BLE 2019: Best of British Animation to be celebrated with expert keynote

Brand Licensing Europe has detailed the first of two keynotes to take place at this year’s event.

Storyboard: The Best of British Animation will spotlight the inspirational and aspirational creativity and success of some of the nation’s most prolific production studios with a panel of experts spanning some of the biggest names and talent in the space.

The keynote is scheduled for 12noon on Wednesday, October 2 – the mid point of the three day show running from October 1 to 3 at ExCeL London. Visitors can register online for a free pass at

The panel includes:

  • Michael Rose, joint managing director, Magic Light Pictures

Magic Light Pictures is an Oscar nominated, BAFTA winning creator of family entertainment and brands. Its filmmaking includes animated adaptations of The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat, Zog and Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

  • Mikael Shields, CEO, Acamar Films

Acamar Films’ award-winning hit pre-school show, Bing, celebrates the joyful, messy reality of pre-school life and finds the big stories in the little moments. Bing was the number one children’s programme on BBC iPlayer in 2018, with 3.177 million requests for the episode “Show”. Bing is now broadcast in 117 territories and moves and delights Bingsters and their grown-ups through the series, consumer products, digital, live shows and experiences.

  • Sean Clarke, executive director rights & brand development, Aardman Animations

The world famous Aardman Animations is a four times Academy Award® winning animation studio creating film, broadcast, advertising and interactive entertainment. Aardman Animations is the creator of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Creature Comforts and Chicken Run among others.

  • Oli Hyatt, managing director, Blue Zoo Animation
Blue Zoo Animation is one of the UK’s leading studios with an enviable client list and shelf full of BAFTAs for its trademark CG character animation. The studio has produced some of the most well-loved kids shows on TV, including Numberblocks and Digby Dragon, captivating commercials, and acclaimed shorts.
  • Allison Watkins, director, global consumer products & TV distribution, Coolabi Group

Coolabi Group is a leading independent international media group and rights owner of some 360 half- hours of programming. Brands owned and/or represented by Coolabi include the multi-award-winning remake of Clangers, plus Beast Quest, Poppy Cat, Purple Ronnie and the Smallfilms properties Bagpuss and Ivor the Engine.

Acamar CEO, Mikael Shields, commented: “There has never been a better time to reach a global audience as a filmmaker. It’s a truly exciting moment.”

“The UK has a long history of creating amazing stories with wonderful characters that engage audiences worldwide. Story and character are the cornerstones of all successful brands that help develop rich evergreen opportunities across film, TV, stage and consumer products which can cross generations. It will be great to share learnings and experiences on how to make that work during BLE,” said Coolabi’s Allison Watkins.

BLE event director, Anna Knight added: “Britain’s animation studios produce world leading content and the people within them are some of the most talented across this country’s creative industries. British animation is a powerhouse of originality and its makers are masters of engaging viewers across the entire spectrum of emotions, from joyous belly laughter to uncontrollable sobbing, and everything in between.

“We are over the moon to have such well-respected experts joining us for Wednesday’s keynote panel and will be hanging off every word they have to say.”

This keynote is one of 25 sessions scheduled for BLE’s License Global Theatre. Other highlighted topics include sustainability, publishing, animation, gaming, eSports, food and beverage, heritage, fashion, influencers, digitalisation, retail, Brexit and more.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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