On the most westerly point of Ireland, in Dingle Town on the Wild Atlantic Way trail, animators gather annually for Animation Dingle, a festival presented by Jam Media. No stranger to guests and celebrities, Dingle welcomes strangers to its shores.
The unique, boutique festival, held in partnership with Screen Ireland, prides itself on inclusivity, and on being the sort of place where you can find Dean DeBlois chatting in one of Dingle’s iconic pubs to upcoming student animators. With the assistance of Enterprise Ireland, guests travel by plane, train, bus, car, and taxi to get there.
In 2021, Animation Dingle has thrown open its doors and gone global. Tickets are now onsale for the Virtual Animation Dingle Festival 2021, which will take place on March 24–25. The program and other details can be found in the festival’s digital brochure.
This year’s live conference, brought to you from Dick Mack’s Pub, is delivering an incredible line-up of guests and speakers. The festival co-founders, Maurice Galway and John Rice of JAM Media, are delighted to welcome Tánaiste and Vice President of Ireland Leo Varadkar to officially open the 9th Animation Dingle Festival on Wednesday, March 24th.
The conference itself packs a punch and Animation Dingle is proud to announce that Oscar-winning director Don Hall, fresh from his work on Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, and known for his work on Disney’s Big Hero 6 and Moana, will be heading up a strong line-up of guests including Madeline Sharafian, Oscar-nominated director of Pixar’s Burrow and Steven Clay Hunter, director of Pixar’s Out.
The Making of Disney’s Chip ‘N’ Dale: Park Life session will offer a nuts and bolts look at the development and production of the new Disney+ series produced by Xilam Animation, with director Jean Cayrol, production manager Amelie Muller and Disney execs Shamik Majumdar, Gerardo Orlando, Katie Barba, and Orion Ross, who will host the session.
Presented by Enterprise Ireland, Peter Lord from Aardman Animations, an enormously popular guest a few years ago, is delighted to be coming back to Dingle to share his insights gleaned from over 50 years in the business of animation.
Presented by Screen Ireland, Making The Frame Work, which includes a look back at over 20 years of Irish animation. Panelists include Emma Scott, Screen Ireland; Cathal Gaffney, Managing Director Brown Bag Films, COO 9 Story Group; Niamh Herrity, Co-Founder, CEO, Pink Kong; Alan Shannon, CCO, Jam Media; Aisling Conroy, writer, director with And Maps And Plans; and chaired by Maurice Galway, Festival Director.
Presented by The Embassy of France in Ireland, an all-female roundtable discussion, Women in the Animation Industry: Steps in the Right Direction?, will bring together industry experts such as Cécile Blondel from Gobelins, Paris; Lithuanian founder and Art Shot-based producer Agnė Adomėnė; Mexican producer Nidia Santiago from IKKI Films; Jo Allen, producer for BBC Children’s Acquisitions and Independent Animation; and Eimear O’Mahony, head of children’s and young people’s content at RTE.
John Rice will have a fireside chat with Robert Cullen, this year’s recipient of the festival’s Murakami Award. Cullen is the Emmy-nominated creative director and founder of Boulder Media and is currently directing his first feature film, based on My Little Pony (to be released in 2021).
The Big Pitcher event, sponsored by Dreamworks Animation, will now be virtual, but JAM Media will still be spearheading this drive to uncover the next big Irish animator. The jury will consist of Tara Sorensen, Head of Creative Development, Apple; Sarah Muller, Head of BBC Children’s Commissioning & Acquisitions; Suzanne Kelly, Group Head of Children’s & Young People’s Programming RTE; Peter Gal, Chief Creative Officer at Dreamworks Animation Television; Louise Bucknole, VP Programming Kids, ViacomCBS Networks International, UK & Ireland; and chaired by Mark Cumberton, COO, JAM Media.
Workshops are supported by Screen Skills Ireland and Animation Skillnet. Marie Lum, animator and storyboard artist based in Los Angeles will be presenting a workshop live from Los angeles titled Deaf, Disabled, and Neurodiverse Opportunities in Animation. Allison Rutland will host “Animating Characters”’ as part of Beehive Theatre, Workshop Programme. Allison has been working as an animator for over 15 years. She has a background in Fine Art and went to Sheridan College for Computer Animation. She animated on several feature films, such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Where the Wild Things Are, and joined Pixar Animation Studios in 2009, where she has animated on Toy Story 3, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, Finding Dory, Coco, Incredibles 2, and was a Directing Animator on Onward.
Mad Max Fury Road’s Brendan McCarthy will be taking a look at The Graphic Novel, while The Screen Composer’s Guild of Ireland are also present with Composing for Animation, a panel conversation with some of Ireland’s leading composers for screen examining how Irish composers and music has responded to the growth in the animation sector. The ever popular Sketch Trail will see students led through live drawing workshops with JAM Media’s Art Director, Borja Espana Guillot. All, of course, with Discord to maximize interaction and a sense of communication and sharing.
