Last month, Film London hosted an Animation Round Table with participants from across the industry. Representatives from Jellyfish, Lupus Films, Locksmith and others attended to hear about Film London’s work in the animation sector.
Hosted by Film London CEO, Adrian Wootton and curated by Animation Consultant Julian Scott, the round table provided a platform to update industry on Film London’s Animation strategy and encourage discussion. Experts in the field explained where prospects for the industry lie and delegates were invited to ask questions or raise concerns about the animation industry in London.
Areas covered included: Tax credits, Funding of development and production, Training, skills and diversity, Infrastructure, Animation as a separate commercial sector, distinct from film and television to properly evaluate what the industry is worth to the UK economy, and Celebration of London’s animation success.
Overview of Sector
We continue to face an evolving and challenging business environment. That said, the animation sector in London is in rude health. The last time we did a financial assessment of the sector we know (from the studios themselves) the money flowing into London to finance animated projects was just over £490m, with £370m actually being spent directly here. We are still assimilating the data for the last twelve months, but it already looks like that figure will be matched, if not exceeded, with around 50% of the UK’s animation being produced here.
HM Revenue and Customs has recently published draft legislation for the creatives audio-visual tax relief reform, providing greater detail and bringing greater clarity for companies and productions.
We welcome the news that the animation uplift will be available to both animated films and animated programmes that fulfil the relevant criteria. Tax reliefs play a key role in ensuring that the UK’s word-class creative industries continue to thrive and the reforms will ensure the tax system continues to drive growth in creative industries
Film London continues to collaborate with and add a strong voice to the general need to increase the investment available to animation in London and the UK.
As an organisation, we have delivered a new animated short for BFI NETWORK, Darwin Story, from writer/director Natasha Tonkin, through our Talent Development Production division.
We featured several animated projects in UPstream, our innovative IP Market which showcases a carefully curated selection of new and exciting IP projects at a very early stage, for an audience of UK Film, TV and Games companies, sales agents, distributors, agents and publishers. Alongside potential animated IP this year we included projects from Wattpad’s graphic novel sister org WebToon for the first time.
Film London’s Production Finance Market (PFM) continues to attract more animated features and we are in discussion with sales agents and financiers to see how we can expand future PFMs to encompass more animated features as established sales agents take on animated features for the first time as Bankside did with Lupus Films Kensuke’s Kingdom.
Training, Skills and Diversity
Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network continues to be a one-stop resource to provide artists working in the moving image with access to funding, guidance and development opportunities. FLAMIN Animations looks to commission black-identifying practitioners as a considered acknowledgement of the underrepresentation of black-identifying artists within animation.
We have, and continue to run, workshops in association with leading ability consultants to help studios recruit and, more importantly, retain animation talent from a physically diverse background enabling them to tap a rich seam of talent that might have passed by otherwise.
We ran an introduction to Animation Week through Film London’s Equal Access Network in February this year, which allowed a group of diverse people to hear from leading animators and studios about their route into the industry. As a division EAN now has over 6,000 members and helps marry the animation, film, TV, games and screen industries with its diverse membership.
Animators Jide Johnson, Ronan Mackenzie, Ben Dawson and Isabel Barfod were featured as Film London Lodestars this year in our new animation category. The Lodestars are selected from a pool of hundreds of people, reflecting the breadth of talent across London’s screen industries and seeks to reinforce upcoming Londoners making great strides globally, putting London firmly on the map. There is also one animator on the Jarman Award shortlist, Sophie Koko Gates – the award recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation.
These topics and many more were covered during the round table and we hope that productive connections and conversations happened as a result.