Drawing inspiration from the Celtic Tigger
Boulder Media's The Amazing World of Gumball, a co-production with Cartoon Network, which took the top prize at the first International Emmy Kids Awards
Tilly and Friends, the latest series by Jam Media, is now screening on CBeebies
The Happy Hugglemonsters by Brown Bag, which is currently airing on Disney Jr
If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the downturn, why not make the move to cartoonland? Okay, it’s a little two-dimensional in places, but you’re bound to meet some colourful characters, and it’s the one place in the world of entertainment that doesn’t seem to have been hit by recession.
It may be curtains for the music industry, and it could be a closing chapter for publishing, but for anyone in Ireland embarking on a career in animation, it seems you really can live happily ever after.
Earlier this month, Boulder Media scooped the top prize at the first International Emmy Kids Awards for The Amazing World of Gumball, a co-production with Cartoon Network. It’s not the first time the series, about a small blue cat and his friends, has scooped an international award.
Last November, Gumball won a Best Writer and Best Animation award at the Bafta Children’s Awards for the second year in a row, and has picked up gongs at the 2011 British Animation Awards, the 2011 Annecy International Film Festival, the 39th Annie Awards, and the 2012 Kidscreen Awards, among others.
It’s the latest episode in the ongoing success story of animation in Ireland. Boulder isn’t the only Irish studio scooping awards and accolades. In January, Jam Media added another trophy to its mantelpiece – a UK Broadcast Award for its co-production Baby Jake. Jam also makes the acclaimed children’s series Roy, featuring a cartoon boy trying to get along in the real world. Jam’s newest series, currently airing on CBeebies, is Tilly Friends.
Meanwhile, Brown Bag Films, which won an Oscar nomination in 2002 for Give Up Yer Aul Sins, continues to go from strength to strength. In 2010, the studio was nominated for another Oscar, this time for Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, and in 2011 was nominated for a Bafta for its aquatic adventure series Octonauts. Brown Bag currently makes the most popular preschool animation in the US, Disney’s Doc McStuffins, and Disney Jr has just begun broadcasting the company’s latest series, The Happy Hugglemonsters, created by Irish children’s writer Niamh Sharkey. And it is also creating a new series featuring one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature, Peter Rabbit.
It seems you can’t turn on a children’s TV channel without coming across an Irish animated production or co-production. It’s small wonder that it’s been dubbed the Celtic Tigger.
Over the past six years – since the beginning of the credit crunch – Irish animation has bucked the trend and seen an increase in revenue, employment and international profile. It helps that the industry is being supported by Section 481 tax breaks, plus funding from the Irish Film Board and support from Enterprise Ireland.