Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Premiere night Dublin Film Festival (just the first bit)

Premiere pics


Superstars Evan McGuire and Christen Mooney (Brendan and Aisling)


some video from Sunday night


Gala screening

Still recovering from Sunday night it was a great buzz.
We all really enjoyed it and are really excited about Disneys plans to promote it over the next few weeks , watch out for the buses and projected images in Trinity college.
A big online thanks to Grainne Humphries and all at Jameson Dublin Film Festival
and to everyone who was in attendence on Sunday night.
It was lovely to meet the young actors , Evan Mc Guire and Christen Mooney again.
And Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally have been so supportive helping to spread the word.

We saw the first billboards up on the way out of Dublin coming home which was a great buzz too!

Irish Times on line comment!

There was one chink of glorious light this weekend. We went to see The Secret of Kells (see the website for accompanying book here) last night, the closing film in the Dublin Film Festival. It is the first full-length Irish animation and co-directed by Kilkenny man Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey. It was stunning. A cascade of light and colour and wonder burst from the screen. And a beautifully-measured tale about the creation of the Book of Kells in 6th century Ireland. Gorgeous ornate animation with unmistakable (and unforgettable) Celtic motifs. Great voices from actors Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally and two child actors. Amazing.

In an atmosphere of communal despair, this amazing work showed what is, and can, be possible. It was the first ‘yes we can’ moment I have experienced since the beginning of the year.

Please go and see it when it opens. It’s uplifting.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Irish Premiere Tommorow Night

Gulp! Its gonna be great! But I'm all butterflies in anticipation!
Can't wait to see so many people from the production who will be there , as well as
all the actors and musicians and friends and families.
It sold out really quickly , so thats a good sign I think!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twitch Review copied and pasted !


Posted by Todd Brown at 10:31am.

Posted in Film & DVD Reviews , Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Continental Europe & Russia, UK, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand.

If you’re thinking to yourself that basing a children’s film around the creation of a famously illustrated Bible is an odd thing to do, well, you’re mostly right. It is kind of odd. And in lesser hands than director Tomm Moore and co-director Nora Twohey’s, doing so very likely would have resulted in a barely watchable history lesson. But by focusing less on the book - which, conspicuously, is never referred to as being a Bible within the body of the film - and more on the child who would eventually complete the years of labor that went into its creation, Moore and Twohey have instead created a charming, gorgeously realized fable about the power of imagination and art to thrive even in the most hostile times.

Young Brendan is an orphan living within the Abbey of Kells, a middle ages Irish monastery populated by monks whose lives are meant to be dedicated to the preservation and duplication - by hand - of books containing the whole of human knowledge at the time. Preserving knowledge is an important task at the best of times and particularly so at this particular age, a time when Viking hordes were storming the shores of Ireland and laying waste to whatever they came across. But, more than mere copyists, the monks of the Abbey were artists, men known as Illuminators thanks to their unique ability to create elaborate calligraphies and illustrations within the text to carry the meaning even to those who could not read. Brendan’s childhood was one surrounded by myth and story and art, a nearly ideal environment for a child with a curious mind and a bit of skill with a quill.

Unfortunately, Brendan’s childhood was also spent surrounded by one enormous wall. The Abbot of Kells, you see, terrified of the oncoming Viking raiders, has diverted virtually all of the Abbey’s resources away from the art that was supposedly their primary occupation and put them, insteaed, into fortifying the Abbey against future invasion. Though well meaning the Abbot verges on obsessive when it comes to the completion of his wall and young Brendan, alas, has never been allowed to set foot outside of its boundaries.

Life for Brendan changes dramatically with the arrival of Brother Aidan, a living legend among Illuminators, widely considered to be the very finest artist of his generation and the man currently in charge of work on the fabled Book of Iona - a book now roughly two hundred years in the making, a book supposedly so beautiful that it possesses nearly supernatural power. Iona sacked by raiders, Aidan has now brought his work with him to Kells and it takes mere moments for him to recognize a kindred spirit in Brendan and to take the boy under his wing. Lesson one? You will learn more from a day spent in the forest than from a lifetime behind walls and so Brendan is sent out into the woods - without the Abbot’s knowledge or consent - to find the oak berries that Aidan needs to create his inks. It is a dangerous, wild place, but also a beautiful one - a place that Brendan navigates only with the help of a forest spirit he meets and befriends there ...

