Mercury Filmworks & Cartoon Saloon Launch Animation Studio


KILKENNY: Canada’s Mercury Filmworks has teamed up with Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon to create a new 2D-focused full-service animation studio in Ireland called Lighthouse Studios.

Lighthouse Studios will develop animated children’s and family TV entertainment for multiplatform global distribution. The JV, which is supported by Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland, will create more than 140 jobs over the next three years. The studio will operate autonomously, with its own management team reporting to a board of directors that includes execs from both Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon.

In the coming weeks, Lighthouse Studios will announce its development and production projects, as well as a hiring initiative comprising production management, designers, animators, effects artists, compositors, technical directors, 3D modelers, riggers, lighting and texture artists, and IT administrators.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “This is terrific news and I warmly welcome the additional 140 jobs which will be created in Kilkenny. I am always keen to pursue as wide a range of foreign investment projects as possible and this launch today shows that we have the creative talent to attract companies like Mercury Filmworks to Ireland. 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.”

Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland noted: “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.

“Conceived as a studio with its own unique identity, Lighthouse Studios is neither wholly Mercury Filmworks nor Cartoon Saloon, but rather the best parts of each, transplanted in the rich Irish soil and nurtured by its own talented team of artists into a studio with its own unique and distinct creative perspective.”

Cartoon Saloon CEO Paul Young stated: “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 center of excellence for animation.

“Ireland enjoys a number of advantages when it comes to animation. The industry is supported by a growing number of educational programs and draws talent from all over Europe due to the quality of projects being produced here. The Irish talent pool has been spilling over into other parts of Europe and North America for years and we look forward to welcoming a lot of that talent home.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, remarked: “This is a really positive development for the South East region. The government through the Action Plan for Jobs is very focused on ensuring all of Ireland benefits from job creation. This project today shows that we have the capability to attract big international projects requiring a diverse range of talents, which bring well-paid jobs to this region. I know Kilkenny will be a great home for the new venture.”

“The impact of Mercury Filmworks creating this greenfield investment with Cartoon Saloon, one of Ireland’s most respected animation studios, is a game-changer for the industry,” added IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. “It will greatly enhance the animation cluster in Ireland, broaden the animation skills base here and clearly positions Ireland as a compelling location for world-class content creators.”