Funded by the Irish Film Board’s Frameworks film funding scheme and produced by Barley Films​ in 2007-2008, The Rooster was created using cardboard, crepe paper, tinfoil and dreamy Super 8 footage of a glittery blue velvet Night Sky.

A tale of passion, loss, surreal comedy and explosive violence. Animated in a cut-out style combining cardboard, tinfoil, paint on glass and super 8 film creating a dreamy, hand-made aesthetic.

Written/Directed by Pádraig Fagan,
Animated/Technically Directed by Eimhin McNamara
Animation assistance from Orla McHardy for the oil paint on glass elements
Production Assistant Éamonn O’Neill,
Produced by Barry O’Donoghue at Barley Films
The Filmmakers on making Rooster

Director Pádraig Fagan:
“The Rooster, the Crocodile and the Night Sky’ is the first professional short film I wrote and directed. It was a new experience to be paid money to make a short film, and as a result I became quite intoxicated by the extravagance and decadence of it all. Parts of it seemed very ridiculous. We discovered at one point that the cardboard from boxes of a particular brand of granola bar worked really well with watercolours. Of course we ended up buying boxes and boxes of them to make characters and backgrounds. The bars became a staple of our diet during the production.
We mixed super-8 film footage, paint on glass animation, and cardboard cut out animation (scanning the cardboard cut outs into the computer for animation). It was exciting not knowing exactly how the film would look in the end. I think that visually the film fits together quite well despite the media being so mixed.
The look is partly inspired by great Russian cut out animation, like the work of Yuri Norstein and partly inspired by wandering, voice-over driven Monty Python sketches. It’s held together and condensed by the narration and much of the strange logic of the world is built on puns and wordplay.”
Technical Director/Animator Eimhin McNamara:
“To create an organic atmosphere in the film, we utilised tinfoil, cotton wool, pressed flowers, corrugated cardboard and any other scraps we had lying around. The characters were created mostly using thin packaging cardboard, each part painted and individually cut out with a scalpel (for the Rooster alone there were over 980 separate parts). The animation was a mixture of cut-out on computer with hand drawn details, along with a painted-on-glass sea and sunrise. The character designs and styling of the animation was kept bold and dynamic. These elements were then digitally composited together, lighting and layering the scenes so they felt like a real set under an actual camera.
One notable shot, when the mouse is waking up, involved animating the character interacting with his pressed-leaf bedding; to accomplish this I first worked out the character’s poses, noting what shifts in form the leaf would need to make. I then scanned the pressed-leaf, bent the it a little and scanned it again, bent it a bit more and scanned it again, etc, until a thorough breakdown in its transition was attained. This back and forth between the analogue and the digital was a constant part of the animation process and the film production in general, and helped us to achieve a more effective integration of the components on screen.”


Below are some concept images and photographs from the making of the film:

The Rooster:

The Rooster in action
The Rooster in action

The Crocodile:

Final still of the Crocodile, using a special forced perspective build
A shot of the Crocodile and his Night Sky cutting machine, using a special forced perspective build

Night Sky & Dawn sequence

The Night Sky being hoovered
The Night Sky being hoovered


And the final Dawn scene in GIF form
And the final Dawn scene in GIF form



The Animals:

The Sea in action
The Sea in action


Awards and Nominations

Winner of the Claire Lynch Award at the 2008 Corona Film Festival, Cork.
Recipient of the 2008 Finders Series Award for Short Film, Dublin.
Nominated for Best Short Subject at the 37th Annie Awards 2010, Los Angeles.


Screenings and Festivals

Green Crocodile at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2008
Green Crocodile at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2008

Cellu l’Art Kurtzfilmfestival
Jena, Germany 2015

Annecy International Animation Film Festival
Annecy, France, June 2012

Portobello Film Festival
London, UK, 1-8 September 2011

London International Animation Festival
The Barbican, London, UK, 26 August – 4 September 2011
The film will be screening at a special focus session on the technique of cut-out animation.

