Sunday, April 13, 2014

British animation industry booms

Calamity Island. Shipwrecks... and penguins
According to an article in today's Guardian, the British cartooning industry is booming as never before, thanks in large part to the tax credits put in place by Chancellor George Osbourne in April 2013. CBeebies, the UK's most popular broadcaster of animated children's content, is apparently doubling its output, and it is largely local talent which will reap the rewards of this new boom in UK cartoon spending.

New series include Boj, about a marsupial, Toggle, Circle Square, and Calamity Island. London-based Lupus films, who created the return of the Snowman, two Christmases ago, is making no less than 52 episodes of Toot the Tiny Tugboat in partnership with a Welsh company called Cloth Cap.

According to Kay Benbow, the head of CBeebies, the deciding factor was the new 20% tax credit which had "tipped the balance"in favour of new production at home.

Adrian Wilkins, of the famous Cosgrove Hall animation company in Manchester, said that the boom now meant that it could re-open their studio, closed since 1999. In their heyday, Cosgrove Hall made Danger Mouse, Count Dukula, Wind in the Willows and The BFG. Their first new cartoon will be Pip Ahoy!

Oli Hyatt of Blue Zoo, the UK's largest independent animation company, said that animators were reaping the benefit. "There were so many jobless animators wandering around; now they have come back into the industry. There is a 50% rise in employment."

Ruth Fielding, joint managing director of Lupus Films, was one of a number of company executives who said they were actively recruiting new talent, offering jobs, work experience, and training.

The tax credit works like this: the rules allow tax relief of up to 25% (depending on the amount of British spending and cultural input) on 80% of the core budget. That could mean, in theory at least, a refund of £400,000 on a £2m budget. So, a producer spends £2m in the UK, and gets 20% of it back from HM Government.


To read the whole article in The Guardian, follow this link.

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