Sunday, December 27, 2009

English language Pal DVDs for sale

Soon, we will sell them from our website shop (with a sketch by me if you want it) ,
but in the mean time you can buy them from Trinity College or O'Briens website -


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Amazing that the first Christmas post was 2005!
This project still occupies quite a bit of my time , even if its not what I'm working on everyday.
Production wrapped almost 18 months ago now,and since the first screening in France last January to now has been a whole other journey I never expected when we began.

So a Happy Christmas from me to everyone who worked on this film , everyone who watched this film, supported this film, talked about it, reviewed it or bought a DVD!

And don't forget the screening in the Egyptian theatre in Hollywood on the 9th of January!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Roy E Disney

Recently we received the Roy E Disney Award in Seattle.
Not long after we heard the said news that he had died.
I know he was a friend of Tony White who runs the 2d or not 2d festival.
here is a link to Tony's tribute -

I never met Mr.Disney of course , but by all accounts he will be sorely missed by the animation community and even some by folks here in Ireland where he often holidayed I hear.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Comic Cast review of kells DVd

Just had a listen to this...catching up on old Comic casts i missed ..very cool review by an 8 year old girl.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anam An Amhrain (Soul of the Song)

ANAM AN AMHRÁIN TG4 trailer from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Anam An Amhrain (Soul of the Song)

Behold! All year Salooners near and far have toiled on this series of music videos that will be broadcast this Christmas on TG4.

Another Saloon/Sonta co-production in the spirit of Cuilin Dualach (Backwards Boy) but this time with a variety of Salooners taking the directing and designing reigns...

Nora Twomey cut these trailers together to give you all a sampler of the stylistic variety on offer.

And for our foreign fans, although the Gaelic will be largely impenetrable I believe the music will carry itself nicely with the visuals and you will be able to avail of the DVD release in 2010 from our Saloon Shop!

Cailleach an Airgead from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

An Damhán Alla from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Amhrán na Bo from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

An Puc ar Buile from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Dun do Shui from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Bean Pháidín from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

An Seanduine from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Oró se do bheatha abhaile from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Cad e sin from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Tá Dhá Ghabharin Bhui Agam from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Greasai Brog from Cartoon Saloon on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mia takes home the EFA

Last Saturday we lost out to Mia and the Migou at the Efas.
Even if we were a little disappointed , we were happy such a beautiful film from the ever fabulous Folimage took the prize and proud to be one of only three nominees.
It was a great night at any rate and the missus even snagged akiss from Eric Cantona

AWN interview

Moore Illuminates The Secret of Kells

Posted In | Site Categories: 2D, Films

Check out The Secret of Kells clips at AWNtv!

The Secret of Kells sports a colorful, flat design in keeping with the medieval setting. All images © Cartoon Saloon, Les Armateurs and Vivi Film.

The Secret of Kells has just grabbed an Annie nomination for Best Animated Feature and Tomm Moore, co-founder of Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny, Ireland, describes how he brought this lovely and magical 2D movie to the screen. Inspired by Ireland's most precious artifact, The Book of Kells (a stunningly beautiful medieval manuscript containing the Four Gospels), the movie concerns a 12-year-old boy living in an abbey that comes of age amid Viking attacks and mystical wonders.

Bill Desowitz: What inspired you to make a movie about the legendary Book of Kells?

Tomm Moore: Well, it was a long time in the making. I had the first idea with a friend in college and we were thinking after seeing Mulan and The Thief and the Cobbler that we could find something in Irish arts to base as an animation. We never could do it as a student project so it became a pet project on the back burner here at the studio. But we thought it would be interesting to translate that into 2D, hand-made animation, which would be suited to the style. And the stories and legends from around that period seem pretty ripe. We went through different drafts of the script, some more of the history and some more of the fantasy and found a blend between the two.

BD: How did the financing come together?

TM: We pitched it at Cartoon Movie when Les Armateurs and Vivi Film were in the middle of The Triplets of Belleville and they showed 10 minutes and it was a big hit and they liked our pitch and thought it could be their follow-up. And at that same Cartoon Movie Canal + got involved too, so they were the kind of anchor finance. And then once the French financing started to come into place, we started to raise the Irish finance and then, finally, the Belgian. So in the end, it was about 2 million Euros from each country.

Because Ireland was the country that developed the project, we ended up being the lead creative studio and France ended up being the lead production studio.

