Seeing Growing Overlap, U.K. Film Industry Groups Merge

The U.K. Screen Association, which represents visual-effects teams, is merging with Animation U.K. The reason: an expanding level of common ground.

The technologies needed to create movie magic—whether live-action or animated—have quickly grown and evolved.

As a result, the needs of animators have in many ways increasingly fallen into similar categories as visual effects and other parts of the traditional production process.

It’s with that shift in mind that two British film industry groups—Animation U.K. and the U.K. Screen Association—are merging. The new group, which will be called the U.K. Screen Alliance, was announced earlier this week, during a private event at British Prime Minister Theresa May’s home, according to Variety. The industry figures were there to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the most prominent British animation studio, the Wallace and Gromit-producing Aardman.

“The facilities and animation sectors have large areas of shared interest. Many of the skills and roles in animation and VFX are identical,” the groups explained in a news release. “The sectors both face the same challenges with globally mobile workforces and have the same commitment to developing fresh talent in order to maintain our place as world leaders.”

In comments reported by Variety, Oli Hyatt, chairman and founder of Animation U.K., emphasized that the merger would bring every part of the film animation industry under one roof.

“With one voice, representing all parts of the animation industry … we can build on our strengths, make sure we take up all opportunities and address any concerns by working closely with all partners, including the government and the key funding organizations,” Hyatt said.

Both Hyatt and U.K. Screen Association CEO Neil Hatton will maintain roles with the new organization, with Hatton becoming the CEO of the alliance and Hyatt maintaining a board presence.

Wallace and Gromit, the famed animated characters from the U.K.'s Aardman studio. Aardman, a major animation firm, celebrated its 40th anniversary this week. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!