Animation alumni create must-see kids TV

Griffith Film School animation alumni have created a hit new series for the ABC and BBC Worldwide, providing work for scores of young animation graduates in Brisbane.

Bluey, which follows the adventures of an adorable Blue Heeler pup, premiered onABC Kids this week.

Griffith Film School alumnus Joe Brumm, who worked on BAFTA-award winning kids show Charlie and Lola, created Bluey after watching his daughters at play.

“It’s fascinating seeing how much they learn from devising and playing their own games. Bluey is a celebration of the role imaginative play has in shaping healthy kids,” he said.

As creator and showrunner, Joe wanted to ground the universal themes of family and fun in a recognisably Australian setting.

“We are making this series right here in Brisbane with local animators and actors, so I wanted that reflected on screen- we’ve included Queenslanders, hilly suburban streets, backyard swimming pools,” he said.

Joe graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Animation (Honours) and worked in London for a decade before returning home and establishing his own production company, Studio Joho.

For Bluey, Joe teamed up with Ludo Studio – co-founded in 2012 by fellow Griffith Film School alumnus Daley Pearson, who helped create the Emmy-award winning kids series Doodles.

Ludo’s ethos is simple: ‘create locally, screen globally’. This is evident in the amount of local talent working behind the scenes – including more than 20 Griffith Film School animation graduates.

Daley, who is Executive Producer on Bluey, said the team had done an “fantastic job”.

“Joe and more than 40 Queensland animators, designers, sound and production talent are doing an incredible job,” he said.

“These artists have taken everything beautiful about Brisbane and put it on the screen to make a truly Australian show.”

Bachelor of Animation graduate Beth Harvey is one of the lead animators on the project and said the series was one of several animation hits produced in Brisbane.

“I hope that this helps put Brisbane on the world map for animation,” she said.

Both Beth and fellow Griffith animation graduate Claire Renton had to move to London to find work when they graduated.

“I think a lot of animators get used to having to move and go where the work is, so to have it happen in your home town … it’s really great,” Ms Renton said.

“On the job experience is key, and on a production like this you get to have a taste of everything.”

Griffith Film School Animation Program director Dr Peter Moyes said local graduates made up more than half of the workforce on Bluey.

“Fifty per cent of people employed on this project are new graduates from Griffith Film School,” he said.

“For a long time there were only a couple of animation studios in Brisbane, but there has been a real upsurge in the industry, with a dedicated children’s channel on the ABC and streaming services like Netflix and Stan.

“The course at GFS attracts people who have a genuine desire to go into this industry, and they are surrounded by other people who feel the same.

“It’s a bonus that people can stay in Brisbane and find meaningful work in the industry.”

Bluey is currently screening on ABC KIDS and ABC KIDS iview, followed by international broadcast on BBC.