Tag Archives: Nick Wilson

AAN preps toon block in linear channel trial

The African Animation Network (AAN), which links various animation professionals and national associations across Africa, has unveiled plans for a linear channel.

Nick Wilson

The AAN will first roll out a one-hour weekly edutainment block across networks in Africa at the end of this year, said its founder and head of projects and content Nick Wilson.

The animation-focused programming block will be trialled for three months in partnership with, at present, around 11 partner broadcasters in Sub-Saharan Africa that cannot yet be named.

“These broadcasters have a total audience reach of around 85 million viewers, and we’re conservatively estimating we can engage 8.5 to 12 million kids,” Wilson said.

The ANN plans to secure investment to launch its own linear channel if the trial is successful.

“We’re pretty bullish that we will get further investment to be able to run or at least build out a programme block or a 24/7 linear channel,” Wilson added.

“We want to create a broadcast network across the continent, but we also want to work in partnership with the local broadcasters and assist them in building ecosystems. We do not want to be in competition with them.”

On the content the network would greenlight, Wilson said: “There are only a handful of TV series that have come out of Africa and there is not enough catalogue for us to run a 24/7 linear channel.

“We have relationships with various distributors, who have plugs that we could license into Africa. But ultimately, the idea is for us to build up our channel around a new production company.”

Following the launch of a broadcast network, Wilson said the AAN would look to roll out accompanying digital platforms.

“In our roadmap, we have already identified that streaming or SVoD services will be part of the project’s long-term future, and we will pivot to that when it becomes necessary,” he said.

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Annecy teams with Discomics to target Africa

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market (MIFA) has reunited with the African Animation Network (AAN) and Discop for its pan-African pitching competition.

Nick Wilson

The Annecy/MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde competition will this year expand its reach in Africa by also partnering with Discomics, which will ensure the competition takes place in three markets (Discop Abidjan, Zanzibar and Johannesburg) and three comic conventions.

These events are the ICON Comic & Gaming Convention, Nairobi Comic Convention (NAICCON) and Lagos Comic Convention (LCC). The grand finale will take place at Discomics Johannesburg.

“This expanded footprint is exciting because it allows us to reach unique animation talent from more territories and countries in Africa which ensures greater diversity and representation,” said Geraldine Bache, head of education and projects at MIFA.

“This embodies Animation du Monde’s core mandate of assisting in building talent in developing animation territories.”

Participating animators will be given a chance to pitch their content to media professionals at Discop, Abidjan (May 29-31); ICON CGC, Johannesburg (June 29-July 1); Discop Zanzibar (July 11-13), NAICCON in Nairobi (August 11-12) and LCC in Lagos (September 15).

Entries for the competition will open in Abidjan (April 11-May 11), Johannesburg (May 8-June 8), Zanzibar (May 20-June 20), Nairobi (August 11-12) and Lagos (July 24-August 24).

According to Nick Wilson, head of projects at AAN: “There’s going to be a lot of conversation around African animation at Discop. They’re allowing the African animation industry to market itself to the greater broadcast industry in Africa. That’s a massive spotlight.”

Two projects will be selected from each event to compete at the Grand Finale at Discomics Johannesburg (November 14-17). Participants who make it to the finale will be given an opportunity to compete at the Animation du Monde event in 2019 in France.

“Perhaps the biggest value for entrants who proceed to the Grand Finale is the Annecy/MIFA Animation du Monde Skills Programme, which includes pitching workshops, training sessions and one-on-one meetings with industry experts ahead of the Grand Finale. Last year, we saw a number of talents develop exponentially through this experience,” added Wilson.

The annual Annecy International Animation Film Festival, held in France, is one of the four international animated film festivals sponsored by the International Animated Film Association. This year’s edition will be held from June 11 to June 16.

Last year’s inaugural pan-African pitching competition saw two projects selected to represent Africa at Animation du Monde 2018: Mumue, a short film by Wendy Spinks and Clea Mallison (South Africa) and The Tree of Palimpsest, a TV series from Ingrid Agbo (Togo).

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