Canada’s Mercury Filmworks and Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon have joined forces to create a new, full-service animation venture: Lighthouse Studios. Based in Kilkenny, Ireland, the studio will create 140 jobs over the next three years of buildup and significantly bolster local animation production by developing kids’ and family TV content for global multiplatform distribution, with a focus on 2D animation projects.
“We have enormous respect for Cartoon Saloon and could not be happier to announce this collaboration. They are one of today’s most creative and well respected animation companies with goals, perspectives, and philosophies that complement our own,” Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland said during the announcement. “Conceived as a studio with its own unique identity, Lighthouse Studios is neither wholly Mercury Filmworks nor Cartoon Saloon, but rather the best parts of each, transplanted in the rich Irish soil and nurtured by its own talented team of artists into a studio with its own unique and distinct creative perspective.”
Lighthouse Studios plans to announced development and production projects as well as a hiring initiative for production management, design, animation, effects, compositing, technical direction, 3D modeling, rigging, lighting and texturing, and IT administration candidates in the coming weeks.
The newly formed studio will provide high quality children’s and family animated content development and end-to-end production services — from script writing, design, storyboard, animation and compositing to post production. Specializing in 2D animation with some CGI integration and utilizing the latest technologies, the studio’s production pipeline will mirror Mercury Filmworks’ operation. Lighthouse Studios will, however, operate autonomously with its own management team, reporting to a Board of Directors comprised of executives from both Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon.
“All of us at Cartoon Saloon are delighted to be in partnership with Mercury, as we have long admired their work. And now, together, we plan to make Lighthouse Studios and Kilkenny a center of excellence for animation,” added Cartoon Saloon CEO Paul Young. “Ireland enjoys a number of advantages when it comes to animation. The industry is supported by a growing number of educational programs and draws talent from all over Europe due to the quality of projects being produced here. The Irish talent pool has been spilling over into other parts of Europe and North America for years and we look forward to welcoming a lot of that talent home.”
The joint announcement was made in Kilkenny, where Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor; Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland; Cartoon Saloon’s CEO Paul Young, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan TD; and IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan were joined by a number of local dignitaries and executives and artists from both companies.
“This is terrific news and I warmly welcome the additional 140 jobs which will be created in Kilkenny. I am always keen to pursue as wide a range of Foreign Investment projects as possible and this launch today shows that we have the creative talent to attract companies like Mercury Filmworks to Ireland,” said Mary Mitchell O’Connor. “Ireland has a strong record in film making, including animation, and I have no doubt that this partnership between Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon will go from strength to strength.”
John Halligan TD agreed:
“This is a really positive development for the South East region. The Government through the Action Plan for Jobs is very focused on ensuring all of Ireland benefit from job creation. This project today shows that we have the capability to attract big international projects, requiring a diverse range of talents, which bring well paid jobs to this region. I know Kilkenny will be a great home for the new venture.”