News / Animation

BFI launches fund for established animators on the brink of stardom

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The BFI has announced a major new initiative to support the UK’s animation industry, launching a fund for fledgling projects by animators who need a mid-career push, and an extensive research study into the country’s animation sector.

The Short Form Animation Fund will give awards of £30,000 – £120,000 to animated work up to 15 minutes long, for projects that “represent a significant advancement in [the creative’s] work, enable progression and open up new opportunities” the BFI stipulates. The fund is targeting animators who have already gained industry recognition, helping them to reach the next stage in their career, for projects, it says, are unlikely to be commercially financed. This is part of the BFI’s drive to nurture the UK’s world-leading animation talent base, as set out in its five-year plan BFI2022, which identified animation as a focal area.

The narrative, short form film can be made in any technique for any format, including cinema, digital platforms and VR. It is supported by National Lottery funding and open for applications now until 5 November. The fund was developed with industry bodies Animation UK and Animation Alliance UK, and Helen Brunsdon, director of the British Animation Awards, to identify the point in an animator’s career which requires support. The BFI still offers support to early-career filmmakers with the BFI Network and Young Audiences Content Fund.

Simultaneous to the launch of the new fund, the institute is commissioning new research to “establish a comprehensive picture” of the British animation sector. This aims to identify areas of expertise and specialism around the country, and pinpoint creative and commercial hubs. The study will then become a publicly available source of data, set to publish in early 2020, the BFI hopes it will “highlight where domestic and international links and partnerships can be exploited”.

The study is also supported by National Lottery funding and comes out of the BFI Research and Statistics Fund.

Last year, the BFI also launched Animated Britain an online archive of animation including over 300 films sourced from a century of British cartoons.