UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK unveil Outstanding Contribution award winners

Industry News  |  26 April 2024

UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK announced the winners of the Outstanding Contribution awards at the Alliance’s 20th anniversary gala dinner event last night.

L-R: Zoe Lyons (Host), Dave Cadle (ENVY Post Production), Natascha Cadle (ENVY Post Production), Sara Bennett (Milk VFX), Amy Smith (Framestore), Oli Hyatt (Blue Zoo), Phil Attfield (NextGen Skills Academy), Neil Hatton (UK Screen Alliance) and Kate O’Connor (Animation UK).
Photo by David Jones Photography.

On Thursday, 25 April, UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK held an awards ceremony at the UK Screen Alliance 20th anniversary gala dinner, at Stationers’ Hall in London. As 2024 marks twenty years since the Alliance was established, the evening honoured the special anniversary and highlighted the outstanding achievements made in the industry over the recent years with an awards ceremony. The event also celebrated their more recent partnership with Animation UK and their collective achievements.

The Outstanding Contribution awards highlighted individuals who have gone above and beyond in their sectors across five categories: Outstanding Contribution to Visual Effects; Outstanding Contribution to Animation; Outstanding Contribution to Post-Production; Outstanding Contribution to Skills Development; and Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion. These awards – sponsored by Tysers Live, Simons Muirhead BurtonLucidLink and Percy & Warren – were presented to the winners by host Zoe Lyons (Live at the Apollo; Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins 2023). Through the well-deserved accolades, the industry celebrated their efforts and achievements.

Paul Hillier (Tysers), Sarah Bennett (Milk VFX) and Zoe Lyons.

In the Outstanding Contribution to Visual Effects category, sponsored by Tysers Live, Sara Bennett from Milk VFX won the award. The nominators noted Sara’s exceptional ability to seamlessly blend artistry and technology, to create awe-inspiring visual effects that enhance the storytelling process, and that as an Academy Award winner, Sara has been a huge champion for diversity in her company, as well as, an inspiration to the wider VFX community.

The award was presented by Paul Hillier, Director of Media, Film and TV at Tysers Live. The shortlisted nominees were Hayden Jones (Industrial Light & Magic), Jean-Claude Deguara (Milk VFX), and Jeremy Smith (Jellyfish Pictures).

It was a really lovely evening, very intimate with lots of friends here from various companies. It was nice to celebrate something in a time when it’s quite difficult in our industry.

It’s always nice to win something, but it’s never about the individual, it’s about teamwork. You’re only as good as the people you work with, so it’s a win for everybody.

Sara Bennett, Visual Effects Supervisor at Milk VFX
Tessa Laws (Percy & Warren), Oli Hyatt (Blue Zoo) and Zoe Lyons.

In the Outstanding Contribution to Animation category, sponsored by Percy & Warren, Oli Hyatt from Blue Zoo won the award. The category was tightly fought and showcased the exceptional depth of talent in the UK’s animation community. The nominators remarked that Oli’s bold and innovative voice has been an influential and disruptive force for good in animation and children’s education, not just in the UK, but across the world.

The award was presented by Tessa Laws, CEO of Percy & Warren. The shortlisted nominees were Kris Kelly (Enter Yes), Martin Pope and Michael Rose (Magic Light Pictures), and Ruth Fielding and Camilla Deakin (Lupus Films).

It’s nice to get everyone together, it’s so rare that we get the whole community in a room. The people I’m nominated with are all friends. We actually have worked together on different projects, so it’s nice to be nominated among them and I know how much they do for the industry as well. We’re one big family, so really this award is for everybody.

Oli Hyatt, Co-Founder and Director of Blue Zoo
John Claffey (Tysers), Natascha Cadle (ENVY), Dave Cadle (ENVY) and Zoe Lyons.

In the Outstanding Contribution to Post-Production category, sponsored by Tysers Live, Natascha Cadle and Dave Cadle from ENVY Post Production won the award. The award was presented by John Claffey, Managing Director of Tysers Live. This category was unique, as Natascha and Dave were unanimously nominated, further demonstrating their dedication and remarkable contribution to the sector. The nominators praised the duo for the way they continuously inspired the post landscape, through their high levels of customer service and devotion to the development of diverse talent through their own internal academy, which has launched the careers of hundreds of young people.

