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BLE Spotlights the Best of British Animation with Keynote Panel of Top Execs

BLE Spotlights the Best of British Animation with Keynote Panel of Top Execs
Brand Licensing Europe announces the first two keynotes for 2019.

Brand Licensing Europe has announced the first of two keynotes that will take place at this year’s show.

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.

The keynote is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 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, chief executive officer, 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 No. 1 children’s program on BBC iPlayer in 2018, with 3.177 million requests for the episode “Show.” The series is now broadcast in 117 territories and moves and delights Bingsters and their grownups through the series, consumer products, digital, live shows and experiences.

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

  • 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 U.K.’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 and 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 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.

“The U.K. has a long history of creating amazing stories with wonderful characters that engage audiences worldwide,” reports Allison Watkins, Coolabi. “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.”

“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,” says Anna Knight, event director, BLE. “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–moderated by License Global EMEA content editor Ben Roberts–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, digitalization, retail, Brexit and more.

BLE 2019 takes place at ExCeL London on Oct. 1-3. Register for free at

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