South African/British animated children’s film The Snail & The Whale has won the Annie Award for Best Special Production.
The Annie Awards recognise excellence in animation and are organised by ASIFA-Hollywood, the LA branch of the International Animated Film Association. This year’s ceremony was held online on April 16.
The Snail & the Whale is based on the 2003 picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the duo behind global hit The Gruffalo. It tells the story of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale.
Described as a joyous and empowering story about the natural wonders of the world and discovering that everyone can make a difference, no matter how small they are, the 27-minute film was directed by film producer Max Lang and South Africa’s Daniel Snaddon. It was produced by UK-based Magic Light Pictures in association with Triggerfish Animation of Cape Town.
It was voiced by a British cast including Sally Hawkins (Paddington, The Shape of Water), Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey, The Trip), Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show) and the late Dame Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones, Victoria).
Snaddon said: “For The Snail & The Whale to be recognised by the International Animated Film Association is a huge thrill for all of us.
“On behalf of the Triggerfish team, a huge thanks to Magic Light Pictures for entrusting us with this very special project, and to Max Lang for his wonderful vision and partnership in making this film. I’d also personally like to thank the partners at Triggerfish and our world-class team of animation artists. They are an exceptional group and it’s such a privilege to make films with them.”
Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest added: “Animation is a booming industry worldwide, so we hope this award inspires the next generation of animators in South Africa to follow their dreams into the industry, knowing it’s possible for a child raised in the Lowveld, like Dan, to go on to win one of the world’s top animation prizes.”
The Snail & The Whale currently streams on MultiChoice SVoD platform Showmax across most of Africa. As well as being shortlisted for an Oscar, it has won eight other international awards at the likes of the British Animation Awards, Cartoons on the Bay, the New York International Children’s Film Festival, The Venice TV Awards and the BANFF Rockie Awards.
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video, said: “We’re delighted to see increased international recognition of what we’ve known for a while: that the South African filmmakers on Showmax can compete with the best in the world.”