There are big developments in the UK animation industry in the wake of a much-heralded British animation industry tax break that went into effect last year. Sarah Smith, the former creative director of features at Aardman Animations, is setting up a studio named Locksmith Animation. She bills it as the UK’s “first high-end CGI feature animation studio,” and it is focused on creating a long-term slate of films for worldwide distribution. Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert’s daughter, who runs the British media production company Shine, is the principal shareholder in Locksmith, though she is investing in a personal capacity, according to Variety.
Smith comments on Britain’s place in the CGI field:
“With animated films among the most beloved and successful movies in the world, but still only a handful of producers out there, the UK offers Locksmith a unique opportunity, including a world class CG Visual FX industry, brilliant comedy writers and directors, outstanding children’s literature, the European animation talent pool, and government tax credits.”
Working variously as a writer, director, and producer, Sarah Smith spent the early part of her career in live-action comedy series such as The League of Gentlemen and Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years. She moved to Aardman in 2006, where she made her debut as co-director and co-writer of Aardman’s Arthur Christmas (2011), and later co-executive produced The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012).