Skip to main content

Young Animator of the Year


YAOTY 2024


Are YOU, or is someone you know, the next Young Animator of the Year?


 Animation Dingle’s Young Animator of The Year, (YOATY) runs annually with the support of our friends in Disney+

Are YOU, or is someone you know, the next Young Animator of the Year?

Each year, secondary school students from all over the island of Ireland are invited to submit their short animated films to the national YOATY Awards.

Keep your eyes on our social media for updates and announcements. The YAOTY winner will be presented with their award at the opening of our Animation Dingle Festival on Friday 22nd March, 2024 by Orion Ross, VP International Animation, Disney Branded Television! The winner and parents will be offered 1 nights’ accommodation in the Dingle Skellig Hotel.

Set in magical Dingle, Animation Dingle is a festival that was created for students and has been molded by them over the years. We want to draw attention to the talented young people in Ireland and give them a spotlight in which to showcase their skills. Listed as ‘One of the top Not-To-Be-Missed events in the World’ by Animation Magazine, Animation Dingle is attended by all the major animation colleges and studios within Ireland, along with delegates from Disney and many more animation studios.

THEME: Ephemeral Footprints: A Sustainable Legacy

Our theme asks you to explore the transient nature of our existence with a focus on leaving behind a positive impact – we ask you to ask, ‘how can you create a lasting and eco-friendly legacy during your time on earth?’  How do your actions connect with the environment?  How can you inspire viewers to consider their impact? What does conscious choice-making mean?  How can you celebrate the fact that your time on earth may be relatively short, but can be enormously impactful? How can you celebrate the art of living a wonderful life in alignment with the planet?

Submissions for 2024 Now Open!


  • 4th, 5th and 6th year secondary school students in the Republic of Ireland
  • Yr11, Yr12 and 6th Form secondary school students in Northern Ireland
  • Students must be attending school in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, or can be an Irish or a Northern Irish student studying abroad.


  • An animated film no longer than 1 minute (including opening titles and end credits)
  • Possible techniques include (but are not limited to)
    • Hand-drawn
    • Stop-motion
    • Computer generated animation
    • Coding
    • Cut-out
    • Claymation

COST: Free!

THEME: Ephemeral Footprints: A Sustainable Legacy

WHERE: Submit your film on our FilmFreeway page

Please include the following details with your submission:

  • Your name, email address and contact number
  • Your school name and class
  • 2-3 lines on what your film is about

WHEN? Deadline for entries is March 8th 2024

**Please be aware any submissions that are longer than 1 minute and/or do not follow the theme will be disqualified.*

Irish Categories of student awards include:

Best Irish Student Animation Award
Best Design/Art Direction
Best Writer
Best Music/Sound Design
Best Animation
Best 3D/CGI
Best 2D
Best Cinematography

International and Irish Categories of student awards include: 

Best International Student Animation Award
Best Director
Best Stop-motion
Best Sting Award



Best Irish Student sponsored by RTÉjr: The Small Makings of a Storm by Avery Angle, IADT

The Small Makings of a Storm went on to win an incredible 4 awards on the night!

The film also won the Best 2D Award sponsored by Toon Boom; the Best Art Direction/Design Award sponsored by Jam Media and the Best Music/Sound Design Award sponsored by Egg Post Productions.

Judges were so impressed with this beautiful animation and had this to say about the film.

“Majestic and epic wonderful colour palette – Perfectly complete film. Could watch all day ” Suzanne Kelly RTÉjr

“The style of music employed in the animation was aptly suited to the enchanting world depicted. Through the interplay of music and sound design, a captivating and immersive environment was created, characterised by a rich texture that effectively complemented the visuals. Overall, the soundscape served to fill the auditory space, resulting in a seamless fusion of sound and image”. Mark Gordon, Score Music Draw.

“Beautiful design, confident bold art direction, powerful atmospheric piece” Mark Cumberton, Jam Media

“Gorgeous. The style is a bit like Hokusai meets the Lion King.” Eimear O’Mahony RTÉjr

There were Honourable Mentions for His Dancing Shoes in Best Music/Sound Design, Small Hours in Best 2D and in Best Art Direction/Design.

Best International Student sponsored by CBBC: Friendly Fire by Tom Koryto Blumen of Bazalel Academy of Art and Design

Sarah Muller of the BBC said Friendly Fire was “Unique and exceptional”

There was also a special mention in this category given to the incredible Close your Eyes by Manon Bérardengo, Audrey Defonte, Léo Depoix, Denis Koessler, Clémentine Laurent, Pierre Guislain, Chloé Boursier from Pôle 3D, France.

Taking home 2 awards was the impressive stop motion film His Dancing Shoes by Domhnall Cotter from IADT

Best Animation Award sponsored by MILKSHAKE! Best Writer Award sponsored by Animation Ireland and National Talent Academy for Animation.

