Triggerfish, E4D boost African animation

By Content Nigeria reporter
October 8, 2021

Kay Carmichael’s short film Troll Girl

South Africa-based animation studio Triggerfish is collaborating with a German-funded project to open up the African animation industry to school leavers, empower creatives and generate 200 jobs.

Triggerfish’s partnership with the Employment for Skills and Development in Africa (E4D) was launched at the Cape Town International Animation Festival, which took place last weekend.

It includes a free online course on editing for animation, which can be accessed on the Triggerfish Academy’s digital learning platform.

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.

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