Screen Ireland’s Talent Development Academy for Animation will be led by Animation Ireland

‘Two By Two: Overboard’ (2020); Moetion Films

Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland has appointed Animation Ireland as the lead organisation to manage the establishment of a Talent Development Academy for Animation, an initiative to create and expand opportunities for diverse and regional talent on a national level. Addressing innovation, skills development and sectoral growth, the Academy is the result of additional stimulus investment for animation provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. This second Screen Ireland Talent Development Academy, following the establishment of an initiative for TV Drama, will form part of a wider strategy to support skills development across all regions of Ireland, with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion.

As lead organisation, Animation Ireland will work closely with various national and industry stakeholders to establish a Talent Development Academy for Animation, with the overarching aim to address and support current educational skills gaps in the industry. Retaining the diversity and inclusion focus present across all Academy initiatives, its ambition is to drive more Irish talent from all backgrounds and disciplines into the sector and develop greater awareness of the animation sector as a career path.

Minister Catherine Martin, T.D., said: “I am pleased to welcome the announcement of Animation Ireland as the lead organisation managing the delivery of this important Talent Development Academy for the animation sector. I know that animation was one of our sectors that demonstrated its adaptability with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and this investment in talent – a key to growing and developing the sector – will continue to reinforce and highlight Ireland’s growing position in animation as a centre of excellence. I look forward to seeing the diverse range of talent and genres supported by this initiative and the continued international success of our animators.”

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive, Screen Ireland said: “We would like to thank Minister Martin T.D. for the stimulus funding support for the animation sector.  We are delighted that Animation Ireland will lead and manage this national approach to talent development for animation. The Talent Development Academy for Animation joins the TV Drama Academy as an ambitious initiative to support the unique needs, opportunities and skills requirements for sustained growth of the creative screen sector. The Irish animation industry has earned a world-class reputation for the calibre of storytelling and visual artistry they consistently deliver with their award-winning work that is enjoyed by millions around the world.  By positioning the Academy as an opportunity driver for innovation and expanding the diversity of voices within the industry, this is an important step in securing the animation sector’s continued success.”

Ronan McCabe, CEO of Animation Ireland, said: “The recruitment, retention, development and nurturing of diverse talent is a key priority for the animation industry and the establishment of the Talent Development Academy will contribute to the continuing and future success of the sector in Ireland. Animation Ireland in association with our partners, Animation Skillnet and Dublin Business Innovation Centre, is delighted to have been appointed by Screen Ireland as the lead organisation to establish the Talent Development Academy for Animation. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister Catherine Martin TD for her funding support and vision for this initiative.”

The Talent Development Academy was announced in 2020 as part of an additional Stimulus Support Package provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to focus on animation. Previous stimulus support for TV Drama emphasised the opportunity to address regional development and diversity, while supporting career growth opportunities for creative talent.

The Irish animation sector has been in rapid growth for the past decade – almost quadrupling in size to 2019 production figures, which 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.