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Cartoon Saloon: Behind the Screens

Cartoon Saloon, the Kilkenny, Ireland, animation studio, has a critically acclaimed and powerfully distinctive style and redefines what it means to communicate with fans through art, storytelling and brands with soul.

Ben Roberts

April 5, 2021

2 Min Read

One could argue that multiple BAFTA, Golden Globes, Emmy and Academy Award nominations are enough to explain why Cartoon Saloon is one of the world's most exciting international animation studios in operation today. Others believe the giant fan base connected to films like "Song of the Sea," "The Secret of Kells" and its latest addition, "Wolfwalkers" is a better example of the studio's success. After speaking with co-founder Paul Young and general manager Brian Tyrell, License Global discovers a far more human element behind the success and evergreen creativity of Cartoon Saloon.

The Creative Heart of Cartoon Saloon "Cartoon Saloon is a creator-led studio founded by three animation students right out of college," says Paul Young, chief executive officer and co-founder, Cartoon Saloon. "We produce both feature films and TV series and serials. 'Puffin Rock' is an example of the kind of kids' show we do, which is streaming now on Netflix and many traditional broadcasters worldwide, and 'Wolfwalkers' is our fourth feature film. Our productions use very traditional illustrative drawing and painting techniques to achieve a distinctive look. The studio has always aimed for its stories to be original and have an evergreen quality that children and adults can watch for years to come."

The in-house brands of Cartoon Saloon are examples of the studio's unique approach to evergreen storytelling. The folklore of "The Secret of Kells," "Song of the Sea" and "Wolfwalkers" takes stories passed down through generations to bring Ireland to a global audience.

The studio's first feature film, "The Secret of Kells," marked director Tomm Moore's first Oscar nomination in 2015, followed up by another Academy Award nod for both Moore and producer Young with "Song of the Sea" upon launch. In 2017, Cartoon Saloon launched "The Breadwinner" – a feature film based on the international best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis – that garnered the studio another Golden Globe and Academy Award nod in 2017 for its internationally-relatable portrayal of two children forming a bond and battling adversity against the backdrop of Kabul in 2001. Cartoon Saloon's approach to storytelling – personified by its signature style of framing the world of the characters and its magical, flowing scenes – has given the studio a voice on the global feature film stage. However, before "The Breadwinner," the studio entered the show and series market with the Netflix, RTE Jr. and Nick Jr. debut of "Puffin Rock" in 2015. Created in collaboration with Penguin Books, "Puffin Rock" is a preschool series that tells Oona and Baba's family-centric story on a beautiful island off the coast of Ireland. The 30-episode series is still on-air today and has a feature film in the works with a growing base of fans and loyal viewers.

To learn more about Cartoon Saloon, check out the March Issue of License Global, the Kids' Issue, here.  

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Cartoon Saloon

About the Author(s)

Ben Roberts

Content Director (EMEA), License Global

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