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YACF reveals latest projects to get funding

Wyndley Animation’s Circle Square for Milkshake!

CITV, Channel 4, E4, Channel 5’s Milkshake! and S4C in the UK are on board the latest projects to receive production funding from the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF).

The awards come after the British Film Institute (BFI), which manages the fund, last year revealed the first nine projects to benefit from the its £57m (US$71m) budget, to be distributed between 2019 and 2021.

The latest slate includes a mix of 12 new series and specials aimed at audiences including preschoolers and teens. They address concepts of acceptance and tackle issues impacting young people across the UK, including race, identity, gender, disability and socio-economics.

Genres covered include creative arts and crafts, gameshows, surreal comedy, factual and educational programming, spanning animation, mixed media and live action.

Among the projects receiving funding are cult comedy puppet series Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (Blink Industries, Channel 4), MakeAway Takeaway (Dot to Dot, CITV), Winnie & Wilbur (Winduna, Milkshake!), Lloyd of the Flies (Aardman, CITV), Milo (Fourth Wall Animation, Milkshake!) and Circle Square (Wyndley Animation, Milkshake!).

The slate also includes two quick-turnaround projects for E4, one of which – Afro Mic Productions’ Letters In Lockdown – aired in June. The other is Mother’s Best Child’s Grime Therapy (working title), an animated series featuring the UK’s leading grime stars, talking openly about mental health and how to take care of it.

The BFI confirmed it had awarded a total of £11,520,428 in production funding to 18 projects, with details of two projects yet to be announced, in the first year of the fund (April 2019 to April 2020).

Official funding figures for year two are yet to be released. Awards continue to build exponentially across factual entertainment, drama, current affairs and entertainment, the BFI added.

Jackie Edwards, head of the YACF at the BFI, said: “We’re proud of the range of projects we’ve been able to support within our production slate, nurturing stories and concepts we feel will enrich television for young audiences.

“Throughout the first year, we have been overwhelmed by the quality of the production applications that have secured a broadcast commission and I’m hugely excited about the exciting new UK talent we have been able to support.”

Louise Bucknole, VP programming kids at Channel 5-owner ViacomCBS Networks UK, added: “For the first time in a number of years, we’re able to bring live-action drama and entertainment formats back to Milkshake!, putting more real kids on screen, which in turn supports our ambition to increase representation of kids up and down the UK.

“In addition, we’ve also commissioned a number of new stand-out animations and are working with new companies as a result of the fund. We’re looking forward to broadening our net further to work with more new partners from across the UK.”

The fund contributes up to 50% of the production costs for projects that have secured a broadcast commitment from a free-to-access, Ofcom-regulated service with significant UK-wide audience reach.

During lockdown, the YACF team launched the See Yourself on Screen Challenge, a competition for four- to 18-year-olds that called on young people from the UK to create and star in their own mini-TV show, reflecting their own lives and stories.

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