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How Marsden's Fettle Animation firm is flying the flag for great British business

Fettle Animation is part of government's Business is GREAT campaign - and it's growing

A top animation firm is contributing to record year for British film and television.

Fettle Animation, based in Marsden, is already an award-winner and it’s animations are in line for more awards.

Producer Kath Shackleton and director Zane Whittingham are flying the flag in the government’s Business is GREAT campaign, which highlights the stars behind the show, and the Creative Skillsets campaign, which aims to develop skills and talent.

They’ve received extra support from the government to take on graduate animators.

Kath said: “This has been an extraordinary year of growth and expansion for us.

“We’re one of the first companies in the country to have benefitted from Creative Skillset’s trainee finder scheme, allowing us to take on our first employees.

“The government’s new tax credits for animation have also been invaluable to us and have made our productions work really well. “We are delighted to be part of the Business is GREAT campaign to celebrate this.

“We’ve had lots of business support to help us to capitalise on our success, and learn new skills as we need them.

“We are pleased to have worked with the Creative Industries Finance programme, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and Growth Accelerator to access mentoring and training to devise a new business strategy to drive us forward.”

The support, plus that from Kirklees Jobs Fund, meant the two-strong team were able to grow.

Kath added: “Our graduate trainees have been a fantastic success story for us. We’ve seen them grow in confidence, and blossom with our support to create some exceptional work.

“They’ve got Bafta awards, the BBC and CITV work on their CV which they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the training support we were given.”

Fettle Animation recently won a Royal Television Society ‘One to Watch’ award and they are in line for three more awards in the coming months.

They say the diversity of animation means they’re able to take on a serious subject and use it as a tool to educate others.

The company’s most recent project was ‘Children of the Holocaust’, an animated documentary series for BBC Learning.

Fettle Animation of Marsden and their film 'Children of the Holocaust'. Kath Shackleton (producer) and Zane Whittingham (animation director) with a still from the film

They spoke to survivors and turned their stories into animation that is used in schools and was also aired on BBC4 for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Kath added: “We’re the only animation company in the UK to have had an 8pm slot, unless you’re Family Guy or the Simpsons it’s a tough slot to get.

“We hope the broadcasters will see how diverse animation can be and put more of it on our screens.”

Kath and Zane, who both live in Marsden, set up Fettle Animation two and a half years ago and said its location between the big northern cities was ideal.

They are currently working on new projects, including one with poet Ian McMillan, as well as music videos.

The Business is GREAT Britain campaign is run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and UKTI and provides advice for small and medium sized firms looking to grow, hire, export, lead and access finance.


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