Immediately engaging and gorgeously realized, Brendan and the Secret of Kells avoids the limitations of a ‘historical’ movie, instead casting itself as a coming of age adventure, with its young hero forced to make his first steps on his own, making his own decisions about right and wrong and finding the strength in himself to face up to his fears and foes both magical and frighteningly real. It is a film about being bold enough to create and the fallacy of simply trying to preserve.

The debut feature from Irish animator Tomm Moore - the film also had significant backing from France and Belgium - immediately establishes Moore as an absolute master of his craft - a story teller and visual artist who absolutely deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as masters such as Michel Ocelot and Sylvain Chomet. His world is richly detailed and strikingly unique, folding traditionally Irish influences into a riot of color and detail that dazzle the eyes while the deceptively simple story goes to work on more subtle levels. His characters are just as richly detailed as his visuals, the messages simple and universal. This is no less than the arrival of a major new talent.

Gwan the Cats!

David O'Reilly (a talented young Kilkenny man who used to work with us and hang out in our studio during his teenage years )won the Golden Bear in Berlinale.
His beautiful and touching short "Please say something" really impressed everyone who saw it on the HUGE screen in Berlin.
Here we all are with our hip scarfs in Berlin ! A fine bunch of Kilkenny Cats.
Congratulations David!

Comics in shops!

Thanks to Annes pal for taking these snaps!

Twitch Review

Wow! Another very nice review. Its very gratifying!
So happy people are enjoying the movie.


P.S. only niggle is the slight mispelling of my co-director Nora's surname its Nora TWOMEY (a fine Cork name it is too ) !

sure its great just to be nominated!

The European Association of Animation Film has announced this week the nominees selected for the Cartoon Movie Tributes 2009. The winners will be announced at the Centre de Congrès in Lyon on 7 March.

The nominees are:

Best European Director of the Year

* Thorbjørn Christoffersen, Craig Frank and Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen (Denmark) for «Journey to Saturn»
* Jacques-Rémy Girerd (France) for «Mia and the Migoo»
* Tomm Moore (Ireland) for «The Secret of Kells»

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bums on seats

C'mon everyone in Belgium and France! Encourage everyone to go to see this film! Bring your Granny!

some translations of French press! (thanks Anne!)

Télérama - Cécile Mury
"Le récit alerte, tour à tour cocasse et émouvant, ne cesse de surprendre, d'éblouir. Une vraie révélation."
"This lively tale, switching from entertaining to moving, never stops to surprise, to amaze. A true revelation."

Le Monde - Isabelle Régnier
"L'univers visuel est d'une telle splendeur qu'il mantient son spectateur dans un état de reve éveillé, du début à la fin."
"The visual context is so splendid that it keeps the viewer in a daydreaming state, from start to finish."

Première - Didier Roth-Bettoni:
"Ce conte recèle de richesses visuelles - les dessins, d'inspiration celte, sont splendides - et thématiques (...). Merveilleux!"
"This tale is full of visual wealth - drawings, from celtic inspiration, are splendid - and of thematic wealth (..). Wonderful!"

Le Parisien - Renaud Baronian:
"Personnages, décors et lettrines virevoltent en permanence, occasionnant un exquis tournis chez le spectateur, grand ou petit."
"Characters, backgrounds and illumination twirl around all the way through the movie, provoking an exquisite dizziness in all viewers, grown-ups as well as little ones."

L'Express.fr - Christophe Carrière:
"Chaque image est une fete pour les yeux, convoque une idée, éveille une pensée...".
"Each frame is a feast for the eyes, appeals an idea, awakes a thought...".

Jean Baptiste Ven Damme

The man, the legend , JB is in town for the Premiere and hanging out in the studio this week. Tis great to see him and check out the beautiful work he's been doing!


some man for one man!

happy birthday production baby

Oilver McGrath , the production baby was 1 year old on Saturday!
Apparently he spent the day charming the ladies of Berlin.


Last night I saw Coraline as part of the Dublin Film Festival, what a gorgeous movie!
Neil Gaiman did a Q+A afterwards which was interesting too.
I really hope we continue to see such innovative and unusual films being made .

And great music by Bruno Coulais! Ahh sure he only works on classy films I suppose ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

where its due...

I noticed in that interview posted below that one very important member of the design team was not mentioned.
This was an unintentional omission.
I've posted before about Barry Reynolds' work finalising the main character designs and designing all the other characters in the film. His sense of design unified the characters and was very important to the final look of the film.
He was involved in the initial visual devlopment of "Rebel" back in 2000 and I asked him to come back and join the team in 2005 to help pull all the development work I'd done with Ross Stewart together into the final designs.
He also did most of the designs for the characters that were added during storyboards and the final designs for all the secondary characters.
The only exception being that Jean Baptiste Van Demme made the Viking designs and model sheets .
However , it was mainly Barrys work on the model packs we used in all the countries involved in the production.
Barry was also the one responsible for checking that all the layout posing was on model and he did a huge amount of the layout posing on the film.
It was great to have someone with such a natural flair for design to pull everything together.

