U.K. Coordinates Annecy Drive at Crunch Time for British Animation

A fifteen-strong U.K. delegation will be looking for buying, selling and recruitment opportunities at Annecy under the Animation U.K. banner, in the most coordinated ever push by the country’s animation sector at the French festival.

There are a plethora of opportunities and challenges facing U.K. companies as they look to capitalize on the hard-won U.K. tax break for animation on one hand, and tackle the uncertainty created by Brexit on the other. Against that backdrop, the likes of Aardman, Blue Zoo, eOne, Lupus Films, and Magic Light Pictures will be part of the Animation U.K. drive at Annecy, which has not traditionally been attended en masse by the British.

“This year we are planting a flag,” said Helen Brunsdon, Animation U.K. director. “People have heard about the tax credit and inward investment into the U.K. but want to know how to do business with key companies.”

The agenda for the U.K. delegation includes buying and selling, with a large number of broadcasters in attendance, to talking about coproduction, and sourcing international talent. The U.K. attendees are, Animation U.K. notes, mindful that Amazon and Netflix are in town, and there is also a focus on China and healthy Chinese delegation, allowing for meetings that are hard to come by in the UK.

U.K. projects in competition at Annecy include Magic Light’s animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” and Trademark Films’ “Loving Vincent,” about the life of the artist, and which claims to be the first-ever fully painted feature film.

Animation U.K. was originally a lobby group but  with the battle for a tax credit won, it became part of a new industry group, the U.K. Screen Alliance, which launched in January and encompasses production, distribution, VFX, post-production and film.

It will still lobby government on Brexit-related issues such as mobility and visa requirements for talent, but has taken on a wider mission to spread the word about the U.K. animation sector. It will publish research later this year that lays out the value created by animation in Britain.

Attending Annecy is a key part of the new, wider, remit. “We were set up in January and one of the first things we did was go to the U.K. Department for International Trade and ask for support to take a delegation to Annecy,” said Kate O’Connor, executive chair of Animation U.K. “It’s the first time the U.K. has had a coordinated presence like this.”

The full U.K. delegation is: Aardman Animations; Blue Zoo; Cake; eOne; Jellyfish; Mackinnon and Saunders; Locksmith Animation; Lupus Films; Spider Eye; Karrot Entertainment, AProductions; and Magic Light Pictures. Animation U.K. chiefs and two Department for International Trade reps will also be there.

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