Melbourne International Animation Festival
Australia, 19-26 June 2011
Special Focus on Cut-outs: Screening at 4pm, Sunday 26th June

Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival
Gortahork, Co. Donegal, Ireland, 10-16 June 2011

Zaragoza Cinematheque
Zaragoza City, Spain, 6-9 October 2010

Culture Night Screenings
Filmbase, Dublin, Ireland, 24th September 2010

ANIMADRID – The International Festival of the Animated Image of Pozuelo de Alarcón-Community of Madrid
Madrid, Spain, September 23rd to October 1st, 2010

20th Cairo International Film Festival for Children
Cairo, Egypt, 10-14 March 2010 ( Screening in competition)

Para Ninos – Animated Shorts for Children
Sala Parpallo, Valencia, Spain, 19th December – 31st January

Capital Irish Film Festival
Washington DC, USA, 10-20 December 2009

10th Edition of britspotting – the British and Irish Film Festival
Berlin, Germany, 13-15 November 2009

23rd Braunschweig International Film Festival
Braunschweig, Germany, 10-15 November 2009

1st Asheville International Children’s Festival
Asheville, North Carolina, USA, 7-8 November 2009

The Samhlaiocht Kerry Film Festival
Tralee, Ireland, October 31st to November 7th 2009

7th Mumia Underground World Animation Festival
18-25 October, Betim, Brasil, Gloria Cine Theatre, local schools and suburb open air sessions
26th October to 1st November, Belo Horizonte, Brasil, Humberto Mauro Cinema, Art Palace and local schools.
The film is screening in competition at the 7th Mumia Underground World Animation Festival where 61 films from 27 countries will compete for the Best International Animation Award.

August Wilson Center for African American Culture
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 9-12 July 2009

Anima Mundi – 17th International Animation Festival
Rio de Janeiro July 10-19, São Paulo July 22-26, 2009
Screening in competition

13th Edition Cartoons on the Bay
International Television and Multimedia Animation Festival

Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, Italy, 2–4 April 2009

9th Belfast Film Festival, Northern Ireland, 26 March – 4 April 2009
Jameson Short Film Competition,
Programme 3, QFT, Saturday 4th April, 2pm – 4.55pm

Redcat International Children’s Film Festival
Roy & Edna Disney CalArts Theatre, Los Angeles, USA,
21st February – 8th March 2009
Screenings: Living Large – Folktales to Remember:
3:00pm, Saturday 28th February;
1:30pm, Saturday 7th March

Chicago Irish Film Festival, Chicago, USA, 6-11 March, 2009

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival,
Cork, Ireland, 12-22 February 2009
Screening at the IFI: Irish Film Board Shorts, 18:30, Thursday 19th February

4th Annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle,
Seattle, USA 23 January – 1 February 2009
Living Large: Folktales to Remember

53rd Corona Cork Film Festival, Cork, Ireland, 12-19 October 2008
Special Mention for “The Rooster, The Crocodile And The Night Sky” directed by Padraig Fagan. Corona Cork Film Festival, Claire Lynch Award for Best First-Time Irish Director of a Short Film

Film Industry Night at Villa Lounge,
West Hollywood, USA, 30 September 2008

Screen Directors Guild of Ireland Directors Finders Series 2008,
Directors Guild of America, Hollywood, USA, 19 September 2008
“The Rooster, the Crocodile and the Night Sky” was officially selected as the supporting animation film for the 2008 SDGI Finders Series. It was selected from all the animation shorts entered into the Galway Film Fleadh 2008 as the single film to support the winner of the Finders Series – the animated feature film “The Secret of Kells” directed by Tomm Moore from The Cartoon Saloon. The films were screened at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood for an industry audience on the 19th September 2008.

Electric Picnic Art & Music Festival, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland, 29-31 August 2008

Galway Film Fleadh, Galway, Ireland, 8-13 July 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *