As this week’s local elections in the UK have led to increased speculation over the future of Ireland’s borders, the region’s animation industry has come together to increase opportunities for creativity and collaboration.
Animation Ireland, Animation UK and Northern Ireland Screen have today reached an agreement which will open up membership to studios based in Northern Ireland. This means that studios will be able to be members of both Animation Ireland and Animation UK, the trade associations representing studios in Ireland and the UK respectively.
The deal comes amid strong growth in animation on both sides of the Irish border, huge increases in productions, staff and funding for the animation industry which currently employs over 2,000 people. Animation Ireland now has 35 member studios, up from 25 in 2018 and just 14 in 2015.
As part of the agreement, Northern Ireland studios will participate with Animation Ireland and Animation UK in major international animation, film and television events and conferences to jointly promote the island of Ireland and the Kingdom. United as well as issues such as attracting new talent to the industry, co-production opportunities and wider international promotion.
Northern Ireland studios will have access to Animation Ireland’s training events, with Northern Ireland Screen supporting events and training.
Announcing the deal, the parties called it “a major step forward in collaboration between studios in both jurisdictions, which have been increasingly linked in recent years through joint work on major global productions.”
Commenting on the announcement, Animation Ireland Chief Executive Ronan McCabe said; “This is a major milestone for the Irish animation industry on both sides of the border. There has always been a great spirit of collaboration in the animation industry and that’s what this announcement is about. By working together, we can all help to ensure that the island of Ireland continues to develop its reputation as a leading international hub for animation production. There are already a lot of ties between us in terms of animation, film and television production, so it makes perfect sense to be more formally linked.
Kate O’Connor, Executive Chair of Animation UK, said; ”Animation UK represents the British industry known for its creative excellence, humour, iconic characters and innovation. We are delighted to welcome Northern Ireland’s brilliant animation companies on board. This exciting development and unique partnership between Animation UK, Animation Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen will allow us to deepen our existing relationship.”
Colin Williams, founder and creative director of Northern Ireland animation studio Sixteen South said; “We are really delighted to become members of Animation UK and Animation Ireland. Animation is truly a global industry without borders. We at Sixteen South have co-produced with wonderful partners in many countries around the world and had this deal brokered by Northern Ireland Screen for us as a Northern Irish studio to be recognized and members of the UK and Irish animation. body is wonderful and really appropriate. We are a mix of cultures in Northern Ireland and that suits us perfectly.