But I suppose I can never give enough credit to ALL the artists who poured their talent and energy into this production.
Like all animated features this film is the product of a lot of peoples talent and energy.
We have a credit list of about 200 people on this film and I am indebted to everyone of them for the commitment and hard work they have poured into this production.

I was the overall Director and worked on this project in its various forms for most of my twenties, and its a source of great pride that the initial designs and visual development we began in Ballyfermot college in 1999 evolved , thanks to all the crew who contributed over the years into something so much greater than I could ever have achieved alone.

It would be great to publish an "art of" book to showcase all the beautiful artwork and artifacts created by this talented team over the years.
If only we could find a willing publisher......;)

Belgian press on Digital Graphics site!


Late Late Show

the feb13th episode about 6 mins is the brendan gleeson interview and 20mins in to the show there is a scene from Kells.

Sound of Brendan and Pat to plug it!

Gealic Games Promo CompetitioN!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Belgian telly!


Don't forget to go several times my French,Flemish and Belgian friends!

(you need to search for brendan et le secret de kells on that site to see the clip)

french press - lots of stars! nicey one!


photos from Belgian Premiere

man I wish i had been there ....but I was in Berlin instead!
Looks like a great night

some press

I thought it might be good use of this blog to put up some of the press we've gotten so far and links to interviews and stuff.
Anyone in Ireland should watch the Late Late Show this week as Pat has a great show lined up and the voice of Abbot Cellach , Brendan Gleeson is on .....

Vincent Donnelly, Movies Plus magazine and Movies.ie

“I loved THE SECRET OF KELLS, the movie has a magical other-worldy feel that reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki's movies (such as Spirited away) It's one of the most visually arresting animations I've seen, every frame is a work of art. That coupled with a perfect soundtrack and a back-drop of Irish folklore, it's impossible not to love it.”

Michael Doherty, The RTE GUIDE

“The film combines the visual beauty of Celtic typography with the humour of Belleville Rendezvous and the charm of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.”

Lee Marshall in Berlin
09 Feb 2009 18:02

Dir: Tomm Moore. Ireland-France-Belgium. 2008. 78mins.

Visually ravishing and doused in Celtic magic, Irish animated feature Brendan And The Secret Of Kells takes as its plot source and stylistic inspiration the eighth century Book of Kells, an intricately illuminated Latin gospel that is widely considered to be Ireland's greatest national treasure.

Brendan is certain to draw fans in the 5-11 core audience, although though its weight of exposition and hand-drawn 2-D animation style may make it a niche product rather than a marquee title outside of its home territory. The US could prove to be an exception, though, where its huge diaspora Irish community will make it a key market.

The film's historical anchor is the most prevalent of various theories about the origin of the Book of Kells – that it was begun on the abbey of Iona in Scotland, and later taken to the Abbey of Kells in County Meath, where monks continued the intricate and time-consuming work of illustration. But pretty much everything else in the story is either invented or rooted in legend.

Our hero is child-monk Brendan, a red-haired lad whose curiosity keeps leading him into scrapes that incur the wrath of his stern uncle, Abbot Cellach. The other monks – an international bunch, bringing home just how cosmopolitan European monasteries were in the so-called Dark Ages – tell Brendan in reverent tones about the greatest illustrator of them all, Brother Aidan from Iona.

And soon enough sprightly old Aidan turns up in Kells with his cat Pangur Ban, fleeing with his precious book from the evil, Minotaur-like Northmen, who are pillaging their way through Scotland and Ireland. Helping Aidan to finish the book despite the disapproval of his uncle (for whom the only useful job is building walls to keep the invaders out), Brendan strays into the forest in search of ink pigments, and is saved from danger by a white wolf who turns out to be Aisling, a mischievous, impulsive girl-sprite.

Director Tomm Moore and his team really excel themselves in these forest sequences, where Irish monasticism meets Busby Berkeley. At times, motifs from megalithic passage graves and Celtic jewellery float in the background like micro-organisms under a microscope, or fall in the form of snowflakes. Perspective is flattened out, and Brendan and Aisling are framed inside branches, just as Biblical characters were framed inside the opening letters of illuminated manuscript pages.

Occasionally, the action spreads across the screen in three separate frames, reminding us that the spatial narrative techniques of Medieval painting and modern graphic novels are not far removed.

