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Film London unveils animation strategy

ANNECY: Screen industries agency Film London has launched a strategy to help support the region’s animation sector, it was revealed at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on Tuesday.

Julian Scott

The agency is hoping to bolster animation output and investment by working with the London region’s studios and producers to help the sector grow commercially and creatively.

Its 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 for the industry, surrounding tax credits; funding of production and IP development; training, skills and diversity; infrastructure; animation as a separate commercial sector; and celebration of London’s animation success.

Following this, Film London’s animation strategy will work to increase investment in the capital’s animation sector while continuing to work with the British Film Commission and Animation UK to promote the benefits of the UK animation tax credit and ensure it remains competitive in the coming years.

It will also work with studios on sustainability and the environmental impact of their work, while working on diversity and inclusion in animation.

To help promote diversity and new talent, Film London has already launched Flamin Animations, a programme of commissions for four early-career black-identifying artist animators living in the UK.

It will also establish a biannual New Entrant IP session, allowing new talent, who are usually unable to access top-line studios and producers, to be introduced. A speed-dating model will be used where new talent will have a fixed time to pitch their ideas to several studios at once, with some key studios already signed up.

Adrian Wootton

Film London will additionally curate a programme of panels and seminars by leading animation talent to encourage school-age children from diverse backgrounds to explore career opportunities and inspire graduates to follow a career in animation. The agency will also continue to work in matching the needs and skills gaps within the industry with the higher education curriculum, working with the Greater London Authority and adult education organisations.

Julian Scott, consultant for animation and kids’ television at Film London, said at Annecy: “The pandemic was a bit of a catalyst to look at what we’ve been doing, what the studios need from us and how we can better use our resources, such as they are, to help support the studios and increase investment into them.

“Primarily, it’s all down to elevating London’s animation studios and perception around the world so we can compete creatively and financially with other key cities around the globe.”

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, added in a statement: “Global demand for screen content, including animation, has never been greater. The UK has an absolutely golden opportunity – one which London is seizing – to ensure our capital and other regional animation hubs can harness this.

“We have world-leading animation creatives, producers and facilities in London. Our strategy is as much about supporting the next generation of talent to continue that, as it is about bringing in ever-increasing inward investment. We want London to remain at the very forefront of global animation for years to come.”

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