This year’s Virtual Animation Dingle presented by JAM Media took place throughout this week, delivering an incredible lineup of guests and speakers from a virtual Dingle Town — including the iconic Dick Mack’s Pub, the Phoenix cinema and usual festival haunts. Over 2,500 participants tuned in to the Festival across all the platforms.
Festival co-founders Maurice Galway and John Rice of JAM Media welcomed Tánaiste and Vice President of Ireland Leo Varadkar to officially open the 9th Animation Dingle Festival on Wednesday.
“Ireland has built a strong reputation internationally as a centre of excellence for animation and I’m proud to continue to honor the work of the growing legion of award-winning Irish animators,” said Varadkar, who also serves as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. “Over the years, Animation Dingle has succeeded in fostering Irish and international industry relationships. The caliber of attendees this year alone speaks to the strong collaborative working relationship Ireland has established with the global sector and I look forward to seeing the industry continue to flourish and grow as a result of events such as these.”
“The animation industry in Ireland has been a long cornerstone of our vibrant entertainment industry, it has seen significant growth in the last decade, and it’s now an integral part of our digital creative economy,” noted Eileen Bell, Senior Business Development Adviser at Enterprise Ireland. “In 2020 alone, Enterprise Ireland supported more than 80 Irish companies in the broad animation, media, digital entertainment, game development and advertising sector. Those companies generated over €180 million in exports last year. Animation Dingle has played a key role in that success story and Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support in this year’s virtual event.”
The Big Pitcher event sponsored by DreamWorks Animation went virtual also, and JAM Media sought to uncover the next big, upcoming Irish Animator. A panel of top industry judges selected Nova by Kirsten Hennessy (Athlone IT) as the winning pitch of 2021.
The 2021 Murakami Award was bestowed on Robert Cullen, Creative Director & Founder, Boulder Media.
The inaugural Virtual Animation Dingle Festival came to a close on Thursday night with the YouTube Kids Animation Dingle Awards, emceed by Alison Spittle, with audiences around the globe tuning in to find out the winners. This year, the Festival received submissions from 26 countries and exhibited animation from Ireland, U.K., France, Canada, U.S., China and beyond, and the adjudication process selected nominees across all award categories. Two estimable jury panels selected the winners in student and professional categories.
The Student categories winners are:
BEST IRISH (Sponsored by RTÉjr) – The Pursuit, Iobhar Stokes Rodriguez
“A really captivating film, wonderful soundscape. Loved the hand drawn feel and detail.” — Suzanne Kelly, Head of Children’s and Young People’s Content, RTÉ
BEST INTERNATIONAL (Sponsored by CBBC) – 100,000 Acres of Pine, Jennifer Alice Wright, Denmark
“Impressive, fantastic designs, characters and backgrounds, great atmosphere, lighting and sound effects. I love the animation style which feels classic but very contemporary at the same time.” — Patricia Hidalgo, Director of Children’s + Education, BBC
Best DIRECTOR (Sponsored by Brown Bag Films) – Forest, Dermott Burns
“This just looks beautiful!!! Really vivid!” — Eimear O’Mahony, Executive Producer Children’s & Young People’s Content, RTÉ
BEST WRITER (Sponsored by Darrell Macqueen) – Husky, Darragh Scott
“I liked the bold style. The story was dramatic and compelling.” — Will Collins, Screenwriter (Wolfwalkers)
Special Honourable Mention for The Press Conference, Daniel McNicholl
BEST DESIGN/ART DIRECTION (Sponsored by JAM Media) – Forest, Dermott Burns
BEST ANIMATION (Sponsored by Milkshake) – Husky, Darragh Scott
BEST 2D (Sponsored by Cartoon Saloon) – Ruslan, Jack McHugh, Conor McNally
Best 3D/CGI (Sponsored by Boulder Media) – Coat, Matthew Duddy, Glenn O’Neill
BEST STOP MOTION (Sponsored by Aardman Animations) – Pearl Diver, Margrethe Danielsen, Norway
BEST MUSIC/SOUND DESIGN (Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland) – Husky, Darragh Scott
“The sound mix and music underscore work perfectly with the visuals. With such a simple look it has created a deep emotional and thoroughly enjoyable film.” — Louise Bucknole, VP Programming Kids, ViacomCBS Networks International, UK & Ireland, Milkshake
BEST STING (Sponsored by EGG Post Productions) – Dingzilla, Tahyne Litte and Veronica Koskinen, University of Dundee
As well as the YouTube Kids Animation Dingle Student Awards, the Festival also runs their annual YAOTY (Young Animator of the Year) competition sponsored by Disney Channels:
YAOTY WINNER (Sponsored by Disney Channels) – Old Fool: Look to the Sky, by Jude O’Brien
Special Mention to Look to the Sky, Shayna Gail Velasquez
In 2021 the Festival introduced some brand-new award categories, and the winners are:
Best Irish Professional Short (Sponsored by IDA) – Her Song, Éabha Bortolozzo, Jack Kirwan
“Powerful Irish story, an affecting film, emotive, dark, sad and painful.” — Dr. Steve Henderson, Director, Manchester Animation Festival
Inaugural Best International Professional Short (Sponsored by Nickelodeon) – Kapaemahu, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
“A stunning piece. Such a fascinating story beautifully told. The warm lighting, earth tones and gentle boil on the characters alongside the masterful camera work gives the whole piece a strong sense of movement and direction. The close up shot of the young boy at the end is breathtaking.” — Kyle Jenkins, Channel 5 Broadcasting
Inaugural Best Animated Short Audience Choice Award (Sponsored by Lighthouse Studios) – Forest, Dermott Burns, Belfast School of Art
Inaugural Best Animated Feature Audience Choice Award (Sponsored by GFM Animation) – Wolfwalkers, Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart, Cartoon Saloon
“Animation Dingle are delighted to have YouTube Kids as title sponsor to our Student Awards and I want to congratulate every student from across the 26 countries who entered, was shortlisted and who won an award this year! Inspirational animators, viewing all of your work was an absolute pleasure and an honor, thank you!” said Maurice Galway, Co-founder and Director of Animation Dingle.
‘We’re amazed at the international digital footfall that this year’s Animation Dingle Festival has been able to attract. Audiences from all over the world are flocking to see the best in class of Irish and International animation. The content has never been stronger and it is wonderful to be able to bring the magic of Animation Dingle to the world. We look forward to continuing to grow the festival digitally over the coming years along with reinstating the physical event,” added John Rice, Co-founder of Animation Dingle and CEO Jam Media.