Friday, March 19

"The Secret of Kells"

Images from Cartoon Saloon / GKIDS.
Has anyone seen "The Secret of Kells"? Took the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film?

One of the illustrators for the film has been blogging since the beginning of it's production, from beginning to end and then all of the wonderful reviews it's been getting. So much fun!

Find the blog here:

and The movie's beautiful official site here:

• 2008: won the Directors Finders Award at the Directors Finders Series in Ireland
• 2009: won the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival
• 2009: won the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
• 2009: won the Roy E. Disney Award at Seattle's 2D Or Not 2D Film Festival[5]
• 2010: won the Best Animation award at the 7th Irish Film and Television Awards[6]
• 2009: Grand Prix Award for Best Film in the Annecy International Animated Film Festival
• 2009: Best Animated Film at the European Film Awards
• 2009: Annie Award for Best Animated Feature
• 2010: Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Film
• 2010: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Some reviews for "The Secret of Kells" coming out of Philadelphia:

An animated medieval tale

There they were, the five Academy Awards nominees for best animated feature, announced back in early February: Pixar's Up, Disney's The Princess and the Frog, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox, Henry Selick's Coraline and, and . . . huh? What's this? The Secret of Kells?

It turns out the Oscars' nominating committee had every reason to honor this dark horse, a little-known endeavor heretofore unreleased in the States. A beautiful, retro-style, hand-drawn feature from Ireland combining elements of 1950s and '60s Disney 'toons (geometric graphics, flat, painterly backgrounds) and traditional Celtic art (intricate, luminously colorful patterns), this spirited children's adventure set in the Middle Ages offers both visual and narrative thrills.

Drawing (so to speak) from fairy tales and illuminated medieval manuscripts, The Secret of Kells is about a young boy, Brendan (the voice of Evan McGuire), who lives in a fortified abbey under threat of invasion by Vikings. When master illuminator Brother Aidan (Mick Lally) arrives, he enlists Brendan to venture beyond the abbey's walls to collect oak berries in the forest, to use for ink in the scriptorium. This innocent-seeming mission turns into an epic quest involving magical fairies, a wolf-girl, and a cat with two different-colored eyes.

The Secret of Kells is gorgeous work, and its imagery and themes dovetail perfectly: a story about creating art, artfully created.

Philadelphia Daily News Review

An animated gem 'Kells,' about a 9th century abbey, deserved its Oscar nom

One of the nice things about 2009's being such a stellar year for animated movies is that it's not over.

Today marks the belated arrival of "The Secret of Kells," which received a surprise Oscar nomination for best animated feature, and a well-deserved one, as it turns out.

The Irish-made (but drawn by animators in some five countries) dazzler opens exclusively at the Ritz Bourse, and is worth seeking out for animation buffs, or those looking for some novel way to conclude a week of St. Patrick's celebrations.

"Kells" is the story of Brendan (Evan McGuire), a youngster at a medieval Irish abbey who, in the days before a Viking invasion, is force

d to decide how to "save" his community and his culture.

The abbey is run by his uncle (Brendan Gleeson) who's wholly committed to fortifying the walls and protecting the citizens. A visiting monk (Mick Lally), however, wants Brendan (a talented artist) to finish and vouchsafe an illustrated religious manuscript.

"Kells" is rendered in an old-fashioned, two-dimensional style that gives new meaning to the phrase "traditional animation."


draws on motifs fro

m Celtic art dating to the 9th century (when the movie is set).

Interestingly, we get few peeks at the artwork in the book itself (clearly based on the Book of Kells, an ancient and finely illustrated work of New Testament gospels).

Instead, Moore weaves these ancient motifs into the design of the natural world that surrounds Brendan's walled city. Against his uncle's wishes, he ventures into the woods to collect berries for the unique dyes that will color the book, and gets help from a magical fairy (Christen Mooney).

This is a way for Moore, a gaelic revivalist (who's set down the story of St. Patrick in graphic novels) to make a point about the way that Catholic

ism blended with existing pagan beliefs to create something culturally unique.

And, Brendan decides, worth saving. The movie's best scenes find him in the mysterious, treacherous forest, wherein Moore and his animators work their visual magic.

"Kells" is noteworthy for its unique, ornate design, its moments of silence (Moore is obviously a big Miyazaki fan) and gorgeous music.

And its distinctiveness. A hallmark of 2009 was (is)

its variety - the best of Pixar, traditional hand-drawn Disney, the stop-motion genius of Henry Selick rendered in 3-D, even contributions from Wes Anderson. "Kells" is the capper, and a lovely one.

Friday, March 12

Best Legs in a Kilt!

Executive Director Jayne will be judging some legs!

Hosted by our good friends of Donegal Square a "Best Men's Legs in a Kilt Contest" will be happening tomorrow, Saturday, March 13th at Noon, outside of their shop located on the corner of Main and Walnut St's in the fair town of Bethlehem, PA 18018.

Rain or Shine!

Best Legs Contest starts at 3pM

Pipers/dancers starting at 12:30 PM

25th Anniversary cake
cutting @ 1:30.

You'll need to register by going into Donegal Square or by registering through e-mail: Include your name, address, and phone number. Unfortunately, this contest is open to the lads only, sorry lassies.

You must be wearing a kilt (at least) when competing. Prizes to be given for the first three best legs.

See you tomorrow!