Devon and Cornwall get one creative company each in Creative England’s CE50 for 2018, and join five others in the South West on the list of the ‘best up-and-coming disruptors and innovators’.
‘Spanning the film and TV, gaming and digital media industries, the CE50 are chosen for their talent, ingenuity and ability to turn a bright idea into a commercial success,’ says the blurb.
Previous CE50 have gone on to receive BAFTA nominations, opened international offices, revolutionised the way Western products are sold to the Chinese market, and received the prestigious Nora Ephron prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.
This year’s cohort highlights the move towards technology and creativity merging to create meaningful solutions to real-world problems, with many of the companies championing diversity, and giving a platform to unheard voices.
Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative England, told D&CFilm: “The people and businesses featured in this year’s CE50 are at the very forefront of creativity.
‘Through their work -be it games, film or TV productions, interactive platforms or immersive experiences -they produce the original ideas, the entertaining content and the innovations which make this country truly world-leading in the creative industries.
‘According to the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), the UK creative sector contributes £92 billion to the UK economy, yet despite the fact that the creative industries are growing more rapidly than other sectors in 9 out of every 10 locations in the UK, they still struggle to get finance.
‘Creative England exists to fill the access to finance gap and continues to provide a combination of tailored investment and support to help creative businesses develop new business models, deliver products and services and take risks on innovation.”
Here’s a list of the South West firms that have been singled out.
Animation, CGI and VFX company Engine House VFX, based in Redruth, has worked on incredible and innovative campaigns for a host of international clients, including beautifully animated online book covers for Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch.
In 2017, Engine House created a scientifically accurate virtual reality tour of six planets for the University of Exeter in partnership with We The Curious. The 360 degree videos transport the viewer, creating the impression of standing on another planet. The video has been featured as number 1 on YouTube’s own VR channel and has already accumulated more than 1 million views
Independent production company Smoking Bear was founded by journalists turned filmmakers Rubika Shah and Ed Gibbs.
Their films have screened at Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, Hot Docs, Tel Aviv, Sheffield, BFI London and Sydney. Specialising in arts and music-led documentaries, their work includes the critically acclaimed Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under, which was shortlisted for a Grierson Award and director Rubika Shah was named Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2017.
The upcoming White Riot, which will explore how punk influenced politics in late-1970s Britain, is based on Shah’s short White Riot: London, which saw success at festivals including Berlin, Tel Aviv and Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Duel is a customer advocacy marketing platform, which collects authentic and brand safe user-generated content. The platform engages and rewards customers to create content, and then enables brands to build their own library of customer generated visual content to use across their products. It is the only platform to automate Customer Advocacy Marketing.
Duel has shown great progress following investment from Creative England in January 2017, growing its client base to include WWF, NBC Universal, Mumsnet and Visit England.
Landmrk, a company that span out of 2017 CE50 company Strange Thoughts, is a truly exciting and innovative product which has achieved significant growth in the last 12 months.
A location-based experiences platform, Landmrk gives marketers the ability to place digital content into physical locations, anywhere in the world in real time, and then reward customers for going to those locations.
It has taken advantage of technological advances to revolutionise how consumers can engage with brands and their content, creating a more tangible and meaningful experience. Landmrk has secured contracts with brands such as Lynx, who launched the Anthony Joshua range on the platform using hotspots nationwide, and Shakira, who launched her new album El Dorado on the platform.
Knowle West Media Centre is doing exceptional work within its local community, supporting individuals and communities to get the most out of digital technologies and the arts.
The centre works on projects which benefit every area of the community, from after-school groups to teaching volunteers digital skills, with work benefitting school children to the over 60s.
Founded on a belief that bringing together technology and the arts solves major problems and generate exciting and innovative ideas, Knowle West Media Centre is working on a community level to drive real change.
Quarter Circle Games is a small, dedicated independent games studio based in Bournemouth. Its first game, The Peterson Case, was created with support from Creative England’s Greenshoots programme and is set to release soon following an overwhelmingly positive response to its initial reveal on a Steam Greenlight page.
Since releasing the first trailer, it has received over 5 million views. An innovative horror game, The Peterson Case combines fear with a compelling story, stunning and artistic visuals to build hype and momentum with its audience.
Playing through the eyes of Detective Franklin Reinhardt in 1979, the audience is drawn in through atmospheric horror, suspenseful narrative, and engaging puzzles in what promises to be a popular release within the genre.
Formed in 2014, SaaS start-up Thanksbox is revolutionising employee engagement with a fresh approach to workplace communication. By taking existing channels and making them smarter via a suite of tools, ThanksBox is able to surface the things that really matter to employees, making work a better place to be.
Over the last 12 months, Thanksbox has expanded its team and gained further client traction with businesses from a range of sectors. Recent clients include; Sky, Gartner, Atlas Hotels, Nuffield Health, Royal United Hospital Bath, William Hill & Horwich Farrelly. The company is now raising finance to scale and expand internationally.
For the full list of CE50, visit the Creative England website here.