The Dingle International Film Festival, the innovative boutique festival which is open to everyone has taken the lead again. In a joint initiative with Irish animation company ‘Jam Media’ it is set to host ‘Animation Dingle’ a one-day gathering of industry professionals. The symposium will take place in the town’s St. James Church on Saturday 16th March, the second day of the four day festival. For the first time ever the senior figures running the top five companies in the sector will gather to celebrate their craft and discuss issues of mutual interest.
There is undoubtedly has been much to celebrate in recent years for Irish cartoon creators. Brown Bag films which will be represented at the Dingle event has earned Oscar nominations for Give Up Yer Auld Sins (2002), Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2010) and Bafta and Emmy nominations for their hugely popular TV series, The Octonauts (2011). JAM Media, led by CEO Kerryman John Rice, itself won a BAFTA award last year for its animation/live action programme ‘Roy’. In addition it scooped up the Producer of the Year award at the Cartoon Forum’s event in Toulouse, France.
This key event will discuss and debate issue relevant to the practitioners in the sector. However interested viewers and cartoon enthusiasts are welcome to attend. There are in fact two childrens’ animation showcases being screened displaying work suitable for pre-primary and post-primary children. In addition the winner of the best short animation award at Sundance Film Festival will be on show.
The Dingle International Film Festival has a reputation for attracting industry names who come to the event year after year. Members of Gregory Peck’s family, who have cousins in the town have been frequent visitors as has celebrated documentary film-maker Sé Merry Doyle. This recorder of cultural life in Ireland and beyond has a particular task to perform at Animation Dingle. The ‘Jimmy Murakami Award’ for achievement in the practice of animation is to be presented for the first time. Fittingly it will be given to past Oscar nominee and director and animator of Raymond Biggs’s novels ‘The Snowman’ and ‘When the Wind Blows’, Jimmy Murakami. The Dublin-based Japanese-American has had an illustrious career and in Doyle agreeing to hand over the award a certain symmetry is accomplished. For it was his company Loopline Films that recorded Jimmy’s experiences and the residual anger resulting from his and his family’s internment in an American prison camp during the second world war.
What promises to be a seminal event in the history of the animation industry in Ireland will close with a visual treat. In 1967 the American Film Institute was founded by the Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. Gregory Peck a grandson of Dingle was one of the initial trustees. The first film the AFI funded in 1968 was ‘The Good Friends’ a ten-minute animation. Fittingly this piece will close out Animation Dingle 2013.