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Cartoon Saloon and Mercury Filmworks join to create Lighthouse Studios

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Kilkenny, Ireland-Based Studio to Create 140 Jobs and develop Animated Children’s and Family Television Entertainment, for Multiplatform Global Distribution

Significantly bolstering animation production in Ireland, Mercury Filmworks, one of Canada’s most prolific independent animation studios, has joined forces with acclaimed Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon to create an all-new 2D-focused animation studio in Ireland, Lighthouse Studios. The joint venture, supported by Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland will create over 140 jobs in the next three years. In the coming weeks, Lighthouse Studios plans to announce development and production projects, as well as a hiring initiative encompassing production management, designers, animators, effects artists, compositors, technical directors, 3D modelers, riggers, lighting and texture artists and IT administrators.

Gathering in Kilkenny to make today’s joint announcement were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor; Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland; Cartoon Saloon’s CEO Paul Young, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan TD; and IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. They were joined by a number of local dignitaries and executives and artists from both companies.
Making the announcement in Kilkenny today, 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 film making, including animation, and I have no doubt that this partnership between Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon will go from strength to strength”.

Lighthouse Studios will provide high quality children’s and family animated content development and end-to-end production services–from script writing, design, storyboard, animation and compositing to post production services–to a global client base. Specializing in 2D animation with some CGI integration and utlizing the latest technologies, the studio’s production pipeline will mirror Mercury Filmworks’ Canadian operation. However, Lighthouse Studios will operate autonomously with its own management team, reporting to a Board of Directors comprised of executives from both Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon.
In making the announcement, Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland, explained,

“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.”

Added Cartoon Saloon’s CEO Paul Young:

“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.”

The Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said

“This is a really positive development for the South East region. The Government through the Action Plan for Jobs is very focussed on ensuring all of Ireland benefit 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,” concluded 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.”

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