Cartoon Saloon in Ireland was the lead creative studio, with the rest of the animation divided in France, Belgium, Hungary and Brazil.

BD: So, how was the animation divided up?

TM: We did about 15 minutes of sample animation, designs, all of the key posing and most of the backgrounds here at Cartoon Saloon [Blue Spirit in Angoulême, France did the rest of the backgrounds]. And then we divided the rest of the animation around Europe and Brazil: Walking the Dog in Brussels, Belgium; Lightstar Studios in Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Kecskemet Film in Hungary; ink-and-paint at Digital Graphics in Liege, Belgium; the in-betweens and cleanup were done in Brazil; and all of the compositing and editing and even the final sound post were done in France and Belgium.

BD: That's quite a step up for you and your company. What was it like tackling a feature?

TM: Yeah, it was really an adventure and it was pretty massive. I traveled a lot and learned a lot. Mainly, we kind of got neurotic about preparing everything and it paid off in the end because a lot of people said that they found the film very consistent and were surprised that it was made in so many countries, and I'm proud of that.

BD: What kind of pipeline did you have?

TM: We worked with HoBSoft developed by a couple of Danish guys for Asterix and the Vikings. When anyone at a studio finished their work, they would upload it and I could see it and bring it into the Avid. That was our main production tool because the pipeline was all over the place.

CG was incorporated into any moments that were detailed or complicated. Occasionally Flash was used and then mapped into 3D geometry.

BD: And the CG components?

TM: That was all done in Belgium. Digital Graphics took all the CG elements that were integrated with the characters. And then Walking the Dog took key sequences like the battle with [the giant] snake. They worked on Triplets and I was quite impressed with how they made 3D look like 2D.

BD: What else?

TM: At the end, the key role page was drawn and was originally a manuscript from a thousand years ago but an illustrator cleaned it up and pulled it apart in Blender so it could move. And then when the Vikings attack, a lot of the little extra characters that look like brushstrokes were done in CG. Any time anything was detailed and complicated, it was CG. We even had some background characters animated in Flash and then mapped onto 3D geometry.

BD: Was the biggest challenge arriving at an appropriate look?

TM: Yeah, we had so many different styles at the start. The art director, Ross Stewart, is a friend of mine from school, and we worked together for years on the look because we never thought the project was going to go into production. But by the time we did actually go into production, we developed more styles than we could use, and we had to pare it all down in a few months and come up with a consistent style. So, hopefully, we'll publish an Art of book someday so people can see it all.

But we made a simple rule from the start: the medieval world is really flat with false perspective and lots of color like medieval art. That was the majority of the movie. And then for the dream sequences, we went even flatter and simpler. We tried to do something like Monty Python. And then when there was danger, we'd go into 3D like the Viking attack.

BD: And the character design?

TM: We started off with a much more classical Disney look, but, as the backgrounds were developed more for the medieval look, the characters had to be simplified. It made more sense to make them match the backgrounds that we had designed. And Didier Bruner, the producer in France, really pushed us to have very flat characters, more like medieval icons. More like Eastern European animation.

The Character Design team consisted of my self and Barry Reynolds, who rejoined the team after working with us
on the original pitch trailer as a designer and animator, Barry made the final designs and modelsheets .
Barry's contribution was very important on the film, he made all the additional designs of animals and characters as well as supervising the model on the layout posing.

He was ably assisted by
Martin Fagin who was our Clean Up supervisor and who designed the final line and worked closely with Digital Graphics in Liege to
plan the "stained glass" effect of thicker outer lines which was added digitally.

The Vikings were designed by Jean Baptiste Van Demme .

Finally Lily Bernard , one of our Bg supervisors made the colour models for all the characters.
It very much a collaborative effort to arrive at the final look, big thanks to the whole team!

BD: What are you doing next?

Posted In | Site Categories: 2D, Films

A more classical Disney look for the characters was abandoned in favor of a very flat look in keeping with the backgrounds.

TM: I've already got some development money from the Irish Film Board and from media here for my new feature, Song of the Sea. It's an Irish story about the selkies -- people that can turn into seals. It's about a little girl that's the last selkie and she has to find her way back to the sea from the city, and on the way back she gathers up all the remains of the fairy folk that are still hanging around in modern Ireland. They're lost and invisible to us and she helps them back to their own world. I suppose the benchmark for this one is My Neighbor Totoro. We are working on the script and for me the big lesson is to get everything ready up front. And hopefully start the storyboards next year.

Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.

New Kells Review

Review: The Secret of Kells

December 15, 5:23 PMAnimation ExaminerPaul Neuhaus
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Brendan and master Aidan.

The Secret of Kells is the tale of an Irish town’s fight for survival against the relentless tide of Viking invasion. At stake are not only the integrity of the settlement and the lives of its people, but more importantly, its way of life and its culture. The Vikings are not just a political and military force, they are a faceless monster intent on devouring Ireland and all things Irish. There are two schools of thought on how best to deal with the threat of the norsemen. The abbott, the ostensible leader of the town, insists that a wall must be built to keep the invaders out. The monks under his charge say that this is a futile gesture, and the only thing which can truly defeat the Vikings is time. The best course, they say, is to flee before the onslaught and ensure that the knowledge in their care is kept safe. Brendan, the film’s young hero, must choose between the two differing approaches and grow within the bounds of his decision. In charting Brendan’s progress, “Kells” mirrors traditional heroic folklore, but it does so with a deep undercurrent of pertinent themes. The film can be appreciated for its surface story and also for the ideas which bubble beneath. Thanks to this dichotomy and to the rich visual presentation, The Secret of Kells deserves a much broader audience than it will likely receive.

In its use of indigenous folk tales and rustic settings, “Kells” is reminiscent of the work of the great Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, the man who gave us My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and the Academy Award winning Spirited Away. As in Miyazaki’s films, “Kells” is more reliant on the rhythms of folklore than it is the rote storytelling of modern Hollywood. Brendan’s journey from inquisitive boy to accomplished scholar features side trips into the world of faerie, and a battle with a monster more ancient and terrifying than the approaching Scandinavians. Much of the boy’s growth occurs metaphysically in a way which runs contrary to the world of the abbott and his wall. The arc of Brendan’s tale also owes much to the Hero’s Journey outlined by the famed mythology expert, Joseph Campbell. The path which the protagonist walks is a well-worn one, trod also by the the great heroes of literature who preceded him. But “Kells” does not borrow lightly from myth and folk tale, and its story is not a simplistic one. For instance, there is an unspoken irony in the fact that Brendan receives aid from the world of faerie since the knowledge he is seeking to preserve will, in time, disallow the existence of faeries. For those with a discerning eye, the film runs deeper than is implied by its surface veneer. On the other hand, The Secret of Kells, with its folkloric tone, connects with the audience on a primal level -- the same level upon which we once responded (or to continue to respond) to a well-told bed-time story.

The deceptive simplicity in the narrative presentation is mirrored wonderfully in “Kells’” brilliant art direction, A conscious choice has been made here to avoid the dimensionality found in most of the Disney features. A deliberately flat style has been embraced, and it not only suits the material, it constitutes a refreshing change of pace. For obvious reasons, the characters look very much like the people portrayed in illuminated manuscripts. Despite this fact, the artists have managed some animation which can stand with anything found in more conventionally art directed features. In particular, Aidan the master illuminator, and Aisling the faerie girl have been brought to life with consummate skill. The backgrounds these characters inhabit are so rich in detail that they are often used to aid in furthering the story, or in transitioning between scenes. The Secret of Kells feels designed to function exactly as it does, and that is a thing which movies rarely accomplish. In fact, “Kells” uses the medium of the animated cartoon better than any other film in recent memory.

The Secret of Kells is a fine film with a noble theme. The notion that preserving and disseminating knowledge are the best safeguards against evil is a welcome one in a time where rational thought seems to be losing its value. ASIFA was right to nominate “Kells” for Best Animated Feature, and the film deserves to be seen by as many people as it can reach.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

European film Awards

Hello from Essen in Germany, we are here for the European Film Awards,
Being one of three nominees for best animated feature is massive for us especially as the other nominees are of such high quality, Mia et le Migou and Nico and the way to the stars, it will be a fun night.

last night Ken Loach had a conversation about film, politics and all kinds of stuff before screening his film starring Eric Cantona!
It was a very moving conversation and in the end he asked the audience to make some noise about Western Sahara and the plight of one their leading human rights activists who is currently on hunger strike in Lanzarote airport.
i dont have much way to make noise but the eyeballs on this blog are the most direct access i have to the most people so heres my tiny contribution to making her plight known....

and heres a link to the guardians coverage of whats going on ...

