irish animation accounted for almost 50% of all production spending in the country. With major global players like Brown Bag Films, Boulder Media, Giant Animation and Cartoon Saloon, the commercial and critical success of Irish animation is due to a mixture of business acumen, state support via the state tax incentive Section 481, a skilled and talented workforce, and a strong reputation for storytelling and visual artistry.
The selected projects and companies for the Animation Concept and Innovation Fund are:
Immersive Story Telling, Gaming or App Workflow
Pink Kong Studios
Pink Kong Studios creates compelling original narratives and produce aesthetically beautiful animated content in 2D / 3D / VR & AR for film, TV and digital.
Project proposal: “StoryVerse” is a multi-player augmented reality game for children consisting of highly entertaining gameplay coupled with engaging epic storylines. Players strategise and compete using their favourite characters from ancient myths and legends. It is education by stealth, through animation and the magic of augmented reality.
Dream Logic Studios are always looking for new and exciting ways to utilise the latest technology as a means to further the stories that we want to tell. Two exciting areas that they are looking to expand into are the mediums of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Project proposal: Expanding original IP into the worlds of AR and VR. Currently in production on a new original film, The Ghastly Ghoul will make every child’s dream come true – giving them the chance to have a little monster friend like Gary. The Ghastly Ghoul is being developed by Screen Ireland and Creative Europe.
Little Moon Animation was founded in 2018. Its first project, Fia’s Fairies, is an original language-learning preschool series supported by and developed with Screen Ireland and RTEJr. They also have two other projects currently in development with Screen Ireland, a comedy series for 8-12 year olds and an animated family feature film. The team behind Little Moon have extensive backgrounds with over 12 years’ experience in the animation industry across both TV and feature film work.
Project proposal: The research and development of a digital language learning games app for mobile and tablet. The app, Language Magic, will teach children new languages through immersive storytelling and interactive game play.
Magpie 6 Media
Magpie 6 Media conceive, finance, and produce original content, as well as co-producing on successful projects such as “Sir Mouse” and client service work like “David S. Pumpkins” animated Halloween Special, and WB’s “Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!”
Project proposal: An interactive story experience using AI Voice Assistant. Using Wee Littles brand characters and emerging AI technology, the project will engage and empower young audiences to control where the story goes, trigger sounds and play voice-activated games.
New Technical Studio Workflow
Ink & Light
Ink and Light is passionate about putting positive messages out into the world by making high quality content that entertains and engages audiences. They have produced a number of pre-school TV series, books and short films for children including Harry and Bip, Hopscotch and the Christmas Tree and Ollie. Currently in production on Royals Next Door, supported by Screen Ireland.
Project proposal: Stella’s Royal Vlog. An animated Vlog series for online distribution as part of the Royals Next Door IP, featuring the character of Stella and developing a new studio pipeline.
Algorithm is an immersive production studio specialising in content creation for live experience and immersive technology. From the studio’s background in the live entertainment industry to working in brand activation and experiential marketing, they are now working in emerging mixed reality mediums, encompassing VR, AR, live immersive experiences and virtual production for film and TV.
Project proposal: Content creation for immersive spaces. Testing a new pipeline to integrate existing animation pipelines with real-time rendering technology and developments in virtual production tools. This pipeline will be applied to a new immersive experience called Landfall, a piece that uses meteorological and topographical data visualisation to explore Ireland’s relationship with the Wild North Atlantic. It has been commissioned by Failte Ireland and the OPW to be initially displayed at the new Ceide Fields Visitor Centre in Mayo.
Moetion Films is an award-winning animation company based in Galway. Moetion Films developed and co-produced the highly-successful 3D animated feature entitled Two By Two – Ooops! The Ark has Gone, which was the second highest grossing Irish film in 2015 after Brooklyn and was sold to over 140 territories. Most recently Moetion produced the sequel Two by Two Overboard! which reached number one in the UK box office in late 2020.
Project proposal: Creative enhancement of animation production pipeline. Addressing the need for creative solutions required to manage diverse, multicultural animation teams across multiple territories, the fund will be used to expand technical and creative capacity to increase volume output for a variety of platforms and new formats, including animated TV series.
New Editorial / Content Work Stream
Wiggleywoo Ltd is an award winning animation studio in Dublin, set up by Gilly and Susan Broe. Their preschool series The Day Henry Met (104 x 5mins) is now broadcast in 192 countries worldwide. They’ve a slate of adult and kids’ animation in development.
Project proposal: Deco’s Records is the world’s first animated record label. Each of our artists will release animated music videos over the coming year. ‘Deco on the Decks’ will be a weekly podcast where Deco will play and promote the artist. This fund will develop and launch the record label including marketing and websites.
Treehouse Republic is an award-winning 2D animation studio based in Dublin, Ireland. Having been raised on 80’s Saturday morning cartoons while searching for the toys in the cereal box, Treehouse Republic have a strong comedy action core that they inject into all their projects.
Project proposal: Elemental, a hybrid live-action and animation series highlighting science, experimentation, and comedy. In partnership with award-winning science communicator and educator Dr. John O’Donohue, the series will join John in his lab as he explains and explores the nature of the elements, while his animated mad scientist alter ego will explore the less accessible aspects of science. The fund will allow the team and studio to scale up to combine live action production with animation production.
Studio 9 is a joint collaboration between Joe Coveney and John O’ Connell.
Project proposal: Custom puppet-making. The development of a new, innovative product for Studio 9 – 3D stop motion and puppet-making for animation, including materials, studio conversion and the creation of animated clips to promote the service.