Inside Culture – S2 #3 (Animation Dingle 2017)

This week Inside Culture comes from Animation Dingle 2017. Now in its fifth year this animation festival brings students and professionals together for talks, screenings, awards and the all-important networking.

Maurice Galway and John Rice (JAM Media) – both of them co-directors of the festival – tell Fionn Davenport about the growth of this festival in Dingle and how important it is for students to rub shoulders with leaders in the world of animation.


Dean deBlois is the director of the How To Train Your Dragon films. They’re based on Cressida Cowell’s books and have been a major hit for Dreamworks. Dean tells Fionn about the importance of diversity in animation and how there should be more gay cartoon characters like the Viking character Gobber in How To Train Your Dragon. He discusses how this franchise has become such a big hit and mentions that his links with Ireland go back to the days of Sullivan Bluth animation company which was based in Dublin in the 80’s and 90’s.

Cartoon Saloon’s co-founder Paul Young and Brown Bag Film’s director of development Jennie Stacey join the head of Children’s Content at RTÉ, Sheila de Courcy to talk about the animation industry at home and how Ireland – with Brexit and with its links to the US – finds itself in a pivotal position to see the sector grow. Both Cartoon Saloon and Brown Bag films have secured international awards and nominations that have made them global brands. The talent is there as is the entrepreneurial spirit but Paul Young wonders if the various strands need to officially coalesce to become stronger.

RTÉ recently made the decision to outsource their children’s content to the independent sector and CBBC’s controller Cheryl Taylor says that there are some advantages for this as collaboration can make for better programming. She also says that while the impact of Brexit can’t yet be felt on the animation sector, it will, but she’s also sure that no challenge is insurmountable and that the animation industry is borderless.

Russell Hicks is the former President of Content Development and Production for the Nickelodeon Group and is one of the keynote speakers at Animation Dingle. He has recently left the media giant to pursue his own agenda and tells Fionn about his plans for the future as well as offering sage advice to students.

Students make up the backbone of the festival and Inside Culture samples some of the excitement and aspirations of the young animators as they pitch their work and vie for awards. Fionn speaks to young animators Sean Cunningham and Fiona Ryan who were both up for awards for their films Define Intervention and Joining The Dots, respectively. They tell Fionn about the inspiration for their work and how Animation Dingle offers them support and encouragement.

Broadcast on Monday, 03rd April 2017.