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In Conversation: Irish animator Eoin Duffy on his George Takei-featuring new short, film board funding and backlash from the bear community


Recently at the Galway Film Fleadh (read all our coverage here) we stumbled across the work of Eoin Duffy, an Irish animator currently residing in Canada. He was the winner of The James Horgan Award for Best Animation for The Missing Scarf, a short film featuring voice work from Star Trek and internet legend George Takei.

Eoin was kind enough to answer some of Spooool’s questions. View more of his work at the bottom of this post and connect with him further by clicking the links below.

1. What’s you earliest memory of animation?

Not including memories replaced by newer memories it would have to be Roger Rabbit.

2. Was there a point in your life when you decided what you wanted to do or did you just sort of fall into it?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t into drawing. But for some reason (arguably a faulty society that doesn’t place emphases on the arts) I never considered it as a career option. But later I discovered the happy medium – graphic design, and from this motion design and later animation.

3. Your animation style is very distinctive and unique but you must have some idols?

I have Saul Bass pyjamas, a Josef Müller-Brockmann bed spread and Genndy Tartakovsky pillowcases.

4. What finds you in Canada?

I met a Canadian girl while travelling through China. After a couple of years of travelling around together I noticed that Canada had more milk and honey on offer than Ireland. So we ended up back here.

5. You’ve been a successful candidate for 2 years in receiving The Irish Film Board Grant, how important has this been in ensuring your work gets made?

I can’t thank the IFB enough, basically they kickstarted my leap from graphic designer to animator. They took a huge gamble on me, as I knew feck all about film and animation at the time. Here’s hoping it pays off and I get to parade the successes of the IFB globally. If the opposite is true, I guess not too many more inexperienced graphic designers will be walking through their doors any time soon.

6. Do you think Ireland does enough to nurture animators or is it very much that you’re on your own?

Of course everything can be approved upon but I find Ireland is an unrivalled nursery for animation. Excluding the fact we have next to free 3rd level education, opening up some amazing animation courses to everybody regardless of background. We have a national film board that fights well above its weight on the international animation stage and continues to maintain funding options aiding up-and-coming animators in one of the bleakest economic times the country has ever seen. The results speak for themselves as Ireland boasts one of the strongest animation industries in Europe.

7. Did you receive any negative feedback about your short The Unconscious Homeless Man.

Not so far, but we’ve yet to screen on whatever the bear equivalent of the internet is. I can only imagine the bear community backlash.

8. How did George Takei get involved for The Missing Scarf?

The boring truth:

We sent him an email and he said yes.

The not so boring made up story:

Crazy story, I was sitting on the toilet eating a sandwich when I realized this isn’t a sandwich its a time travelling portal gun. Realising its value I then swapped the gun on craigslist for 3 barrels of home-made chewing gum. It then dawned on me that the living legend that is George Takei had once stated his unquenchable desire to be submerged in home-made chewing gum while narrating a short film. Two birds and one stone later we lay down the voice track for what was to become the greatest film ever made by a self reviewing animator.

9. Any tips for budding animators?

Animate stuff! (that’s not a joke, just constantly make stuff)

10. What’s next for Eoin Duffy?

Trying out some client work at the moment and hope to delve further into personal projects later in the year. Whatever I do I’m sure I’ll let twitter know. Twitter is my goldfish.

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