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As a team, we’ve now been away from our office in Holywood, Northern Ireland for over a year and a half. That’s more than a fifth of Paper Owl’s existence! It’s a long time to be away. So as we approach the end of 2021 still working remotely, we’re reflecting on our home town of Holywood and the role it plays at Paper Owl Films.
This little town just outside of Belfast has been the home of Paper Owl from the very start. Pronounced the same as its star-studded counterpart across the pond, maybe it’s destiny that we’d have our own growing film industry here too. Holywood, Northern Ireland might not have all the glamour of Hollywood-with-two-Ls. But this is why our little town is the perfect place to dream up creative content for kids and families around the world.
(Is there anything better than a lunchtime walk on the beach when you need a spark of inspiration?)
Holywood is only the 23rd largest town in Northern Ireland. But, like Paper Owl Films, it has big ideas. It was even named the Best Place to Live in Northern Ireland by the Sunday Times earlier this year.
Our hometown is reflected in everything we create. Local accents and local talent can be heard in all our productions – this is something that’s always been very important to us. We also get lots of help from local school children, who keep us informed about what they love and give us honest feedback on our ideas.
The town has also played a starring role itself. Thanks to ‘Pablo’, we’ve showed off the parks, beach and streets (plus dentists, bus stops, toy shops, playgrounds…) of Holywood in more than 20 countries around the world. It has inspired a thriving, nature-filled allotment in our current production ‘Happy the Hoglet’. Plus Holywood’s famous Maypole features prominently in the colourful town in ‘Florida’, which is currently in development. It’s also reflected in our small-town community ethos in the studio – whilst our team keeps growing, we’ll keep hanging on to that.
Most of our team are still based in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. But many have never stepped foot in Paper Owl HQ. So as we approach our 10 year anniversary next year, we’ve got one essential to tick off – get the whole team to Holywood!
About Paper Owl Films
Paper Owl Films is a family run studio, creating animation and live action content for audiences all over the world. We are based in the small town of Holywood just outside Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Founded in 2012 by Gráinne McGuinness, Stephen Petticrew and Gavin Halpin, Paper Owl Films is a diverse team of storytellers, filmmakers, animators and creators. Our films and TV shows have won awards and screened at prestigious festivals. Most importantly, they are loved by young audiences around the world.
With original animation and live action content in development and in production, as a company we’re constantly creating and working on our next big ideas. We’re also passionate about nurturing new talent in animation, live action and Irish language production here in Northern Ireland.