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Industry / Market - Ireland

Industry Report: Animation

Screen Ireland’s Talent Development Academy for Animation to be led by Animation Ireland

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The national audiovisual agency’s new initiative will commit to nurturing diverse and regional talent, and creating opportunities on the national level

Screen Ireland’s Talent Development Academy for Animation to be led by Animation Ireland
CEO of Animation Ireland Ronan McCabe

Last week, Screen Ireland, the country’s audiovisual agency, officially appointed Animation Ireland as the lead organisation to manage the establishment of a Talent Development Academy for Animation. The initiative is aimed at creating and expanding “opportunities for diverse and regional talent on the national level” and will address “innovation, skills development and sectoral growth”.

In detail, the establishment of the academy is the result of additional stimulus investment for animation provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and follows the creation of an initiative for TV drama. Together, the two efforts will form part of a wider strategy to support skills development across all regions of Ireland, with a particular focus on diversity and inclusion.

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As the lead organisation, Animation Ireland will work closely with various national and industry stakeholders, and will pursue “the overarching aim to address and support current educational skills gaps in the industry”.

Commenting on the provision, Minister Catherine Martin TD said: “I am pleased to welcome the announcement of Animation Ireland as the lead organisation managing the delivery of this important Talent Development Academy for the animation sector. I know that animation was one of our sectors that demonstrated its adaptability with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this investment in talent – a key to growing and developing the sector – will continue to reinforce and highlight Ireland’s growing position in animation as a centre of excellence. I look forward to seeing the diverse range of talent and genres supported by this initiative and the continued international success of our animators.”

Meanwhile, Screen Ireland’s chief executive, Désirée Finnegan, added: “We would like to thank Minister Martin TD for the stimulus funding support for the animation sector. We are delighted that Animation Ireland will lead and manage this national approach to talent development for animation. The Talent Development Academy for Animation joins the TV Drama Academy as an ambitious initiative to support the unique needs, opportunities and skills requirements for the sustained growth of the creative-screen sector. The Irish animation industry has earned a world-class reputation for the calibre of storytelling and visual artistry it consistently delivers with its award-winning work that is enjoyed by millions around the world. By positioning the academy as an opportunity driver for innovation and expanding the diversity of voices within the industry, this is an important step in securing the animation sector’s continued success.”

Finally, the CEO of Animation Ireland, Ronan McCabe, explained: “The recruitment, retention, development and nurturing of diverse talent is a key priority for the animation industry, and the establishment of the Talent Development Academy will contribute to the continuing and future success of the sector in Ireland. Animation Ireland in association with our partners, Animation Skillnet and Dublin Business Innovation Centre, is delighted to have been appointed by Screen Ireland as the lead organisation to establish the Talent Development Academy for Animation. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister Catherine Martin TD for her funding support and vision for this initiative.”

The Irish animation sector has recorded sharp growth over the last ten years, almost quadrupling in size to its production figures for 2019, which show that animation accounted for almost 50% of all domestic production spend. Currently, the major industry players are Brown Bag Films, Boulder Media, Giant Animation and Cartoon Saloon, the latter being the lead producer on Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s recent hit Wolfwalkers [+see also:
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. Despite the hardships caused by the coronavirus crisis, Irish animation remains a solid segment of the local audiovisual industry and still offers favourable production conditions along with consistent state support via the Section 481 tax incentive.

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