BLE Spotlights British Animation with Top Execs Keynote Panel

Brand Licensing Europe has announced the first of two keynotes that will 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 an eye-wateringly talented panel of experts.

“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,” said BLE event director Anna Knight. “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.”

The keynote is scheduled for noon on Wednesday, October 2. BLE takes place Oct. 1-3 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 preschool show, Bing, celebrates the joyful, messy reality of preschool life and finds the big stories in the little moments. Bing was the number one children’s program 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-time 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 U.K.’s leading studios with an enviable client list and a 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 U.K. 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.

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.

BLE 2019
BLE 2019


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