In a move to enhance Ireland’s animation sector, Canadian producer Mercury Filmworks and Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon have launched Lighthouse Studios, a new 2D-focused, joint-venture prodco for kids content.
Based in Kilkenny, Ireland—home of Cartoon Saloon—the full-service studio will develop and produce animated fare for the global market using a pipeline similar to Mercury’s Canadian operation in Ottawa.
The studio will work independently from Cartoon Saloon and Mercury Filmworks, with its own management team reporting to a board of directors consisting of execs from both parent companies.
Development and production projects will be announced in the coming weeks, and hiring is underway for production management, designers, animators, effects artists, compositors, technical directors, 3D modelers, riggers, lighting and texture artists, and IT administrators.
With backing from Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland, Lighthouse Studios is expected to create more than 140 jobs in the next three years.
It will also feature end-to-end production services from script writing, design and storyboarding, to animation (2D with some CGI), compositing and post-production.
Launched in 1999 by Paul Young, Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, Cartoon Saloon has earned two Academy Award Best Animated Feature nominations (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea), and produced a number of award-winning TV series including Puffin Rock and Skunk Fu.
Its latest feature film, The Breadwinner, a co-production with Canada’s Aircraft Pictures and Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions in association with Angelina Jolie’s Jolie Pas Productions, will premiere worldwide this fall.
Mercury Filmworks’ portfolio includes providing service work on Disney series Mickey Mouse Shorts, The Lion Guard, Wander Over Yonder, Star and the Forces of Evil, Jake & the Never Land Pirates and the upcoming Tangled.
Other Mercury-animated shows include Fish Hooks, Toot & Puddle, Gerald McBoing Boing, Atomic Puppet and the upcoming original Netflix series Hilda.