×

Cape Town Animation Festival Lays Out Global Ambitions for African Industry

The sixth edition of the Cape Town Intl. Animation Festival (CTIAF) kicks off Friday, March 3, in South Africa, with the host nation offering a three-day showcase of some of the top toons and animators from around the world.

Along with screenings and a full slate of workshops and professional events, the festival hopes to shine a spotlight on the growing strength of the South African industry, including among the programming highlights the African premiere of “Revolting Rhymes,” the second collaboration between the U.K.’s Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures and South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation Studios.

Coming on the heels of its BBC One premiere last Christmas, the animated special points to an industry that has already “taken the next step” on the global stage, says fest director Dianne Makings.

South African animators have been enjoying increasing recognition abroad. Last year at the Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival, the country came away with a host of honors, including the prestigious Cristal award for best TV production for Triggerfish and Magic Light’s 2015 collaboration, “Stick Man.” Meanwhile, France’s Folimage and South Africa’s Bugbox Animation announced the first animation co-production between the two countries, “Musi & Cuckoo.”

According to Makings, the industry’s success in Annecy has “given everyone the confidence to know that we can compete,” adding, “and not only that we can compete: We can win.”

Boosting capacity is now the biggest challenge for South African animators eager to establish a pipeline of large-scale projects. With a robust industry program at this year’s festival, organizers in Cape Town are calling on some of the leading names in global animation “to help us with the discussion of how to create a sustainable business,” says Makings.

Special guests will include Farnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz, creator of Nickelodeon’s “Shimmer and Shine”; producer Ivan Rouveure of France’s Les Armateurs; Shuzo John Shiota, president and CEO of Japan’s Polygon Pictures; and Firdaus Kharas, the celebrated humanitarian and founder of Canada’s award-winning production house, Chocolate Moose Media.

Toon Boom, the Montreal-based animation software company, will also be offering an advanced master class to select participants.

While the festival’s roster reflects the global ambitions of local bizzers, many South African animators are just as eager to reach out to their neighbors across the continent, with the country increasingly positioning itself as a bridge between African animators and the rest of the world.

Two years ago, Triggerfish launched an ambitious pan-African initiative, the Story Lab, backed by South Africa’s Dept. of Trade and Industry and the Walt Disney Co., which netted four projects currently negotiating international deals. Last fall, Turner joined forces with industry body Animation SA to help find and promote the continent’s top toon talent.

The latest effort comes in the form of the African Animation Network, what Nick Wilson, outgoing chair of the export missions committee of Animation SA, describes as “an open platform for African animation professionals” that will help animation industries across the continent to develop skills, boost capacity, seek out investment opportunities, and find ways to reach new audiences.

Already the network has announced a major success with the coming launch of a mobile VOD platform offering the best of African animation via an exclusive deal with MTN, Africa’s largest cell phone provider. On Friday in Cape Town, Veronique Encrenaz, head of special projects at Annecy, confirmed the festival’s support for the network through 2018.

Buoyed by what he describes as “significant investment” in animation across the continent, such as the announcement last fall that Toon Boom will train 3,000 animators in Nigeria, Wilson sees a bright future for an industry coming into its own.

“I think within a five- to 10-year timeframe, we’ll be having a very different conversation,” he says.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Woody Allen

    Woody Allen's 'A Rainy Day in New York' to Open Deauville Film Festival

    After being shelved by Amazon Studios in the U.S., Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” will be opening the 45th edition of the Deauville American Film Festival in France this fall. “A Rainy Day in New York,” which stars Timotheé Chalamet and Elle Fanning, will be the 8th film by Allen to play [...]

  • Phyllis Nagy

    Writers Guild Candidate Phyllis Nagy Warns of Risks to Residuals (EXCLUSIVE)

    Phyllis Nagy, who is challenging Writers Guild of America West President David Goodman, has warned that guild leaders are endangering future residuals. Nagy, in a message posted Wednesday on her Writers Forward Together site, said residual payments are the most important issue the WGA faces during upcoming negotiations on a successor deal to the current master [...]

  • Geneva Wasserman

    Condé Nast Taps Film Veteran Geneva Wasserman as SVP of Motion Pictures

    Condé Nast Entertainment hired Geneva Wasserman as senior vice president of motion pictures, overseeing development of the media company’s slate of feature film properties. Wasserman, a nearly 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry, most recently served as co-founder and executive producer of production firm Project Z Entertainment. She takes over the role at CNE after [...]

  • Annabelle Wallis'The Loudest Voice' TV show

    James Wan's New Horror Film Casts 'Loudest Voice' Star Annabelle Wallis (EXCLUSIVE)

    Annabelle Wallis, who most recently appeared in Showtime’s Roger Ailes miniseries “The Loudest Voice,” has been tapped to star in James Wan’s top secret horror project, sources tell Variety. Wan is tackling the movie this fall before he jumps into prep on the “Aquaman” sequel with Jason Momoa at the top of 2020. Plot details [...]

  • New York Festival Sets Documentaries on

    New York Film Festival Sets Documentaries on Merce Cunningham, Roy Cohn

    Films on Merce Cunningham, Roy Cohn and Oliver Sacks are among the notable titles set for the Spotlight on Documentary lineup at the 57th New York Film Festival. Alla Kovgan’s “Cunningham 3D” centers on dancer and choreographer Cunningham, who was at the forefront of American modern dance for half a century. The Cohn documentary “Bully. [...]

  • CineLink Work in Progress Provides Step

    CineLink Work in Progress Provides Step Onto International Stage

    The Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink Work in Progress section has become a major venue for filmmakers from Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa – this year it saw nearly 70 submissions, the most in the past decade. The competitive program boasts a large number of projects that have gone on to achieve major [...]

  • System Crasher

    Oscars: Germany Selects 'System Crasher' for International Feature Film Award

    Germany has chosen Nora Fingscheidt’s “System Crasher” as its entry for the newly re-branded International Feature Film award at the 92nd Academy Awards, it was announced Wednesday by promotional body German Films. Produced by Kineo Filmproduktion and Weydemann Bros, the film won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, where it received its world premiere [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content