The dress is ready and Leo’s bow tie has been found skulking in the depths of his sock drawer because this Saturday, PUNKY (Series 2) is up for her third IFTA, for Best Children's Programme.
Voiced by the wonderful Aimee Richardson, this little girl I created back in 2007 has stolen hearts not just here but internationally, showing what is possible if you get enough inspired and brave people backing an idea.
First Andrew Meehan, former Development Exec in the Irish Film Board dived in. He loved the idea I pitched and the IFB rolled in to give me development funding to prepare a full bible, episodes and hire a script consultant – Barbara Slade (ex Rugrats) and then Aidan Hickey.I was already in touch with Down Syndrome Ireland who were hugely supportive. That was late 2007 and it was ready by the end of the summer 2008.
Which is when Gerard O'Rourke - European Producer of the Year/ Cartoon Forum/ 2011/ Annecy – of Geronimo Productions (which was then Monster Animation) – came on board. He loved the idea and saw its potential from the start and that was exciting. Ciara McClean did some drawings, RTE weighed in behind it and the money was raised – doesn’t that sound easy! (It never is.) – through IFB, BAI, Section 481 and the first series was launched on RTE in May 2012 directed by Jason Tammemagi and Simon Crane and starring Aimee Richardson as Punky.
The impact the series immediately had surprised, delighted and humbled me and when PUNKY was nominated in 2012 for two IFTAs and one Celtic Media Award that year, it was a delicious bit of icing on top.
Series 2 was officially launched this February on RTE Junior. But it only exists because so many people believed in it, worked on it and made it happen. So to all the people who physically made the episodes, who promoted and believed in it and to all the people who have watched it over the last few years, this IFTA nomination is for you!