Cartoon Saloon is an Irish animation film and television studio based in Kilkenny which provides illustration, design, film and TV services. The studio is best known for its animated feature films The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner and Wolfwalkers. Their works have received four Academy Award nominations, their first three feature length works all received nominations for Best Animated Feature and one for Best Animated Short Film (Late Afternoon). The company also developed the cartoon series Skunk Fu! and Puffin Rock. As of 2020 the studio employs 300 animators.
Logo prior to 2018
|Industry||Media and Entertainment|
|Products||Animated feature films|
Number of employees
Cartoon Saloon was established in Kilkenny during 1999 by Tomm Moore and Paul Young  along with director Nora Twomey. The three were all alumni of the Ballyfermot College of Further Education’s animation degree course. Cartoon Saloon began working on a trailer for its first feature film, The Secret of Kells, that same year. However, the film did not enter full production until 2005; the company animated corporate work such as advertisements as they searched for funding. Meanwhile the studio of 12 animators relied on commercial and corporate work including web-site design and CD ROM production with Paul Young focusing on illustration whilst Tomm Moore undertook the animation.
Both The Secret of Kells and the studio’s 2nd feature Song of the Sea were inspired by the The Thief and the Cobbler and Mulan while the founders were in university. Tomm Moore, the director of both films, said "Some friends in college and I were inspired by Richard Williams' unfinished masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler and the Disney movie Mulan, which took indigenous traditional art as the starting point for a beautiful style of 2D animation. I felt that something similar could be done with Irish art." A 2001 meeting with Les Armateurs proved instrumental in the effort to secure funding for The Secret of Kells, and the company helped in the production of the final film.
The success and Oscar nomination of the film in 2009 led to major offers for Cartoon Saloon, but the studio chose to remain independent. This led to a difficult time financially for the company for a few years with the partners having to take out personal loans to keep the studio afloat.
Since its founding, Cartoon Saloon has grown into a multi-award-winning animation and illustration design studio.
|#||Title||Release date||Budget||Gross||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic|
|1||The Secret of Kells±||3 March 2009
19 March 2010 (US)
|$8 million||$3.5 million||91%||81|
|2||Song of the Sea±||19 December 2014 (US)
10 July 2015 (UK & Ireland)
|7.5 million||$4.4 million||99%||85|
|3||The Breadwinner±||17 November 2017 (US)
25 May 2018 (UK & Ireland)
|10 million||$4.4 million||95%||78|
|4||Wolfwalkers||11 December 2020|||
|5||My Father's Dragon||2021|||
|1||From Darkness||13 July 2002|
|2||Backwards Boy (also known as Cúilín Dualach)||16 October 2004|
|3||Old Fangs||1 July 2009|
|4||Somewhere Down the Line||12 July 2014|
|5||The Ledge End of Phil: From Accounting||15 November 2014|
± Oscar nominee
|#||Title||Premiere date||End date||Network|
|2||Puffin Rock||2015||2016||RTÉjr/Nick Jr./Netflix|
|3||Ellie the Ace|
|4||Dorg Van Dango||2020||Nickelodeon/Family Channel, co-produced with Wildbrain|
|Eddie of the Realms Eternal||Pitched to Amazon|
|2010||Santa's Apprentice||Co-production||Animation production by Gaumont Alphanim|
|2012||Moon Man||Co-production||Animation production by Schesch Filmkreation|
|2014||The Prophet||Segment (On Love)||Animation production by Ventanarosa|
- Deegan, Gordon (4 January 2018). "Profits soar at Cartoon Saloon animation studio in Kilkenny". Independent.ie. Independent News & Media plc. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Up Wins Animated Feature: 2010 Oscars
- "Coco" wins Best Animated Feature-Oscars on YouTube
- "Big Hero 6" winning Best Animated Feature Film-Oscars on YouTube
- Cartoon Saloon receive fourth Oscar nomination-Kilkenny People
- "Bao" wins Best Animated Short Film-Oscars on YouTube
- Strike, Joe (29 May 2008). "The Smell of Success: 'Skunk Fu!' Conquers the World". Animation World Network. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Keegan, Rebecca (9 January 2015). "Animator Tomm Moore lives the dream with a 'Song' in his heart". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Cohen, Karl (16 March 2010). "'The Secret of Kells' - What is this Remarkable Animated Feature?". Animation World Network. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Roddy Flynn; Tony Tracy (9 August 2019). Historical Dictionary of Irish Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-1-5381-1958-7.
- Desowitz, Bill (15 December 2009). "Moore Illuminates 'The Secret of Kells'". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019.
- Cohen, Karl (16 March 2010). "The Secret of Kells – What is this Remarkable Animated Feature?". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012.
- Clarke, Donald (7 March 2009). "Book of Kells hits the big screen". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 18 August 2019.
- Brady, Tara (10 July 2015). "Tomm Moore, Celtic cartoonist with two Oscar nods". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015.
- "Who We Are". cartoonsaloon.ie.
- "Emperor of the Irish". Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland. 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- "The Secret of Kells (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "The Secret of Kells (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "The Secret of Kells Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Song of the Sea (2013)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Song of the Sea (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Song of the Sea Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "The Breadwinner". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- "The Breadwinner (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- "The Breadwinner Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Connelly, Brendon (11 November 2015). "Wolfwalkers: first pics of new film". Den of Geek!. Matthew Sullivan-Pond. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Milligan, Mercedes (30 May 2019). "Cartoon Saloon Launches Rights Division, Teams with Dentsu USA on 'Wolfwalkers'". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- Cartoon Saloon's Animated 'Wolfwalkers' Battled Covid-19 in Ireland|IndieWire
- NetfIix’s New Animation Slate Includes Craig McCracken, Nora Twomey, and Jorge Gutierrez (Analysis)-Cartoon Brew
- WATCH: Oscar-Nominated Irish Animation Short Film 'Late Afternoon'|Irish Tatler
- Zahed, Ramin (22 September 2013). "Cartoon Saloon's 'Puffin Rock' Lands on Nick Jr". Animation Magazine. Jean Thoren. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- Amidi, Amid (4 May 2015). "First Look: Cartoon Saloon's 'Ellie the Ace' Series". Cartoon Brew. Cartoon Brew, LLC. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- New original kids’ series, co-produced with Cartoon Saloon, expected to roll out in 2020, Skwigly
- Zahed, Ramin (13 June 2018). "Cartoon Saloon Goes Back in Time with 'Vikingskool'". Animation Magazine. Jean Thoren. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (16 October 2015). "Amazon Studios 6 Fall Kids' Pilots Include 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie'". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Lehmann, Megan (8 December 2011). "Santa's Apprentice: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Eldridge Industries, LLC. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Simon, Alissa (11 October 2012). "Review: 'Moon Man'". Variety. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "Cartoon Saloon's Moon Man to Screen at the IFI Family Film Festival". Irish Film Board. 5 July 2012. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.