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DIVERSITY EQUALITY INCLUSION (SME)

WINNER: PAPER OWL FILMS

Grainne McGuinness, Gavin Halpin, Claire Handley and Niamh McLaughlin from Paper Owl Films are presented with the ‘Best Diversity, Equality and Inclusion - SME’ Award by Gary McDonald, business editor of The Irish News

Mission at Paper Owl Films is to get children ‘thinking differently’

PAPER Owl Films is a family run studio, creating award winning content for young audiences all over the world, with its mission to get children ‘thinking differently’.

The company, which has a staff of 40, collaborates with broadcasters and distributors around the world.

Its impressive client list includes CBeebies, RTÉJr, Netflix, NRK, SVT, Abu Dhabi Media Company, Majid T, J E&Ma, ABC, Universal Kids, Radio Television, YLE, Fox/NatGeo Kids , CBC, Czech TV, TenCent, Mango TV, Shanghai Senyu Media, True Vision, TVE, RTP, Vodaphone Greece, RTS, S4C, and TV Brazil.

Diversity and inclusion is key to the success of the Paper Owl mission. Its content is about children seeing themselves reflected on screen and the company needs a diverse range of individuals to make this happen.

It believes that good management pulling different people and roles together, enables it to make award-winning content.

“We have talented people working effectively which is the key to our success. We are proud that these people represent a range of views and perspectives, which is essential to meeting the needs of all kinds of audiences worldwide,” the company says in its awards submission.

“Our hit show Pablo airs globally and has won awards for its portrayal of a smart autistic character. The key to Pablo’s success is the storytelling.

“Head writer Andrew Brenner helped us find autistic creatives, and we listened to their stories and mentored them to write the series. This created opportunities for new neuro-diverse talent, where none previously existed.”

As well as creating award-winning content for young audiences all over the world, its mission is to get children thinking differently. Being driven by diversity and inclusion permeates throughout its incredible team

Being driven by diversity and inclusion extends beyond the screen and its team and Paper Owl is proud to be a certified ‘Disability Confident’ employer.

This means it is committed to ensuring its recruitment process is inclusive and accessible, communicating and promoting vacancies, offering an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria, anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments as required, supporting any existing employee who acquires a disability or long term health condition, enabling them to stay in work and at least one activity that will make a difference for disabled people.

The Paper Owl commitment to the animation sector in Northern Ireland speaks to a passion for growing and nurturing a diverse creative industry, allowing experienced talent to be attracted inward and for young talent to grow and craft their talents at home.

Irish language production is in the company DNA, and it is passionate about nurturing new talent, which has seen it grow careers in Irish language production for TG4, RTÉ & BBC Gaeilge.

So many diverse people in a wide range of roles requires good management and constantly striving for improvement. Meeting the challenges and opportunities of and ever-changing industry needs the range of perspectives of a diverse team and the management to hone those perspectives into shared success.