Did you know Hollywood favorite Chris O’Dowd and Cartoon Saloon's Oscar-tipped Paul Young actually met as kids in Roscommon?
Ahead of the Oscars this Sunday, The Ireland Funds threw a bash for 250 people in West Hollywood hotspot Ysabel, to celebrate Ireland’s 2018 Academy Award Nominees.
As host of the event Victoria Smurfit put it herself - for a small nation, Ireland has a whole lot of talent. And what a great nation of storytellers we are.
One raconteur who needs no introduction is one of Ireland's most well known thespians, "Bridesmaids" star Chris O'Dowd.
"Moone Boy" himself O'Dowd is a Boyle, Co Roscommon native. While its a cliché to say that all Irish people know each other, in this case, O'Dowd's childhood friend is someone with whom he also shares the international spotlight.
Fellow county man Paul Young of the world-renowned animation house, Cartoon Saloon joined Smurfit and O'Dowd for a discussion on Ireland's contribution to the movie industry.
The duo previously combined their talents for the children’s series, “Puffin Rock”, a project produced by Young which O’Dowd narrated. But how did it all start?
The collaborators told Smurfit how they fatefully met - true to his comedic background, O'Dowd wasn't going to let the truth get in the way of a good story.
“Lacrosse - we played lacrosse together,” O’Dowd jokingly told the actress.
“In the tennis courts. Everybody thought we were great,” Young corroborated.
“Paul was in the corner drawing, I was telling jokes as he was drawing,” O’Dowd continued.
They also joked that they met when O’Dowd was “six years old and Paul was 22” (when in reality they are practically the same age) before settling on the true story: they met as Young's sister was in O'Dowd's class.
Father-of-two O’Dowd poignantly noted that he hopes his Oscar-tipped childhood friend would remember him as his star continues to rise, and come up with a future project for them to reunite on.
The irony? O’Dowd is actually in a rival animation that is up for the award in the same Oscar's category this Sunday (as Roulin in "Loving Vincent".)
The evening was held in support of the philanthropic work of The Ireland Funds. As one of the largest sources of private support to Ireland’s nonprofit sector, the global organization assists projects that serve the island of Ireland and Irish communities around the word. The promotion and preservation of Irish culture and is one of its focus areas.
Commenting on Ireland's increasingly strong entertainment sector, Senior Vice President of IDA Ireland Barry O'Dowd pointed to the examples of companies such as Activation Blizzard, EA, Riot Games, 9Story Media, Cartoon Saloon, Windmill Lane, JAM Media, and Egg, all of whom are Irish-owned or have an Irish outpost.
"Technology is changing the entertainment and media industry, many of the leading technology companies are already in Ireland such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. These are all active now in the creative and arts sector," he told IrishCentral.
He added, "With convergence taking place between the creative and tech, talent availability is a big issue globally. Ireland has a lot to offer today's digital arts industry as evidenced by the diverse range of Irish nominees at the Academy Awards. IDA Ireland is actively marketing Ireland as a location for investment by the sector. Ireland's education system is well geared to support today's skill needs of the industry."
We are excited to partner with our friends @TheIrelandFunds and @IrishFilmBoard tonight for a special Oscars event in LA celebrating Irish creativity, talent and innovation. Best of luck to all Irish #Oscars 2018 nominees including our special guests this evening @CartoonSaloon pic.twitter.com/zDLSfVm4PC— IDA Emerging Biz (@IDAemergebiz) March 1, 2018