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UK Animation Trends and Opportunities Highlighted at Annecy

During an online panel, industry agencies, including Film London, Animation UK, BFI, and Screen Scotland, renewed their sector commitment while sharing business development, investment, and government support insights and strategies in the wake of COVID-19.

Film London, along with a collection of national and regional agencies including Animation UK, the British Film Commission, BFI, Screen Scotland, and NI Screen, announced a renewed commitment to the animation industry during an online panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. As part of the discussion, leading figures from the industry shared insights, trends, and opportunities in the sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The BFI’s director of industry and international affairs, Neil Peplow, outlined the recently launched UK Global Screen Fund, which aims to increase international opportunities across the screen sector. The fund is to be set up with and financed by the DCMS to support the screen sector across international distribution, international business development, and international co-production to boost collaboration and help reach global audiences

Julian Scott from Film London used the forum to announce a new animation strategy aimed at increasing international investment and working on sustainability and diversity. With London producing more than 50 per cent of the UK’s animation output, employing over 2,500 people, since 2012 the investment into London’s animation sector has increased from £35m to over £450m a year. Film London aims to bolster this by working with the region’s studios and producers to help the sector grow commercially and creatively over the coming years.

Film London’s animation strategy draws on a study of all London based animation studios and producers in the third quarter of 2020, which sought to understand the shape of the sector in London ahead of and during the global pandemic. The research identified six consistent areas of concern from the industry:

  • Tax credits
  • Funding of production and IP development
  • Training, skills, and diversity
  • Infrastructure
  • Animation as a separate commercial sector
  • Celebration of London’s animation success
  • organizations.

To emphasize the launch of their new strategy, Film London has released a specially commissioned animation showreel highlighting the industry’s London-based contributions to the industry through TV, games, commercials, and independent and feature films.

The strategy sets out key themes and actions to support the industry, from training and inclusion to funding of productions and IP development. Examples include:

FLAMIN Animations:

  • The new program commissions four early-career black-identifying artist animators living in the UK. This is the first of many planned collaborations with the screen agency’s networks of equal access, artists’ moving image, new talent, games, and archive film.

A twice-a-year, New Entrant IP session:

  • The program to be established will give new talent otherwise would not have access to top line studios and producers, an avenue to be introduced. A speed-dating model will be utilized with new talent getting a fixed time to pitch their ideas to several studios in one session; several key studios have already signed up to the venture.

A program of panels and seminars:

  • The programs by leading animation talent will be curated to encourage school-age children from diverse backgrounds to explore career opportunities and inspire graduates to follow a career in animation. Film London will also continue to work in matching the needs and skills gaps within the industry with the higher education curriculum, working with the GLA and Adult Education

Source: Film London