Cartoon Saloon teams up with a Canadian animation firm in Kilkenny, while there's also good news for Waterford...
The Academy Award-nominated Cartoon Saloon has announced the creation of 140 new jobs over the next three years as it joins forces with Canada's Mercury Filmworks to create a 2D animation studio in the south east of Ireland.
The joint venture between the Kilkenny-based company and Mercury is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland.
Lighthouse Studios will operate autonomously in Kilkenny City, with its own management team reporting to a board of directors. Silicon Republic reports that it will supply children's and family animated content development – specifically 2D with some CGI integration – and end-to-end production services for international clients.
Lighthouse Studio is set to make an announcement on development and production projects in the coming weeks, and also begin hiring initiative encompassing production management, designers, animators, effects artists, compositors, technical directors, 3D modellers, riggers, lighting and texture artists and IT administrators.
Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor called the news a "huge vote of confidence in Kilkenny" and said:
"Ireland has a strong record in filmmaking, including animation, and I have no doubt that this partnership between Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon will go from strength-to-strength."
Cartoon Saloon co-founder Paul Young said:
"All of us at Cartoon Saloon are delighted to be in partnership with Mercury, as we have long admired their work. And now, together, we plan to make Lighthouse Studios and Kilkenny a centre of excellence for animation."
Mercury CEO Clint Eland commented:
"We have enormous respect for Cartoon Saloon and could not be happier to announce this collaboration. They are one of today’s most creative and well respected animation companies with goals, perspectives, and philosophies that complement our own."
Elsewhere in the South East, Red Hat announced 60 new jobs for Waterford this morning, as the US tech firm invests €12.7m in research and development.
It confirmed that the positions will be created over the next four years. Red Hat's Waterford base initially started as a spin-out from the Waterford Institute of Technology in 2014 and now acts as an R&D hub for mobile app development. It also has offices in Cork and Dublin.
Minister Mitchell O'Connor noted that R&D is proving to be a very resilient sector for Ireland and said Red Hat's investment made it a "great day for Waterford and the South East region".