Carol Freeman

Ireland, 2018 / 7 min / Without words / Animation

Part of the short film collection Shooom’s Odyssey

A lyrical story about a young whale struggling to find his voice.

A young whale is separated from his family after straying too far to explore a shipwreck. Back on the surface, amidst a furious storm, the whale discovers the sunken ship’s sole survivor, a caged songbird. Lost at sea, with only each other to rely on, the two sensitive animals become friends and struggle to survive. With the help of the canary’s beautiful singing voice, they set out to reunite the whale with his family.

The Bird & the Whale was created by a majority female team using a near obsolete form of animation – paint-on-glass. Each frame was painted with slow drying oil paint and shot with a top-down camera in a light-controlled room.  After a frame was shot, the paint was wiped away and the next frame was repainted almost entirely from scratch. Each new frame created, destroys the last. Its seven minutes are made up of over 4300 A1 sized oil paintings and took five painters thirteen months to paint.


The screenings on 05/03 at 11.00 and on 09/03 at 09.00 unfortunately had to be cancelled.

Sun 07/03 11:00 Cinémathèque Without words | Free Public
Sun 14/03 16:00 Ciné Utopia Without words | Free Public


  • Best Animated Film, Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth, 2020 (Czech Republic)
  • Best Short Film, Chicago Irish Film Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Best Animation, Dublin Independent Film Festival, 2019 (Ireland)
  • Best Animated Short Film of the Youth Jury, Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema, 2019 (Spain)
  • Best Kids, Fantoche International Animation Film Festival Baden, 2019 (Switzerland)
  • Best Character Based Short, Los Angeles Animation Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Best Animation, Oxford International Film Festival, 2019 (UK)
  • Best Film, Brooklyn Women’s Film Festival, 2018 (USA)
  • Jury Distinction Award, Edmonton International Film Festival (Canada)
  • Best New Director in Ireland – Carol Freeman, Kinsale Shark Awards, 2018 (Ireland)
  • Best Music, Kinsale Shark Awards, 2018 (Ireland)
  • Best Animated Short Film, Kinsale Shark Awards, 2018 (Ireland)
  • Best Short Film, Montréal Festival of New Cinema, 2018 (Canada)
Cast & Credits
Carol Freeman
Chris McLoughlin
Paper Panther Productions
Les Grignoux
Eimhin McNamara

Carol Freeman graduated from the National Film School of Ireland in 2009 with a focus on experimental animation. She has since worked on various films and commercials, illustrated picture books, and taught workshops around Ireland and abroad. In 2014 she co-founded Paper Panther Productions with the aim of creating new and innovative work in stop-motion and illustration. There, she directed her first short film, The Bird and the Whale (2018). In June 2018, Carol Freeman was awarded a Silver Screen Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity’s Young Director Award.

  • 2018 – The Bird and the Whale (short)