Western Sahara activist on hunger strike at Lanzarote airport

Aminatou Haidar, campaigner for indigenous Sahrawi rights, expelled over refusal to accept Moroccan nationality

Aminatou Haidar

Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar in Arrecife airport on Lanzarote. Photograph: DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Western Sahara's most prominent human rights activist has gone on hunger strike at a Spanish airport after being expelled from her home country by Moroccan authorities.

Aminatou Haidar, who is viewed by her supporters as the "Sahrawi Gandhi", was deported to Lanzarote from the disputed territory of Western Sahara on Saturday. Morocco has occupied the former Spanish colony since 1975, refusing a say on independence to the indigenous Sahrawi population, including some 100,000 people still living in refugee camps in the desert in south-western Algeria.

Haidar, a 42-year-old single mother, was detained at the airport in Western Sahara's administrative capital, Laayoune, on her return from the US, where she was awarded the Train Foundation's Civil Courage prize of $50,000 for her struggle for the Sahrawis' right to self-determination. After refusing to declare her nationality as Moroccan on the airport arrival form, the police confiscated her passport and she was flown to the nearby Canary Islands.

Haidar told the Guardian by telephone that Spain was "complicit" in her predicament, both for admitting her to Lanzarote and then refusing to let her leave.

"I will carry on my hunger strike until the Spanish government accepts its responsibilities and allows me to return to my homeland, where my children live … or I die," she said.

Prison in Western Sahara was preferable to detention in Spain, she added.

Haidar has wide experience of incarceration. In 1987, aged 20, she was "disappeared" and tortured by the Moroccan secret police for more than three years for advocating independence. In 2005 she was jailed for seven months after being beaten by a Moroccan policeman during a demonstration protesting against the Moroccan occupation.

The Spanish foreign ministry said could not allow Haidar to return to Laayoune because she had no passport. The Moroccan government, which considers Western Sahara to be its southern provinces, even though this has no foundation in international law or formal recognition from any other country, has denied any wrongdoing. Instead, it has accused Haidar of treason and of being agent of the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi nationalist movement that fought a 16-year desert war against Morocco with backing from Algeria.

The conflict ended in 1991, with both parties agreeing to a UN-sponsored referendum on self-determination – including an option for independence – for the Sahrawi people. But Morocco has consistently blocked the vote, and the Polisario remains in exile in Algeria, behind a massive sand wall manned by tens of thousands of Moroccan soldiers.

In recent years King Mohammed VI has said independence is no longer on the table, with autonomy now the best available option for Sahrawis. On 6 November, in a speech marking 34 years of Moroccan presence in Western Sahara, he hinted at harsher action towards anyone still questioning the claim of sovereignty.

"One is either a patriot, or a traitor," he said. "Is there a country that would tolerate a handful of lawless people exploiting democracy and human rights in order to conspire with the enemy against its sovereignty, unity and vital interests?"

The expulsion of Haidar, who was also awarded the 2008 Robert F Kennedy human rights prize for her struggle, is part of a wider crackdown on Sahrawi activists. On Monday Human Rights Watch condemned the Moroccan government for blocking "unauthorised" visits by foreigners to the homes of Sahrawi campaigners in Western Sahara. Seven other Sahrawi activists being held by Morocco after visiting the Polisario camps in October have been described as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Wow, a great but exhaysting couple of days here in the US.
On Saturday Tony White surprised Ross and I after the screening with the Roy E.Disney award.
Its a great honour for us , to be on a short list of recipients from previous years such as Don Hahn , Richard Williams and Roy himself.
Tony, Saille and all involved in the 2d or not 2d festival have been really lovely and welcoming , its been fantastic to discover Seattle a little bit too - somewhere I've been curious about for years and years.

Yesterday I got up at 5 am and flew down to LA for the Asifa screening in the AMC in Burbank.
So, many people showed up, it was lovely. I actually sat thru' the film again, for the first time in ages, well maybe just since Belfast. I reckon I must have been at a screening almost once a week this year, but its always differentw ith a new audience. This time it was with some amazing artists and their families from the LA community.
Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew lead the Q+A afterwards , which i really enjoyed though mayeb I rambled a bit in my jetlagged exhausted state! But it seemed to go well despite that!

Thanks again to everyone here Stateside.

