As we entered the Dublin Airport passport office, Sandrine and I prepared ourselves for a repeat of what had happened at the U.S. passport office - and as we neared the gruff-looking inspector, the lady in front of us wanted to ask him a question. He looked at her and said, "Due to the poor financial state of the Irish economy, you'll have to pay 5 euros for the answer." The lady looked stunned and, after a short pause, the inspector laughed and said he was only kidding.
Right then, I know I was in a different place - and that's what my experiences at the Dublin Animation Film Festival (DAFF) were all about. The director of the festival, Fionnghuala O'Neill, put us up at the posh Royal Marine Hotel - and anything we wanted was supplied. Sandrine and I both held workshops at IADT, a college for animation, to good crowds and the next day I hosted the Irish festival premiere of "Cheatin'" to a large, loving crowd.
One of the great events there was the screening of Irish animation. I was thrilled and amazed to see such wonderful films from young filmmakers. Three films stood out for me - "Wounded" by Helga Kristjana Bjarnadottir, "The Ledge End of Phil (From Accounting)" by Paul O’Muiris, and "Coda" by Alan Holly.
On our last day there, we took a trip to Killkenny ("kill" means area") to visit with my good friends Tomm Moore and Paul Young at Cartoon Saloon. They just finished their new feature, "Song of the Sea", which is why their studio is half-staffed (about 40 people). They showed me their new TV show, "Puffin Rock", which is very charming. I'm so excited to see "Song of the Sea", because the artwork is so glorious. It opens in the U.S. in the middle of December.
The Dublin Animation Festival is only 3 years old, but already it's bursting with energy and talent, so I highly recommend you enter your films next year to this up-and-coming festival. If you attend, you'll feel the warmth and generosity of Ireland, and perhaps you'll run into the same crazy immigration officer that we did.
I give the festival an "A".