Andrew Kavanagh is an award-winning writer and director who founded the Kavaleer Productions animation production company in 2001. The Irish company has since gone on to produce several Children’s television series with their newest project— “Alva and the Trolls”—due to debut soon. Andrew got his start in the mid-1990s when he worked at Brown Bag Films which is now Ireland’s largest indie studios.

His initial training was in animation and he always had a flair for writing and film. “I find animation helps you to access inner worlds, imagination, visualization in a more direct way,” he declared. Hence, he focused on animation when he established his company.

Content

Kavaleer is mostly interested in producing preschool shows and enjoys creating characters who serve as role models for underserved people.

“Ultimately what we’re about is making positive cartoons that are super-fun but also have a real world purpose,” Andrew explained. Their latest show—“Alva and the Trolls”—was created with the goal of addressing the issue of cyberbullying. “It had three objectives: to show kids how to stay safe, to show bullies that being mean is not cool, and to have a set of stories that kids and parents could co-view and develop a shared dialogue together,” Andrew said of the program which chronicles the adventures of a little girl named Alva Doon who stumbles upon a troll-bead bracelet that brings seven unruly trolls to life who cause her strife. Alva defends herself against the trolls by modelling proper social interaction.

Mission

Kavaleer Productions has produced five shows to date and Andrew openly admits that he is always on the lookout for new writers and script ideas. Their shows range from the fantastical to the realistic, as is the case with “Kiva Can Do!” which was inspired by a real person, Damini Kumar, who knew when she was only five years old that she wanted to grow up to be an inventor—and did. The company also produces short films.

Of those, one titled “City of Roses” was directly inspired by events from Andrew’s childhood and the lives of strangers in Portland, Oregon, in the early 1950s. Andrew truly enjoys receiving feedback from viewers, especially when the comments are positive. His ultimate goal is for Kavaleer to become a company that is known for creating content that is inclusive for all kids with special focus on those who feel marginalized or don’t see themselves reflected on television in a positive way. “The world is a big diverse place, and right now we’re only seeing a little slice of it represented in our demographic,” Andrew proclaimed.

“If Kavaleer can help broaden that horizon a little, I’ll be happy.”

Future

This year marks the company’s fifteenth year in existence and Andrew and his business partner, Gary Timpson, constantly strive to partner with like-minded producers and agencies to continue producing great content. One of their forthcoming projects is called “Pablo” and it focuses on a character who is a child on the autistic spectrum.

In fact, the show even features several prominent cast members who have autism. Kavaleer is also working with Pajama Publishing on a short for the UN’s Free & Equal campaign which explores attitudes toward LGBT kids in South America. “I recommend that anyone who aspires to work in the animation industry make an effort to spend a few years working in small studios where you get a chance to experience every department,” Andrew declared. “Animation is a truly collaborative effort so give yourself time to find the area you truly enjoy working in and aim to be the best in your field.” This very method has worked well for Andrew and he hopes that his efforts and experiences will make Kavaleer Productions a household name in the near future.

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