First Minister, Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, today officially opened a new four-floor studio for BAFTA-winning and EMMY® nominated children’s television producer, Sixteen South.
First Minister, Arlene Foster said: “The move by Sixteen South to this new animation studio represents a £1m investment and commitment to the sector. Today marks the next chapter of the Sixteen South success story.
“The creative industries in Northern Ireland contribute over £329 million to the local economy and I, and my Executive colleagues are committed to support further growth in this sector. The development of the Film & TV industry remains a crucial part of the creative economy in Northern Ireland and while other large-scale productions can sometimes be seen as taking the plaudits, it is appropriate to highlight that the animation sector here is extremely buoyant with our animated productions far reaching and screened globally.
“It is companies like Sixteen South, with talented people, including world class animators that are helping to grow this industry and our reputation. I commend and congratulate to Colin and the Sixteen South team for leading the way in putting our animation sector on the map. I am confident these new premises, combined with your imagination, your hard work and your passion, you will continue to produce much loved children’s entertainment for generations to come.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “For EMMY nominated and BAFTA winning children’s television production company Sixteen South to invest £1 million in this state of the art animation studio in Belfast as part of a relocation to a larger 7,500 square foot premises is a real boost to the local creative industry.
“This relocation is about more than opening an animation studio. Rooted in the local creative industry this move signals the scale of Sixteen South’s global appetite, drive and determination. This new studio is hugely exciting, not just for the 100 people who will work here but for our entire creative industry.
“Sixteen South is proof of how a local company can compete and succeed at the highest level in an exceptionally competitive and dynamic international market. I congratulate Colin Williams who formed the company in 2008 and who through his creativity, business acumen and people skills has assembled a formidable team which will continue to entertain, educate and inspire children across the globe.”
Since investing £1m in the 7,500 sq ft city centre building in the heart of Belfast, Sixteen South, which employs over 100 people, has had its brand new animated series Claude (52 x 11’) picked up by Disney Junior for broadcast throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa & Australasia. Their hit mixed animation series, Lily’s Driftwood Bay, which airs in more than 100 countries, has just won the prestigious and coveted European Prix Jeunesse award whilst in production of its second series. Series two stars special guest global Country music legend, Dolly Parton, as a Singing Chicken, and Rob Brydon, as a seafaring and rather handsome silver fox, alongside the regular cast including Lord Stag (Stephen Fry) and Lily, voiced by Belfast’s Orlagh O’Keefe.
Colin Williams, Founder and Creative Director of Sixteen South, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the First and deputy First Minister to officially open our new Belfast studio. In 1884, this building was home to the Clarence Finishing Company, a leading exporter of the finest linen handkerchiefs. Today, we’re proud that it’s the home to one of the city’s new industries, where we make television for children in every country.”
Sixteen South has been making award winning television shows for children for almost ten years including Pajanimals, produced in partnership with The Jim Henson Company, Big & Small, Sesame Tree, a partnership with Sesame Workshop, and their BAFTA and IFTA winning Big City Park.