Animators from Africa will be out in force at the 30th edition of the MipJunior conference this weekend.
The pre-Mipcom international screenings and coproduction market, held in Cannes, France, on October 15-16, will bring together the most influential producers, distributors and buyers of kids’ and family programming.
African animators will take part in pitching sessions as well as engage in discussions related to business opportunities, partnerships and collaborations.
Among the animated projects heading to market are Rorisang & the Gurlz from South African company Cabblow Studios. It is one of the project pitch finalists in the teen category.
The toon follows a girl who is on a quest to start an Afropop band with her group of besties at her conservative all-girls high school, but standing in their way is their strict choir mistress.
In May, Rorisang & The Gurlz was selected for the Stories x Women initiative from the Women in Animation organisation.
This is a programme hosted by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations, sponsored by Disney and supported by Triggerfish. It was also pitched at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market in June.
Lagos-based studio Basement Animation will also attend MipJunior, to discuss its new project Tech Timi Out, which is still in development.
Tech Timi Out (52×11’) is a comedy-adventure series for kids aged 6-10 that focuses on kids saving the world one invention at a time.
MipJunior 2022 will offer participants the opportunity to discover the latest kids content from around the world, view screenings and network with industry peers.
Global streamer Netflix will debut South Africa-produced animated movie Seal Team on December 31.
Produced by South Africa-based animation studio Triggerfish, Seal Team follows a group of seals who band together to take on the gang of sharks that have been terrorising their neighbourhood. However, the so-called Seal Team are not prepared for the mission on which they’re about to embark, and chaos ensues.
The movie is directed by Greig Cameron, and co-directed by Kane Croudace. The voice cast includes South African actors Sharlto Copley (District 9) and John Kani (Black Panther), plus Patrick Warburton, JK Simmons, Kristen Schaal and Dolph Lundgren.
“Just announced our third feature film Seal Team will be released on Netflix in most countries,” said Triggerfish on Instagram. “Well done to the fantastic crew and cast who worked on this crazy action-adventure film. Go Seal Team.”
Seal Team’s availability on Netflix will vary from region to region. Other projects coming to Netflix from Triggerfish include new Shondaland animated series Mama K’s Team 4.
In addition, the partnership has launched a competition inviting 18- to 35-year-olds to submit a 10-second animation. The winner will receive a Wacom One graphics tablet and a 30-minute one-on-one session with Mike Buckland, head of production at Triggerfish. The deadline for entries is midnight on November 14 this year. Click here for more information.
The Triggerfish-E4D partnership has also introduced workshops on the making of Kay Carmichael’s debut short film Troll Girl, which was produced by her production company Giantslayer Studios alongside Triggerfish. It will equally capture the learnings from both Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire and the Story Artist Lab, which will shape future modules on the free Triggerfish Academy digital learning platform, among other initiatives.
According to Triggerfish foundation director Carina Lücke, there’s never been a better time to be an animator in Africa. “While so many businesses have been taking strain during the pandemic, the animation industry in Africa has been exploding,” she said.
“Among other recent breakthroughs for the African animation industry, Disney has ordered Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, Kiya, Iwájú, and Kiff; Netflix is in production on Mama K’s Team 4; Cartoon Network is airing My Cartoon Friend and has greenlit Garbage Boy and Trash Can; and YouTube has renewed Super Sema for a second season.”
Gavin Watson, team leader for E4D, said the project had identified animation as an industry sector that is attractive to young people and is growing fast, adding: “The opportunities for animation extend outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality.”
Colin Payne, CEO of the Triggerfish Academy, said: “We want to remove the gap between animation training and the animation industry, so that our training is by industry experts and aimed at skills gaps identified by industry. In the past, animation had a high barrier to entry but, through free online training, we are opening up access to both skills development and the industry itself. We want to help build a diverse industry to tell their stories to the world.”
In June this year, Triggerfish received the Mifa Animation Industry Award at the Annecy International Animation Festival. The company was also announced as the lead producer on Disney+ original animated anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.
