Update on Arts Council England’s commitment to animation

It’s been quite a while since we posted anything..but we have been keeping our eye on things..and now it seems there’s been some movement…

To recap…back in 2011, in one of her webchats, Liz Forgan, then Chair of Arts Council England, answered an AAUK query about their support for animation. She told us they were having discussions about an ACE/BFI partnership “as work crosses over… particularly in animation…”. And last November we were very pleased when ACE Chief Executive, Alan Davey, said (in his webchat) that the Arts Council is “committed to supporting animation” and that they would work together with the BFI “to further support animators in both development, production, networking and knowledge sharing in 2014/15″.

He said that more details would follow in early 2014, but things went a bit quiet…so in August we asked Alan for an update. He told us that ACE continues to be engaged in detailed conversations with the BFI but that a discussion about animation has yet to take place and that it is now not going to happen until 2015/16. But that’s seems to be simply because it’s part of much bigger discussions, rather than animation falling off their agenda.

The partnership finally exists and ACE has shared with us their new ACE/BFI Public Value Agreement, to run from 2013–2017, which recognises that the two organisations share “a strong commitment to increasing public engagement in culture, supporting excellence, developing creative talent and contributing to the vibrancy of the UK’s creative economy”.

ACE tells us that initially an Action Plan was being developed alongside the Agreement, but they found that, given “the range and scale of work on which [they] could focus, more work was needed to produce a jointly agreed and targeted action plan”. So, the first year of the partnership will be a foundation year “to allow our teams to become more familiar with each other’s activities and plans and use 2014/15 to scope a programme of work with the BFI to cover 2015-17”.

Whilst the delay might be frustrating, it does seem sensible: the draft plans were seriously ambitious, and it will be important to get right things right. For film and moving image generally, they intend to “map the territory… increase public engagement” and to set out “to support innovation in creative talent, content, audience engagement and business models across our sectors”, with a new fund and a professional skills development and mentoring programme to support new creative media, art and film innovation”. For animation specifically, the draft plan stated their intention “to develop a policy position for animation in England and the UK, providing policy clarity and funding information to artists, filmmakers and producers working in animation” and committed “to undertake joint research and consultation to understand the animation ecology across film and arts and publish our policy position”.

So it seems, overall, a positive and steady step in the right direction. We will continue to monitor how this progresses and keep the Alliance informed!

BFI Animation Day

Following the introduction of the animation tax reliefs, the BFI is presenting a day of panels and presentations for the animation sector. Covering key themes such as: the animation cultural test, co-production, tax reliefs, financing and support for the animation sector.

It’s particularly addressing the tax breaks for animation for broadcast that have been introduced recently, and it should be a good opportunity to find out what all that offers, not just for children’s tv.

See the invitation here: http://bit.ly/H141P5

Sign up via the Eventbrite link: https://animationdaybfi.eventbrite.co.uk/

Wildseed Studios “next generation entertainment content incubator” launched and calling for ideas

Wildseed has been set up by Miles Bullough (former Head of Broadcast at Aardman) and former BBC creative executive Jesse Cleverly.

The company is adopting a portfolio approach to development – investing up to £10,000 into each of 50 new projects over the next 3 years, with follow-on investment available for projects that make a connection with an audience.

And they are looking for entertainment projects that are original, exciting, fresh ideas with attitude, energy and attack.