Irish animation’s brightest star and two-time Oscar nominee Tomm Moore will receive The Murakami Award at Animation Dingle. James Hickey, CEO of The Irish Film Board will hand over the award to Tomm at a presentation as part of The Irish Animation Awards in The Skellig Hotel this Friday night.

The first ceremony for the Irish Animation Awards is due to take place March 13 at Dingle Skelligs Hotel in County Kerry. Among the ceremony’s 14 categories are Best Animated Preschool Series, Best Animated Short Film and Kids Choice Award for Best Animated Series. Two judges will oversee each category, picking a shortlist and selecting the winners. Some of the kids’ TV executives due to act as chairs and judges include Jackie Edwards, executive producer at CBeebies Animation; Tim Patterson, the VP and director of programming for Nickelodeon U.K.; and Sarah Muller, the head of acquisitions for CBBC.

Tomm Moore is co-Founder and Creative director of Cartoon Saloon. He founded Cartoon Saloon in 1999 with Paul Young while studying animation at Ballyfermot Senior College, Dublin. Over the company’s history, he has worked as Director, Art Director, Storyboarder, Animator and Illustrator on a range of projects from commercials to service work for feature films and TV series, as well as a number of short film projects.

Tomm’s first feature film The Secret of Kells was nominated for Best Animated Feature Nominee: Academy Awards ®). His second completed feature, Song of the Sea was also nominated for Best Animated Feature Nominee: Academy Awards ® this year.

The Industry preview of Song of The Sea opens this year’s Dingle International Film Festival on Thursday evening at 7pm in The Phoenix Cinema. The film has achieved major praise from critics all over the world.

Song of the Sea tells the story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story; these fairy folk have been in our world far too long. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival.

[quote]Jimmy Murakami was an inspiration to me as a young animator, the fact he based his studio here in Ireland made it possible for a whole generation of us Irish animators to dream of taking up this profession in the first place. I got to know him a little bit in his later years and he was a warm, generous and funny storyteller. It’s a great honour for me to receive an award endorsed by him and in his memory. It’s a great further encouragement to keep pushing forward and exploring the art form like he did all his life. I’m delighted to return to Dingle after a fantastic year for our film Song of The Sea which I presented as a work in progress last year at the festival. The Animation Dingle event is very special and since Song of The Sea was originally inspired by a trip to Dingle a few years ago it’s fitting that we return with it this year for a special industry preview screening prior to the official premiere in Galway this July![/quote] Tomm Moore

[quote]I have been to hundreds of film festivals all over the globe for what seem to be the last hundred years and in my opinion the Dingle Film Festival is the best among them all.[/quote] Jimmy T. Murakami (The Snowman, When The Wind Blows)

Animation Dingle has grown substantially in the past year with our partner JAM Media. This year we will have presentations from many broadcasters, publishers, buyers and producers including; Nickelodeon, Disney, CBBC & RTE; Penguin, Walker Books & Scholastic; Kavaleer, Treehouse, Salty Dog, Geronimo and Cartoon Saloon. The Animation Dingle Conference will include a keynote speech from Tim Patterson of Nickelodeon and will be opened by James Hickey, CEO of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board and our Official Festival Industry Partner. The festival will also present some excellent animation screenings of the best animation work here on the island today.

[quote]Kerry County Council Tourism Unit congratulates Dingle International Film Festival on extending its successful programme this year, with Animation Dingle and the Animation Ireland Awards.  This is a timely and exciting addition to an already highly acclaimed festival.  There is no doubt, that the majestic Kerry landscape, our long tourism tradition and our warm welcome, entices and inspires film-makers and producers world-wide.  We in Kerry are proud of this success and work hard to ensure it continues.[/quote] Joan McCarthy, Head of Tourism Development, Kerry County Council.

If you missed them first time round, Animation Dingle will give you the chance to see the Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells and the 3-time Oscar winning Who Framed Roger Rabbit along with the best student and Irish animated short films. Tomm Moore will take to the stage with Roy Naisbitt (Roger Rabbit, Space Jam) following the screening of Persistance of Vision. The festival are thrilled that Disney Pixar presents Pixar Shorts and an exclusive sneak peak at their latest short Lava, directed by James Ford Murphy which opens in cinemas on July 24th, in front of Inside Out.

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