Animation Company Sixteen South Sell Series

Belfast-based animation studio launch mixed-media children's series Driftwood Bay with expectations of selling to over 100 countries

First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have helped to launch Driftwood Bay, a new £2.5 million animated children’s show created and produced by Belfast-based Sixteen South, which is expected to be sold to over 100 countries by the end of 2014.

Sixteen South is a twice Emmy-nominated and BAFTA award-winning children’s television producer, which has developed a number of hit shows in partnership with other global children’s entertainment companies.

Driftwood Bay has already been pre-sold to countries including the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Israel. It will air from spring 2014 and is being distributed globally by the Jim Henson Company, best known as the creators of The Muppets.

Sixteen South has retained 75 people from across the local creative sector to work specifically on Driftwood Bay over an 18-month period. 'Sixteen South is a talented, highly driven, and innovative company working with ease alongside major global names in children’s entertainment,' said the First Minister.

'Having already won more than 20 international creative and business awards, the launch of Driftwood Bay and the significant level of pre-sales in over 20 countries are a tremendous endorsement, not just of this local company but of the skills of Northern Ireland’s wider creative sector.

'I welcome the significant and repeated success of Northern Ireland companies in international markets. The creative industry is one of our most dynamic and fast growing sectors and one which Invest Northern Ireland is working closely with to support exports, jobs and the development of new technology.'

Driftwood Bay is a mixed-media animated show for 3 – 6-year-olds. In the programme, Driftwood Bay is an island that exists in the imagination of a little girl named Lily, who creates a world of adventure and friendship from different treasures she finds washed up on the beach.

Colin Williams, creative director of Sixteen South added: 'We are truly overwhelmed with the demand for and interest in Driftwood Bay from countries as far away as Japan and Korea. As a company, our core focus is on creating and producing unique and innovative IP, television that appeals to children all over the world, a truly global audience. 'We have a brilliant team of people and we’re thrilled to be producing this beautiful show right here in Belfast, our hometown.'

Sixteen South was established in 2008 and has produced a range of award-winning children's television for a global audience including Big and Small, Sesame Tree, Big City Park and 'parents choice' double Emmy nominee, Pajanimals.

Sixteen South has accessed support from Invest NI and NI Screen to assist with marketing, jobs and the development and production of a number of children’s animation series targeted at export markets.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: 'Sixteen South has established a reputation for excellence in the creative sector. Pajanimals was produced and filmed in Belfast and now airs in over 300 million homes globally – a phenomenal achievement, which should prove to other companies in the sector here that worldwide success is within reach.

'Significantly, Sixteen South’s success produces benefits for the local industry through the engagement of actors for the animated character’s voices and filming services to deliver the end product. More than 75 people are currently employed on the production of Driftwood Bay, which demonstrates the opportunities which innovative firms like Sixteen South can deliver to the wider business base.'