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  • Writer's picturemeganselkevo

Cartoon Saloon: Eloquent Animation

I love movies. Obviously. Live action or animated there are so many amazing films out there. And of course a lot of the props usually goes to the actors, maybe to the directors, but I find it extremely important to acknowledge that it takes a team of so many amazing and brilliant individuals to produce these shows that capture our hearts and adoration. Today I'd like to give those props to my favorite animation studio, Cartoon Saloon.

As some of you many know, I come from predominantly Scottish and Irish heritage. Knowing this I have always been fascinated with all things Irish and Scottish for as long as I can remember. While all the other girls are cooing over Valentine's Day, I'm eager to get past that mess to better things, like Saint Patrick's Day. I love my heritage so much that the only reason I gave up my maiden name McGregor is because I fell madly in love. Turns out his last name is Selke (now also my last name, obviously) which is what the mythical Irish seals who are half seal, half human are called (spelt Selkie, but close enough).

So, of course, when I heard about a movie called The Secret of Kells, I had to get my hands on it. It was an Irish Folklore story about the book of Kells (as the name implies), but it is rife with magic and turmoil and wonder. And it wasn't computer graphics like all the new films, this one was drawn, and made to look drawn with angles and shading that make it appear a story book has come to life and is leaping off the page. Or perhaps that wasn't the intent, but that's how I see it. And it was made by an Irish film company, Cartoon Saloon, started by the extermely talented Tomm Moore. They were still a relatively young animation studio and I was excited to see what they would come up with next. I learned later that Tomm Moore spent a decade on The Secret of Kells and nearly gave up on it. If you want an inspirational story about not giving up on your dreams, his is a great one!

Then, be still my beating heart, they produced a film called Song of the Sea, about the legend of the Selkies. It is probably my favorite of what would become a trilogy, but I'm a bit biased with the theme and the fact that the little girl in the story is very much like my own daughter (who too a considerable amount of time to be convinced the movie was not based on her). Before the final movie in the Irish Folklore trilogy came out they produced a moving story about a young girl and her family trying to survive Taliban rule in Afghanistan. And the most likely know, the third Irish Folklore story, which aired on AppleTV, Wolfwalkers. Not to mention several TV series they have produced, including the popular, Puffin Rock (my personal favorite).

The voice acting in the films is fantastic. Brilliantly cast and performed. But the are is so eloquent, it tells the story even without the words. It has an expressiveness to it that brings the equally enthralling legends and stories to life. If you haven't watched any of these films, put them on your list. You won't regret it!

Do you have a favorite animator or film writer? What is it you love about their style?

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Pat Drahos
Pat Drahos
21 feb 2022

I'm afraid that, like most, I don't really pay much attention to specific animators. I truly recognize the talent involved, but focus more on the story and characters. Among my favorite animated films are The Secret of NIMH and Sleeping Beauty. As you know, I keep both on my shelf. I am quite fond of many older Disney animations: Fantasia, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh (I love the voice of Sterling Holloway), and Bambi. Cannot get into a lot of the modern stuff but that is probably due to my own limitations. Other favorites are Fractured Fairy Tales (narrated by Edward Everett Horton) and Peobody's Improbable History (Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman use the Wayback Machine to visit vario…

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22 feb 2022
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All great films you have listed! You are not alone in not often noticing animators. But the films would certainly not be the same without such great art. I think you would enjoy these tales. Let me know what you think after you watch them!

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