The Oscars: Moore Talks More Kells
TM: Well, I saw Up in Zagreb and I was really looking forward to seeing it because I had visited Pixar while they were working on it. And I was really surprised at how emotional it was because it looked like so wacky and cartoony. I was just blown away by how mature it was. I just felt they're really at the top of their game. OK, that's the level of filmmaking that I hope to achieve in my career.
What really impressed me about Coraline was how subtle and clever the art direction was. I saw it in Dublin and Neil Gaiman gave a presentation and I loved how the 3-D had a feeling of old-time and 21st century stop-motion. I was pretty sure that they had done some computer animation on the faces, but when I discovered that it was done with really sophisticated head replacement, I was just blown away.
And it was really fun to see a 2D Disney movie again with Princess and the Frog, with really beautiful animation. Probably my favorite sequence was the Eric Goldberg sequence with the Art Deco: that was really where I'm coming from and a good use of 2D animation, something that wouldn't be easy to do in CG and really lovely to see that again.
And, of course, Fantastic Mr. Fox is just a revelation to me. It was so low-fi but the way Wes Anderson likes to tell a story in a picture book way of laying out scenes and taking a step back and having the symmetry and having the characters move in a little set and you can see things happening in other parts of the screen that the characters aren't aware of. It was amazing to see his style of filmmaking transposed to stop-motion. And it really worked, I thought.
TM: Yeah, we're staying at the same hotel and literally at the nominees' luncheon yesterday, for the photograph, there were maybe five people who'd all been to Ballyfermot College in Dublin. Richard Baneham was there and he was nominated for Avatar [as animation supervisor]. And the guys from Brownbag were there and I was there. But I think it means a lot for Irish animation. I don't know yet how it's going to affect things, but it's come to a state where people are coming here to work in Ireland and are able to make an impression on the broader stage.
BD: What does this say about the Don Bluth legacy?
TM: I think all the talents that were trained by Don Bluth have filtered down to this generation. I met him at the Creative Talent Network and shook his hand and Gary Goldman's hand and said, "You guys are the godfathers of the Irish animation industry." And it's a really different thing now because back then I'd always imagined I'd go to work for Disney or Don Bluth. By the time I graduated, I had to set up on my own and that's the legacy: we aren't working in the corporate world yet here we are on the same stage with the corporations, so that's pretty amazing.
BD: Anything new to report about your next feature, Song of the Sea?
TM: I haven't had much time to work on it, but we're pretty excited. Paul Young, our producer, has meetings in New York with some people that might be interested in getting involved, and we're hoping that we'll be able to pull the financing together and move faster than we did on Kells. We're crossing over now from development into pre-production because we're working on the next draft of the script after getting lots of notes from The Irish Film Board. Once we get that draft ready in a couple of weeks, then we'll probably start storyboarding with the intention that we can gather the financing.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.