With South Africa’s burgeoning toon biz starting to make waves abroad, the country welcomes the best in animation from around the world at the fourth edition of Kunjanimation, to be held Nov. 26-30 at Cape Town’s Labia Theater.
Recent years have seen promising signs for the local animation sector, which has begun to tap into the co-production market, and has hopes of positioning itself alongside established industries in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Triggerfish Studios, the country’s biggest success story to date, broke international box office records in 2012 for a South African film with “Adventures in Zambezia,” which took in $34 million in its foreign run. Meanwhile, Sunrise Prods.’ “Jungle Beat” is being distributed in more than 170 countries.
According to organizers, the event is as important for local cinephiles as it is for animators. “This is a rare chance for Cape Town audiences to experience world-class, award-winning animation not generated in big Hollywood studios,” says fest director Dianne Makings.
Fest honchos are hoping the event can help boost capacity in a country where much toon talent remains untapped. Along with a series of screenings of local and foreign animated features and shorts, Kunjanimation will include workshops with Pop the Culture, a content hub and talent incubator focused on building and promoting the South African animation and visual arts sectors.
The partnership, says Daniel Snaddon of Animation SA, which curates the fest, is a way to discover new talent, and give those who hold promise the tools to create content for the South African market.
“We’re still looking for our own John Lasseters, Nick Parks and Hayao Miyazakis, and … Pop the Culture is a great way to support young creatives,”
South African animation’s budding relationship with France will also be in the spotlight, with a French delegation in attendance, including reps from Imaginove Animation Cluster, the Emile Cohl Animation School and the Annecy Intl. Animated Film Market.
Their presence is a boon for locals looking to learn from the French industry, says Makings, and at the same time will provide a showcase for South Africa to prove it’s an attractive country to partner with for co-productions.
“South Africa not only has strong creative content producers, we have excellent technical schools that are building the next generation of animators,” Makings says.
The collaboration, according to Snaddon, will boost the prospects of South African animators looking to access the global marketplace.
“(It’s) a platform to showcase their work,” Snaddon says, “a chance to meet other professionals and build their networks, and a touchstone to connect with the rest of the world of animation and really feel they are a part of it.”