Other Triggerfish initiatives include sponsoring 20 bursaries for The Animation School with MICT SETA for 2021; sponsoring the 2021 Women in Animation World Summit; and running the Mama K’s Team 4 all-female writers lab with Netflix and the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company, which led to Mama K’s Team 4 being sold to Netflix and Kiya to Disney.
Disney EMEA has commissioned two animated kids’ shows from Africa, the company revealed at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival last week.
Speaking during an online presentation at the virtual edition of the festival, Orion Ross, Disney EMEA’s VP of original programming, animation, media networks Europe and Africa, announced Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, a 10-part sci-fi anthology series for Disney+, and musical comedy series Kiff for Disney Channel.
Executive produced by Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire will feature films from Ahmed Teilab (Egypt); Simangaliso ‘Panda’ Sibaya and Malcolm Wope (South Africa); Terence Maluleke and Isaac Mogajane (South Africa); Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya); and Shofela Coker (Nigeria).
Nthato Mokgata and Terence Neale (South Africa); Pious Nyenyewa and Tafadzwa Hove (Zimbabwe); Tshepo Moche (South Africa); Raymond Malinga (Uganda); and Lesego Vorster (South Africa) will also contribute to the series.
Each film will be roughly 10 minutes long and together will comprise a feature-length anthology of original animation that will be released on Disney+ around the world in late 2022.
South African studio Triggerfish will serve as the lead producer on the anthology, which will launch on Disney+ globally in late 2022. Tendayi Nyeke and Anthony Silverston will be the supervising producers.
“Tapping into the global fascination with Afrofuturism, which was turbocharged by Marvel’s Black Panther, and drawing inspiration from the continent’s rich history and diverse cultures, each 10-minute film presents a wildly entertaining mix of science-fiction, fantasy, future tech, aliens, spirits, gods and monsters, with plenty of action and adrenaline for fans of all ages,” Ross said.
Kiff, meanwhile, is a musical comedy animated series about a “very intense” squirrel and her rabbit best friend. Set in the bustling mountains, where animals and magical creatures live together in harmony, the series sees the duo take the town by storm with their endless adventures and zest for life. Each half-hour episode, comprising two 11-minute stories, will include a new original song.
Developed and produced by Disney Animation in LA, Kiff comes from South African creators and exec producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal. Kent Osborne serves as coproducer and story editor on the show, which is slated to premiere in 2023.
African animation prodcos Triggerfish, Basement Animation and Arobase Studio have unveiled a series of new projects on the opening day of MipJunior in Cannes.
South African studio Triggerfish has eight new projects in the works – four feature films and four TV series. The company is working to secure partnerships and greenlight its upcoming series.
The South African prodco also creates animated content for the gaming market, and producer Vanessa Ann Sinden revealed that the firm channels its profits from this to help fund upcoming TV and feature-length projects.
Additionally, Triggerfish will be establishing a Director’s Lab initiative in the coming year in order to train local talent and foster new directors of animated content. Sinden mentioned the Lab will focus on bringing through black, female talent in order to address issues of diversity. Triggerfish previously set up a Story Lab and Writers Lab.
Nigerian animation studio Basement Animation presented two new original projects, Adefellas and Tech Timi Out, both 26×11’. The new series are aimed at six- to 11-year-olds and keep Nigeria and Nigerian issues at the core of the stories.
The company’s creative director and producer, Mbuotidem Johnson, said the two projects are currently in development and are seeking to secure copro partnerships and distribution deals.
Meanwhile, the Ivorian animation studio Arobase Studio revealed that a second season of TV5 Monde-backed series Kassa the Messenger is currently in production.
The French-language series follows a grandfather and grandson duo as they learn about local culture as they explore the country with their pet dog.
On top of that, two additional series are also in development and seeking production partnerships and distribution. The series are The Queen and The Successor, and Tamia the Explorer.