South African Animators Ride Annecy Success to New Projects

With the eyes of the animation world on the south of France, where the Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival and Market wrapped June 18, South Africa built on its growing reputation as an emerging hub for dynamic animation.

Triggerfish Animation Studios scooped the Cristal award for best TV production for “Stick Man,” which was produced by Britain’s Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures and animated by the Cape Town-based studio, while Naomi van Niekerk’s powder animation, “‘n Gewone Blou Maandagoggend,” won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film.

Animator Clea Mallinson also won a residency at Vendome’s Ciclic Animation, with her animated short concept, “Fairy Wheels,” earning honors during the MIFA Animation Du Monde Pitch sessions.

“This success is a testimony to the caliber of South African studios and the value of our presence at Annecy,” says Joy Mawela, head of production and development at South Africa’s National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF).

It was a busy week for local animators in Annecy, where France’s Folimage and South Africa’s Bugbox Animation also announced the first animation co-production between the two countries, “Musi & Cuckoo,” a 2D children’s TV series.

Interest was reportedly strong as well for “Anansi,” an urban epic fantasy series produced by South Africa’s Diprente, about a young boy who discover he’s the reincarnation of the ancient African spider god. Diprente is working with Copenhagen-based sales agent Ink Global to rep the series and expects to go into production in early 2017.

With South African animators making it clear they belong on the global stage, Diprente’s John Volmink says the challenge now is to establish a steady workflow of projects—an indicator to foreign investors that the industry is thinking big.

“We always have to be in development,” he says. “What’s the next idea?”

According to Wendy Spinks, director of the board of industry group Animation SA and CEO of Zeropoint Studios, South Africa “has the clear potential to establish itself as a top animation territory,” with highly skilled animators able to deliver world-class content at competitive prices. The country also boasts local IP that is, she says, “ripe for investment.

“My hope is now we will look to supporting a production pipeline…to work on creating capacity in SA,” she adds.

As the industry grows, it will also open doors for fresh voices to emerge. One example is “Squeers,” a satirical 2D animated series about two gay squirrels looking for love and happiness in Cape Town, which is currently in development.

For Spinks, who is the series’ creative producer and e.p., the fact that a series like “Squeers” could even be conceived in South Africa is a sign of the industry’s maturity.

“I do think as an industry we are…finding a relevant voice and unique stories, but also telling them in a contemporary, universal way,” she says.

Perhaps a bigger challenge is how to transform what “traditionally has been a very white space,” according to Thandeka Zwana, of the NFVF.

“In terms of  the artistic talent, there are black animators out there,” she says. “What we need is the black ownership…that is going to create the opportunities for the black talent that is out there.

“That’s where we need to start this whole transformation process.”

More Film

  • Female-Led and LGBTQ Narratives Win Big

    Female-Led and LGBTQ Narratives Win Big At Durban FilmMart Awards

    DURBAN–Female-driven narratives and daring portraits of queer culture around the continent were the big winners at this year’s Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, which handed out awards at a ceremony Monday night at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel. Among the prize-winners were the story of a Zimbabwean woman [...]

  • Oscar Nominations Reactions Phyllis Nagy

    Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy Runs for Writers Guild Presidency, Citing Agency Stalemate

    Oscar-nominated screenwriter Phyllis Nagy is challenging Writers Guild of America West’s incumbent president David Goodman, citing his handling of the bitter stalemate between the WGA and Hollywood agents. Nagy announced her candidacy online Monday night, a day before the deadline for filing. She made the announcement  in a private online group as part of Writers for [...]

  • Klaudia-Reynicke

    Locarno: Summerside Picks Up ‘Love Me Tender’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rome-based Summerside Intl. has acquired international sales rights to Klaudia Reynicke’s “Love Me Tender.” The second feature from Peru-born and Switzerland-based filmmaker will receive its world premiere at the Locarno Festival in its Filmmakers of the Present competition, which focuses on first and second features. Summerside Intl. is the world sales agent, excluding and Lichtenstein [...]

  • Elsie Fisher and Bo Burnham2019 Writers

    Writers Guild Announces 2020 Awards Show Date

    The 72nd Annual Writers Guild Awards will take place in coinciding ceremonies in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton and the Edison Ballroom in New York on Feb. 1, the Writers Guild of America announced. The WGA will begin voting in November and will reveal this year’s TV nominees Dec. 5 and film Jan. 6. [...]

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content