19 September 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTN Festive Q&A with Cartoon Saloon's Nora Twomey
20 Dec 2018 : Nathan Griffin
In the run in to Christmas, we have invited some of Ireland’s leading Film & TV talents to take part in IFTN’s festive Q&A.

Co-founder of Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon, Twomey has been one of Ireland’s leading talents of 2018 following the international success of ‘The Breadwinner’. Directed by Twomey and backed by executive producer Angelina Jolie, the feature was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and has won a number of coveted awards across the globe including one for ‘Best Animated Feature - Independent’ at the 2018 Annie Awards.

Twomey also co-directed ‘The Secret of Kells’, which received an Academy Award nomination in 2010 and was the Head of Story on ‘Song of the Sea’, which was Oscar nominated in 2015, winning Best Film at the 2015 IFTA Film and Drama Awards. Twomey was also honoured at the first ‘Women in Animation Diversity Awards’ in Vancouver and received the Inaugural VIEW Visionary Awards in Italy earlier this year.

Netflix recently acquired Twomey and Cartoon Saloon’s next project ‘My Father’s Dragon’, which is currently in production in association with Mockingbird Pictures. The feature follows the story of young run-away Elmer Elevator, as he searches for a captive Dragon on Wild Island and finds much more than he could ever have anticipated. Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady of Parallel Films will serve as executive producers alongside Gerry Shirren. The project is based on the Newbery Honored children's novels by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

IFTN journalist Nathan Griffin caught up with Nora ahead of the festive season.

What was your highlight of 2018?

“It's hard to choose one highlight as it was an exceptional time for me in terms of my career. I got to represent The Breadwinner at the Oscars and most of the year was spent promoting the film from South America to China, where the film will be released on January 11th in 4000 screens. But I have to say, sitting back down at an AVID station to begin a new film in the autumn of 2018 was the thing that excited me most. I much prefer making films to promoting them.”

What are you most looking forward to working on in the New Year?

“Well, I've just started My Fathers Dragon feature film where Cartoon Saloon partner with Mockingbird Pictures for Netflix. I'm working with incredibly talented writers and artists like Meg LeFauve, Louise Bagnall, Rosa Ballester Cabo and Giovanna Ferrari and I'm loving the collaborative nature of it all. Cartoon Saloon is also in production with Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart's Wolfwalkers, which is incredibly beautiful.”

What was your favourite Film of 2018?

“Spider-man into the Spider-verse is pretty ground-breaking in terms of animation with incredibly design & execution, while having really strong, fresh story & characters. I loved The Ballad of Buster Scruggs anthology film on Netflix too. Such characterful storytelling beautifully told.”

What TV Show did you binge watch this year?

“I didn't have time to commit to a show, or none I can stay awake for anyway.”

What Irish talent have you been impressed with over the past 12 months?

“I don't really want to point out anyone in particular but I do feel there are a unique set of circumstances here in Ireland that make for a very creative environment. There's a huge amount of talent in this small country and they are finding unique ways to express it.”

What two film/television personalities would you most like to have dinner with and why? (Invite over for Christmas dinner) (Dead/Alive)

“I'd love to have dinner with Charles Laughton who directed The Night of the Hunter in 1955. He was an actor and it was his directorial debut, but the film did poorly and the critics weren't kind on its release. Now, The Night of the Hunter is considered a classic and it’s a film I find myself referencing over and over again in my own work. I'd have dinner with him and tell him not to let them get to him, he never directed again and I would have loved to see what he would have done next.”

What’s your favourite movie to watch on Christmas day?

“David Lean's Great Expectations. It's not very Christmassy but so what?”

‘My Father’s Dragon’ is expected to release on Netflix in 2021.

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