Key events which are front and center for students each year are now inventively integrated into the platform and on Discord. Students will be able to upload portfolios and pitch to studio heads at the virtual Studio Pub Trail. Brown Bag Films will be hiring in Kennedy’s Pub, Cartoon Saloon will be reviewing and hiring in Dick Mack’s Bar, JAM Media will be reviewing student portfolios in Foxy John’s Bar, and Lighthouse Studios will be offering positions to both professionals and students throughout the festival, from McCarthys Bar.
“It’s been an incredible year of viewing work and learning new ways to exhibit film and bring people together. Our virtual festival is bringing Dingle out into the world for all to see. Having attended virtual events and festivals myself over the past year, I have been able to assess what it is I would like to see for Virtual Animation Dingle. I hope that you enjoy the platform; we have worked hard to bring you a festival that is easy to navigate, intuitive and easy to enjoy – a one ticket, all-you-can-eat-animation festival experience. We have over 2500 minutes of digital content.” — Festival Director/Co-Founder Maurice Galway
“While disappointed that the physical festival is not possible this year, the opportunity to expand the festival to a global audience is incredibly exciting. This year’s lineup of speakers, events and films is stronger than ever and is truly world class. The format remains the same as in previous years; Conference on 24th, followed by workshops, screening and the always fun awards on the 25th. We can’t wait to show the world the magic of Animation Dingle!” – Festival Director/Co-Founder John Rice
Cleverly, the Virtual Animation Dingle Festival is easy to use. It is a one Pass and all-you-can-eat-animation, so no need to buy separate tickets to events. Tickets allow full access to the best in animated short and feature films, workshop programs, panel discussions and interactive student-centered events. To appeal to its student following, Animation Dingle has integrated Discord onto their platform, allowing students to chat to studio heads, book meetings with them, upload their portfolios for reviewing…everything that they would expect from an annual visit to Dingle Town can be expected via the platform.
The two-day festival closes with its popular Youtube Kids Animation Dingle Awards hosted by the indomitable and very funny Alison Spittle and followed up with the Boulder Media sponsored Awards Party with live DJ Efa O’Neill. The recipient of this year’s Murakami Award is Robert Cullen. Festival judges deciding on the winners of the next generation of great animators include the stellar line-up: Peter Lord of Aardman Animations; Patricia Hidalgo, Director of Children’s + Education, BBC; Orion Ross, Vice President, Original Programming – Animation, Media Networks Europe & Africa at The Walt Disney Company; Suzanne Kelly, Group Head of Children’s & Young People’s Programming RTE; Lousie Bucknole, VP Programming Kids, ViacomCBS Networks International; Eimear O’Mahony, Head of Childrens and Young People’s content in RTE; Sarah Muller, Head of BBC Children’s Commissioning & Acquisitions; Kyle Jenkins, Acquisitions & Programme Manager, Channel 5 Broadcasting; Steve Henderson, Director of Manchester Animation Festival; and Mandy Kean, Founder & CEO of Mustard and Sean Feeney, Head of Production, GFM Animation.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are over 360 directors represented in and out of competition with the best picked animated shorts you’ll find anywhere virtual this year from Ireland and across the globe. An estimated total of 2,500 minutes of content and a shared experience with over 2,000 animators attending and participating in the event.
At a time when we can travel nowhere, Virtual Animation Dingle carries visitors away not only to the beautiful worlds of animators, but also to Ireland, to Dingle and to the Atlantic Ocean. This was crucial for the festival this year in pulling the virtual platform together. Each guest, panelist, and contributor to the Festival will be placed in a Dingle context. All venues are Dingle identified: even the Conference takes place in the iconic Dick Mack’s Pub and the Studio Pub Trail places each Irish studio in its own Dingle pub, so when they hold meetings they do so in their own pub.
Watch the highlights of Animation Dingle’s 2019 edition:
Animation Dingle would like to thank all those who make it possible to bring the festival over the line each year. In 2021 particular thanks goes to:
Presented by JAM Media
Main funders: Screen Ireland and Enterprise Ireland
Sponsors: YouTube Kids, Disney, Boulder Media, Dreamworks Animation, Brown Bag Films, Cartoon Saloon, Lighthouse Studios, RTÉ Jr, Animation Ireland, Toon Boom, CBBC, Darrall Macqueen, EGG Post Production, Milkshake 5, Nickelodeon, GFM Animation, Dick Mack’s Pub, Dingle Distillery
Funders: BAI, Animation Skillnet, Screen Skills Ireland, IDA
Cultural partners: ACE, The French Embassy of Ireland, MIYU, Screen Composers Guild of Ireland, Munster Technological University, Pieta House
Official festival industry partner: