Three animated projects from diverse UK creators have been selected for further development and industry pitching opportunities after winning the first-ever Big Thinkers animation accelerator program.
The joint initiative launched in March and is run by Big Deal Films and Hoek, Line & Thinker. It’s designed to nurture authentic and diverse perspectives in British animation on and off screen, and is open to projects for preschoolers, six to 11s and primetime audiences.
After a six-week submission phase that saw nearly 30 entries come in, Big Thinkers shortlisted 10 finalists to present their concepts to a jury of industry experts at a one-day pitching event held in London on May 4. Three winners ultimately made the final cut.
Ali and his Magic Car, a family miniseries from Shamraiz Younis and Gagandeep Kalirai, is about an 11-year-old boy who travels back in time to learn more about his father’s life in Pakistan.
Futuristic adventure series Rickshaw Racers by Sagar Rathod targets six to 11s with a story set in Bombay in 2088 AD, when control over potable water is the ultimate power game.
And Better City from Bruna Capozzoli and Sara Tenti is a YA primetime show that pays homage to workers in the urban world.
The creators of these projects will now take them to the next level of development with Big Deal Films (Little Badman), aiming to pitch them to industry execs and platforms later this year.
The other seven finalists were Samir Asran Rahman (Team Dalim), Muj Shah (Maghrib), Roy Agyemang (Afro Animal Team), Samir Asran Rahman (Ms Shabash), Moses Ssebandeke (Nalule and the Brobot), Darren Yeboah (Inferno) and Chitra Soundar (Megha and Mittens).
Big Thinker’s jury featured: Elliott Palmer, animation development producer at King Bert Productions (Malory Towers); Shamik Majumdar, creative director of original series animation for Disney EMEA; Ed Barnieh, manager of original animation and action adventure for Netflix; Kristina Yee, a children’s TV screenwriter (Goat Girl); and Lindsey Adams, the founder of Irish prodco Daily Madness (Pins and Nettie).
With the success of this year’s initiative, the partners behind Big Thinkers are considering making it an annual program, said Hoek, Line & Thinker founder Tom van Waveren in a release.
Pictured (left to right): Moses Ssebandeke, Darren Yeboah, Ronnie Henry, Bruna Capozzoli, Sara Tenti, uncredited, Muj Shah, Chitra Soundar, Shamraiz Younis, uncredited, Samir Asran Rahman and Gagandeep Kalirai