Animation industry campaigning group Animation UK is to become a trade body after nearly a decade as a voluntary group and will join up with post, vfx and studios trade body UK Screen Association, under one umbrella organisation to be called the UK Screen Alliance.
Animation UK will be run by a Council formed under the umbrella Alliance to specifically drive forward animation policy.
Since Animation UK’s inception, the children’s animation industry has doubled in size, thanks largely to the Animation Tax Credit, which the group campaigned for and which came in to force in early 2013. The industry is now large enough to afford its own professionally run team, to promote, lobby and support the industry.
The animation industry is worth an estimated £1.5 billion pounds a year to the UK economy and £250 million of inward investment a year but Animation UK believes that with proper targeted support in key areas, such as inward investment, development, skills, production and distribution/export, the sector can grow rapidly over the coming years.
The facilities and animation sectors have large areas of shared interest. Many of the skills and roles in animation and VFX are identical. The sectors both face the same challenges with globally mobile workforces. Each group benefits from tax credits and has a keen interest in maximising exports. So the UK Screen Alliance will have joint working groups to develop policies where there are obvious cross overs. The efficiencies made by sharing a back office, will enable the employment of extra staff to advance and promote both the animation and facilities remit.
Kate O’Connor and Helen Brunsdon will continue to support the work of the Alliance and Chair and founder of Animation UK, Oli Hyatt MBE, will continue to be involved as the group transitions into the new body as a leading figure on the Animation UK Council and on the UK Screen Alliance board of directors. O’Connor will be Executive Chair of the Animation UK Council and provide wider support for policy with Brunsdon taking the position of Animation UK Director.
Oli Hyatt said, “I could not be more proud of what Animation UK has achieved to date, and the work and effort our industry has put in get us to this point. This is a new beginning for the organisation, and partnering with Neil Hatton’s team at UK Screen is absolutely the most effective way to drive our industry forwards.”
Neil Hatton, currently chief executive of UK Screen Association will become CEO of the overall UK Screen Alliance and will continue to head up the existing facilities remit.
Neil Hatton said, “We are incredibly excited to be joining forces with Animation UK. Oli and I have often found ourselves attending the same meetings, dealing with the same people in government departments and sharing very similar viewpoints on the issues that really matter to the sectors we represent. It makes an enormous amount of sense for us to pool our efforts and resources so that together we can provide more advocacy and benefit for our respective members. This really does feel like the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”