We do a talk in Digipen today, then grab a last bite of good veggie grub here in Redmond at the Teapot and its off home for a couple of days.

Then on Friday its off to the European Film rest for the wicked!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Press Release

Latest Kells' Press Release 12_02_09
NEW YORK, NY - Dec 2, 2009 - Film distributor GKIDS announced today that it
has just released four never-before-seen online clips of the award-winning
animated feature THE SECRET OF KELLS by director Tomm Moore. THE SECRET OF
KELLS is vying for an Academy Award in the Best Animated Feature category
and has been praised by audiences, critics and animation fans worldwide.
The clips are now available on YouTube,, and other online video
sites. YouTube links for the four clips are below:

"Secret of Kells - This is My Forest"

"Secret of Kells - Pangur Ban"

"Secret of Kells - Attack on the Abbey of Kells"

"Secret of Kells - The Eye of Crom"

within the animation community has resulted in a surprise nomination by The
Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature, announced December 1.

All other nominees are wide release, major studio pictures including "Up",
"Coraline", "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs", "Fantastic Mr. Fox", and
"Princess and the Frog". THE SECRET OF KELLS has already been nominated
for Best Animated Feature at the European Film Awards (winner to be
announced December 11), is winner of the Audience Award at the prestigious
Annecy International Animation Festival, and was the first animated film in
history to win the Edinburgh Film Festival. THE SECRET OF KELLS opens in
Los Angeles Dec 4 for an exclusive one week Academy-qualifying run at the
AMC Burbank 8. The film opens nationally March 2010.

GKIDS President, Eric Beckman said, "The grassroots support for this film is
phenomenal. Everyone who has seen the movie has fallen in love. After the
Creative Talent Network Expo screening literally dozens of animators came up
and asked to help spread the word-and the result is the ASIFA nomination
alongside "Up" and "Coraline" and other major studio releases. The fact is,
"Kells" is a breathtaking and totally unique film and absolutely deserves
the Oscar nomination. We may not enjoy the marketing budgets of some other
titles in the running, but we are 100% committed to building bottom up
support and getting audiences to discover this amazing film."

"The Secret of Kells"
Exclusive One Week Engagement
Dec 4-10
AMC Burbank Town Center 8
201 E Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91501, 1-888-AMC-4FUN
Friday, Dec 4 at 7pm
Sat-Sun, Dec 5-6 at 2pm
Mon-Thurs, Dec 7-10 at 7pm
Q&A with director Tomm Moore following Sun Dec 6 show

SYNOPSIS: Magic, fantasy, and Celtic mythology come together in a riot of
color and detail that dazzle the eyes, in this sweeping story about the
power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times. Young
Brendan lives in the Abbey of Kells, a remote medieval outpost under siege
from raiding barbarians. One day a celebrated master illuminator arrives
from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with
secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to
overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the
enchanted forest, where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets
the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the
way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan's determination and
artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the
best fortification against evil? SECRET OF KELLS is a
France/Belgium/Ireland co-production of Les Armateurs, Vivi Film, Cartoon
Saloon and France 2 Cinema and features the voices of Brendan Gleeson
("Harry Potter", "In Bruges"), Evan McGuire and Christen Mooney.

ABOUT GKIDS: GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning animated entertainment
specializing in titles that cross over between art-house and family
audiences. Recent theatrical releases include Michel Ocelot's acclaimed
"Azur & Asmar", in partnership with the Weinstein Company, and Nina Paley's
animated multiple-festival-winning animated feature, "Sita Sings the Blues".
Upcoming GKIDS releases include Tomm Moore's animated Oscar contender "The
Secret of Kells", and European Film Award nominee "Mia and the Migoo" by
Jacques-Remy Girerd. GKIDS is also longtime producer of the New York Int'l
Children's Film Festival, North America's largest festival of film for
children and teens. NYICFF jury members include Frances McDormand, John
Turturro, Susan Sarandon, Gus van Sant, and Matthew Modine. The GKIDS.TV
website is a place where children, teens, and adults can watch, rate,
review, buy and share award-winning film and animation from around the

Contact: Dave Jesteadt

2d or not 2d

So, tommorow I am off to Seattle to the 2d or not 2d festival and on Sunday I fly down to LA for the screening in the AMC in Burbank where I'll do a Q+A with the famous Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew. Be there or be square.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009