“Beautifully emotive and a sensitive exploration of the grieving process. So much story has been successfully conveyed using minimal body movement but with detailed focus on the stories our eyes tell. Stunning”. Kyle Jenkins, Milkshake

“A beautiful and captivating story, as well as heartbreaking. Nicely transitions between the present and the past. A lovely well told story of a lost love.” Deirdre Barry, NTAA

Best Stop Motion Award sponsored by Aardman Animations went to Stay by Yu Sun, London College of Communications.

“Loved the powerful emotions at play here, where the narrative and themes were held together perfectly by the technical approach. Wonderful.” Mark Simon Hewis, Aardman Academy


The Best 3D/CGI Award went to Synchrony, directed by Julia Le Bras-Juarez, Emmie Marriere, Marianne Fourmanoit, Laura Techer, Louise-Marie Rousselie, Jean Delamarre, Alexis Prost from Supinfocom Rubika 

The award is sponsored by Boulder Media and Paul O’ Flanangan had this to say about the film

“Intriguing story. Lovely character animation and acting. Great design and render. Beautifully storyboarded.”

Special mention was given for The Most Boring Granny in The World by Damaris Zielke

The Best Director Award sponsored by Triggerfish went to Small Hours by Marta Sniezek & Christian Spurling from IATD

“Beautiful, sensitive animation.“ Stuart Forrest, Triggerfish

Best Irish Professional Short sponsored by the IDA: Colour! by Britt Bailey

“The concept of the film may seem simple, but it is so relevant and actual. The sharpness of the treatment highlights situations and emotions lived and experienced by the minorities. As part of minority people in a western country, I can only be highly concerned by the topic and deeply touched by the message. The graphism is sober but leaves room for poetry and emotions. 

Messages are true and sincere. One of them resonates deeply inside me: Never reject what we are and where we are from.” Denis Do (Funan)

AND the recipient of Animation Dingle’s Best Irish Professional Short Award is also eligible for consideration in the Animation Short Film category of the Academy Awards®   

An Honourable Mention went to Regular Rabbit By Eoin Duffy

We are honoured to mention that Animation Dingle is now a qualifying Student Academy Awards® festival. This means that Student Films selected into our competition and nominated for an award are eligible for consideration to be nominated in the Student Academy Awards® 

Best International Professional Short sponsored by Nickelodeon: Ninety-Five Senses by Jerusha Hess & Jared Hess, USA

“This is a wonderful film and the different animation styles take you on a visual journey that is a treat to watch. It is a smart monologue taking you through the senses of seeing, smelling, hearing, taste and touch and how these are woven into a reflective telling of a life before death – it’s a really clever structure and juxtaposition. The story covers so much – comment on the future and screen use, the smell memories evoke, remembering childhood memories, the remorse of causing a death, the materials you feel around you that you don’t necessarily notice, reflection on your life, the wishes you once had, regret and redemption, all create an emotive and thought provoking film that ends with his death. It’s a lovely story and has lightness, sadness, comedy and tragedy in equal measure. It’s lovely to see the journey translated into so many different styles all coming together to make sense as one united film with a great pace.  An excellent film and narrative!” Louise Bucknole, Paramount

Honourable Mention The Smile By Erik Van Schaaik

The Big Pitcher Winner, Fay Antar with her project On Eir. Fay wins a 6 month paid internship with Jam Media and will get to pitch at Cartoon Springboard later this year.

Best Sting sponsored by Monster Entertainment went to Frankenphiast by Matthew Jackson University of Dundee

Honourable mentions for The D.M.C.A Lab by Jack Finnerty MTU and Midnight Fusion by Rían O Loughlin TUS Athlone.

Winner of the inaugural Best Game Sting was VR Trouble by Oísin O Connell, BCFE. This was the first year of the award, presented at Animation Dingle Studio Fair, the game was selected the winner by Nancy Xu Virtual Production Producer, Epic Games, Unreal Engine. “All of the games are excellent, fun to play and addictive. VR Trouble is very complex, visually high quality, and the painting experience was excellent.” 

Young Animator of the Year(YAOTY) sponsored by the Disney Channel, the award went to Earth Nua – A New Utopian Age by Eoghan Micheál Bonner from Gairmscoil MhIc Diarmada.

“Excellent design throughout, and some really excellent classic-style 2D animation.  Graphic and cartoony.  And stylish!”  Orion Ross from Disney

And finally:

Murakami Award 2023 sponsored by Brown Bag Films was presented to Steve Woods.

Irish Animator Steve Woods was honoured with the festival’s greatest accolade, The Murakami Award, sponsored and presented by Cathal Caffney, Managing Director BBF, COO 9 Story Group. The award is in the name of the late Jimmy T. Murakami and Jimmy’s wife, Ethna Muramkai was also present. On the night Tom Moore, Richie Baneham, Alan Shannon and Darragh O’ Connell paid tribute to Steve who gave an emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech.

Animation Dingle is delighted to announce these winners and to announce also that animation is alive and kicking in Ireland with a robust sector awaiting all these creative upcoming animators – the future is bright.