There are a lot of people you read about, and they are all here in the room. It’s quite cosy and nice. Neil needs recognition for what he does for UK Screen – I think he has done a great job. We’re very lucky to be part of an amazing industry.

The awards are a reflection of where we were, being a start-up, and I still call it a start-up, even after eighteen years. This is for the guys who originated the company, who took risks in employment and risks in investing in ENVY, which we couldn’t do ourselves. There are fifteen people who should be with us here now, who originated the company through their leap of faith and commitment. So this is for them, it’s been a great journey.

We’re all doing it as a collective and without this, we wouldn’t have an industry like ours.

Nastascha and Dave Cadle, Co-Founders of ENVY Post Production
Rupert Watson (LucidLink), Amy Smith (Framestore) and Zoe Lyons.

In the Outstanding Contribution to Skills Development category, sponsored by LucidLink, Amy Smith from Framestore won the award. The nominators highlighted Amy’s commitment as a leader in shaping the skills landscape and commended her for being a true ambassador for the sector in terms of outreach, to ensure that anyone, whatever their circumstances or background, could have an opportunity to enter, train and progress to a rewarding career.

The award was presented by Rupert Watson, Senior Director Sales for EMEA at LucidLink. The shortlisted nominees were Phil Attfield (NextGen Skills Academy), Rowan Bray (Clear Cut Group), and Tom Box (Blue Zoo).

It’s been wonderful this evening. I’ve met lots of people who I haven’t seen for a long time, and I’ve gotten to reconnect with some people who I met recently, like my fellow award winners.

Winning the award was really lovely, because it has been a decades’ worth of work, but it’s a bit like the Visual Effects Oscar, where it’s the Visual Effects Supervisor’s name on the Oscar, but actually, there are hundreds of people who have gone behind that win and that is exactly how I feel with my award. It’s not something I’ve done on my own, in fact, the other three nominees in my category have been absolutely crucial to that work, so really, we’ve all won it together.

Amy Smith, Global Director of Recruitment and Outreach at Framestore
Nick Miller (Simons Muirhead Burton), Phil Attfield (NextGen Skills Academy) and Zoe Lyons.

In the final category for the night, Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion, sponsored by Simons Muirhead Burton, Phil Attfield from NextGen Skills Academy won the award. This category was also closely fought, and the nominators praised how Phil has tirelessly worked towards implementing new pathways into the creative industries, to promote diversity and inclusion by breaking down the barriers that hinder disadvantaged groups.

The award was presented by Nick Miller, Co-Head of Film and TV at Simons Muirhead Burton. The shortlisted nominees were Alixe Lobato (Flying Duck Studio Lab), Louise Hussey (Industrial Light & Magic), and Simon Devereux (Framestore and ACCESS:VFX).

It’s been a really good vibe in the room, a lot of very happy people celebrating and doing good work. I feel a bit guilty winning the award, as there are a lot of other deserving people who could have won it, but like others have said, VFX is a team effort and without the work that everyone does, you don’t get anywhere.

Phil Attfield, Co-Founder of NextGen Skills Academy

The breadth of outstanding talent shown by the winners and nominees honoured tonight is truly breathtaking. Their contribution to our industry really shows that the UK is second to none when it comes to people with exceptional skill and commitment. It augers well for the future.

Neil Hatton, CEO of UK Screen Alliance

The gala dinner is an important opportunity to mark the significant strides made within animation sector, by the sector, showcasing the unwavering dedication of Animation UK activists and supporters. 

Oli Hyatt’s unflagging determination and bold vision, and as Founder of Animation UK, earning him the Outstanding Contribution to Animation award, epitomises the spirit driving our industry forward, alongside the strong field of all the outstanding winners and nominees. The evening is an opportunity reaffirm our commitment to fostering an environment of creativity, inclusivity, and progress within our brilliant sector with Animation UK, working within the UK Screen Alliance to propel animation to new heights of creativity, inclusivity and business success.

Kate O’Connor, Executive Chair of Animation UK

UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK would like to congratulate and thank all the winners and nominees for their continued dedication to improving the landscape of these sectors.

UK Screen Alliance SUPPORTERS