We are back! The 2nd Irish Film Festival of India launches at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on April 1st by H. E. Feilim McLaughlin, Ambassador of Ireland to India. If last year’s theme was all about the word this year it’s all about the picture. Irish Animation: Drawing From Our Experience, is a celebration of the art-form, from the earliest stop-frame work produced in the country, to today’s award-winning, cutting-edge 3D CGI. It is also a rare opportunity for our disparate cultures to converse free of the shackles of our respective mother tongues. Animation, like silent film, is a genre that transcends all language barriers and national boundaries. A form of storytelling that privileges the visual; animation speaks a cinematic language that is truly international.
It also turns out the Irish are pretty good at this animating lark. Perhaps, as is explored in our beautiful opening film, the Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells, we’ve inherited the gift for the drawn line from our tradition of monastic scriptoria at the time when Ireland was renowned for producing incomparable illustrated manuscripts. Perhaps it is due to Disney senior animator, Sullivan Bluth, opening studios in Dublin in the late 80s, where he produced The Land Before Time & An American Tail. But whatever the provenance, Irish animation today is considered among the best in the world which multiple Oscar BAFTA and Emmy Awards bear testament.
And of course, there is an Indian connection. Not only have Irish producers looked far beyond their own borders for distribution of their work, with top-rated animated series currently airing on the likes of BBC, Nickelodeon US, and Disney Junior, but to produce these shows, in many cases they have teamed up with Indian partners; companies such as Chennai-based Animantz, DSK Group Pune and Mumbai’s Maya Entertainment Limited. It seems animation is the true marriage between art and commerce and a unique place where Indians and Irish can tell stories together.
We have over 40 feature and short films of contrasting styles and radically diverse themes screening throughout the festival, so there is something to challenge and entertain everyone; a selection of acclaimed animated films, which I hope provokes a positive response to the question often asked in Ireland, “Are you going to the pictures?”