In Conversation
Cartoon Saloon’s Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young

The Oscar-nominated creative team from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon share their secret for success.

With films like The Secret of Kells, The Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner, My Father’s Dragon and Wolfwalkers, Cartoon Saloon has established itself as one of the world’s leading animation studios. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, the three founders and creative leaders of the Irish studio discuss their history, revealing how they work to produce strong stories and a high-quality, hand-drawn aesthetic.

Tomm Moore
Co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon over Cartoon Saloon’s history, Tomm has worked as Director, Art Director, Storyboarder, Animator and Illustrator across a range of the studio’s projects. Tomm has directed 3 universally successful feature films. All three were nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Award ® The Secret of Kells in 2010 and the spiritual follow-up, Song of the Sea in 2015. His latest feature film Wolfwalkers which he co-directed with Ross Stewart received several prominent critics’ awards including LAFCA Award and NYFCC Award as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA and wins in several categories including Best Director and Best Independent Feature at the 2021 Annie Awards. Both Song of the Sea and Wolfwalkers won the IFTA for best film while The Secret of Kells won best animation and rising star awards at the IFTAs. Having completed the informal ‘Trilogy’ of Irish folklore and history inspired films he is researching a new direction for the next cycle of features focusing on the Irish diaspora and its connections with other cultures. He is currently working as creative producer across several of Cartoon Saloon’s new film and series projects as well as refocusing on his personal art training, focusing on figure drawing and oil painting. Tomm is a lifelong tattoo and comic book art enthusiast.

Nora Twomey
Partner and Creative Director Cartoon Saloon Nora’s passion for visual storytelling began at an early age and has led her to explore the medium of animation with her collaborators in Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny, Ireland. From the studio’s early years, directing award winning short films and commercials, she went on to co-direct Tomm Moore’s Academy Award® nominated The Secret of Kells while also guiding the development processes on a number of series including the preschool show Puffin Rock. Nora was Head of Story and Voice Director on Academy Award ® nominated Song of the Sea. She directed The Breadwinner, which was nominated for an Academy Award® and Golden Globe and won several international awards including the Best Indie Feature Annie and the Audience and Jury Awards at Annecy. Nora most recently directed My Father’s Dragon feature film, a Netflix original animated feature, inspired by the Newbery Award winning children’s book by Ruth Stiles Gannett. She continues to collaborate with her creative partners Tomm Moore and Paul Young as a Director, Producer, Editor, Writer, Production Artist, Voice Director, depending on the needs of each production.

Paul Young
Co-Founder and Creative Director Cartoon Saloon Paul is a co-founder of Cartoon Saloon, an IFTA winner and Oscar ®, Emmy and BAFTA nominee. He produced animated features, My Father’s Dragon, Wolfwalkers, The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner as well as a number of award-winning TV series including Puffin Rock, Dorg Van Dango and Vikingskool. Screecher’s Reach is a ‘Star Wars Visions’ short released on Disney+ and has been directed at Cartoon Saloon by Paul. Paul is also an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator.

My Father’s Dragon
Sat 27 Jan 12:00
Funday Workshop: Puffin Rock and the New Friends
Sun 28 Jan 10:30
Funday: Puffin Rock and the New Friends
Sun 28 Jan 11:45

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
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