Kids weaned on Pixar may look down on Brendan, but as with Miyazaki, it's a parental duty to drag them along to this captivatingly original take on Old School animation.

Production companies
Cartoon Saloon
Les Armateurs
Vivi Film
France 2 Cinema

International sales
Celluloid Dreams
(33) 1 49 70 03 70

Nora Twomey

Didier Brunner
Viviane Vanfleteren
Paul Young

Tomm Moore

Tomm Moore
Fabrice Ziolkowski

Art Director
Ross Stewart

Fabienne Alvarez-Giro

Bruno Coulais

Voice cast
Evan McGuire
Mick Lally
Christen Mooney
Brendan Gleeson
Liam Hourrican

A true delight to watch

Truly magnificent, magical and captivating all in one. This is the most amazing animation film I have ever been fortunate enough to watch.

von Stella Woeste, 15

"You must go where I can not. Pangur Bán, Pangur Bán..." The fairy child with the soft and melodious voice befriends the young Brendan who lives behind a strong wall with his uncle, Abbot Cellach who watches over Brendan's education. The wall is there to protect its inhabitants from the dangerous men from the north, the vikings who have already burned several villages, killing every man, woman and child. When Brendan wanders where he should not, he meets the fairy child and begins on his hunt for a secretive crystal that will enlighten him on finishing a book. The book of Iona for his new friend, Brother Aidan. That's where all the adventure begins.

This movie is absolutely beautiful. It is a work of art in itself and is a true delight to watch. This is one of those rare films that don't even need any dialogue, leaning back and just watching the colors proves to be sufficient enough. Not only is this movie made of wonderful pictures and colors that is eye candy in itself, it also contains a lot of emotions. It is like being on an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you are laughing with mirth at a crude joke and the next you are gasping in shock at a dark and scary scene. Tragic, sad moments prove to be tear jerkers in a way only a cartoon can make one feel, but the darkness is mirrored by light and funny moments that give this film a lot of charisma.

The music accompanying the film and especially the part where the fairy child sings, "You must go where I can not," is absolutely enchanting. This is a whole new level of animation, and I am positively surprised since I am usually a little skeptical about the amount of emotion an animated movie can bring across - I am completely blown away, and anyone who is in the mood to watch a beautiful, well drawn, imaginative and fascinating movie with just the right amount of comedy and tradgedy, should watch it. The creative artist, director and all the people voicing the characters in this film deserve more than a round of applause. This proves that animation can deliver a whole new perspective on life in its most precious form.

I love these reviews from Berlin because hey are written by young people who are the actual target audience!


This is a video interview with me from the Paris promo trip, I was asked to speak in Irish at the end but got a bit muddled from thinking half in French and English all week!


Its OUT!

Hard to believe it but today the movie is opening in cinemas in France, Belgium and beyond!
Please go!
No, go twice!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

iphone snaps

me in abbey
auvers town hall that vincent painted
katia outside the pub her kilkenny man works in now in paris
Didier in Angouleme

comics exhibition in Angouleme

snaps from the iphone

kitchens at the abbey
dinner at the abbey!
delphine and delphine in paris at screening of all new french trailers!
me about to go french tv
marie laure has cool boots
trish and paul move a lot when they talk!
breakfast in Auvers (Annie had Celtic Hearts playing as well!)
Dinner in the abbey
jean paul at the entrance to the abbey
Didier Brunner and Jean Paul
Dinner on "Disney day"
Yves and me strangely happy at Vincent van Goghs graveside
Jean Paul at the abbey
screen at the abbey
audience at the french premiere (can you spot Michel ocelot?)
Mireille in Angouleme (she approved this pic)
fontevraud abbey
premiere in Angouleme two gurning sound designers!
Elsa (from Paris) and Elisabeth (from Kilkenny) at the screenings for Image par Image
Richard the Lionheart
Marie Laure and Frits in Brussels

snaps from my iphone

fontevard abbey
tv crew at metropole brussels
cinema in paris suburbs
floor at fontevard abbey
my bed in brussels metropole hotel
abbey gardens
b+b in auvers
viviane interviewed for belgian telly
metropole hotel
me in metropole hotel

auvers beautiful b+b run by annie
viviane van fleteren belgian producer in metropole
sign for screening at the abbey
alain, director of the cinema in paris suburbs
cocktail party dundrum for disney day
monks dorm turned cinema in fontevard abbey
angouleme , busier than i've ever seen it!
paris premiere
angiouleme comic festival
opening night of image par image