After a rude interruption, Kilkenny Animated is thrilled to be back from September 30 through October 2, 2022, with a brimming program of visual storytelling that celebrates the creativity and craft of the visual image in Kilkenny City in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.

The festival is hosted by five-time Oscar-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon and award-winning Lighthouse Studios, both of whom call Kilkenny home. In preparation for this year’s event, Cartoon Brew talked with Paul Young, Cartoon Saloon founder and Kilkenny Animation co-director, to highlight a few key events from this year’s program:

The Cuphead Show! panel will be great! A look at how it was adapted from a fantastic game to a popular Netflix TV series. I am very much looking forward to Dylan Moran’s stand-up show, he is one of Ireland’s most celebrated comics and has a love of Cartoons. He also will be chatting with two cartoonists, Aoife Dooly and Matt Diffee on the pain and pleasure of writing comedy for these two mediums. I am also looking forward to talking with Adrien Merigeau on his very Artful Oscar-nominated short Genius Loci after its screening at the festival.

Genius Loci
“Genius Loci”

And, of course, Cartoon Saloon will have plenty to show off, including a sneak peek with Oscar-nominated director Nora Twomey behind of the studio’s latest animated feature in association with Netflix, My Father’s Dragon.

My Father's Dragon
My Father’s Dragon

Celebrated American author and illustrator Cece Bell will talk about her graphic novel El Deafo, which has been adapted into a much-loved animated series of the same name on Apple TV+. Continuing with the theme of adaptation, the creator of Netflix’s The Cuphead Show!, Dave Wasson, and the show’s art director, Andrea Fernandez, will talk to Lighthouse Studios’ Gilly Fogg about its adaptation from global game to hit TV series.  Cartoon Saloon co-founder Tomm Moore will talk to Irish comic author and artist Declan Shalvey about Moon Knight and his other Marvel Comics and Image Comics titles.

Moon Knight
Moon Knight

This year’s festival also features a huge program of workshops and talks for animation professionals, supported by FíS Éireann / Screen Ireland, Animation Skillnet, National Talent Academy – Animation and Animation Ireland. The Graduate Hub at the Set Theatre will provide a space for recent animation graduates to learn more about animation skills, network with colleagues, and view screenings of students’ work. For non-professional kids and adults alike, there are Wolfwalkers mask making workshops, flipbook workshops, comic book inking, courses, medieval walking and sketching tours as well as guided tours of the Cartoon Saloon studios, all in the company of some of the world’s finest animation creatives who have made Kilkenny City a global hub for animation.

We asked Young what it is that makes Kilkenny, and Ireland at large, such a special place for animation:

I think it was because we could not stay local to get our shows and films made, as Ireland is such as small country. Irish Animators have had to travel to find investment and partners, which I think made us internationally focused from the outset. We are also a kind of bridge between the U.S. and Europe culturally with our own very authentic stories to tell from our island’s vantage point. We also do attract amazing talent from all over the world who seem to like living and working in Ireland; it has a lot to offer if you look in the right corners!

The Cuphead Show!
The Cuphead Show!

This year’s festival kicks off in the Set Theatre on Friday, September 30 with a Roaring 20s Opening Night Party featuring swinging jazz from Toot Sweet and the Shadow Man and projected cartoons from the 1920s.

“People are coming back out of their houses,” Young explained enthusiastically. “The town is getting back to its fun-filled self. It will be different, but hopefully we will see some old and new faces back in town!”

Kilkenny Animated is hosted by Cartoon Saloon and Lighthouse Studios. The directors are Paul Young, co-founder of Cartoon Saloon; and Naoise Nunn, of Schweppe Curtis Nunn.

Tickets available now at 

Pictured above: The Cuphead Show!, El Deafo, My Father’s Dragon

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