The 40th Annecy International Animated Film festival – Annecy/MIFA for short, cos that’s quite a mouthful – was recently held. Annecy is the world’s most prestigious event for the animation industry and little ol’ South Africa did pretty well. Triggerfish’s Stick Man, a TV Special they produced which aired on BBC 1 at Christmas, walked away with the overall Cristal for best TV Production.
This is an amazing achievement, and there were several more South African winners during the week at Annecy. I won’t name them all because let’s be honest, you’re probably going to skip that paragraph if I do, but the point is that South Africa is starting to break into the international animation game in a big way, and there is an abundance of talent and opportunity out there waiting for us. We have such a rich culture and experiences to draw on and spur our creativity, and we need to take advantage of it.
Such an example of this is Kariba, an impeccably illustrated graphic novel by The Blue Forest Collective. It started out as an animated 2D teaser for a feature film, which is still in the works. The teaser garnered a ton of attention and praise, and I can personally say, really inspired me and made me totes jelly. I would be ecstatic to one day have the opportunity to contribute to something as aesthetically beautiful and conceptually riveting, and the people involved in the creation of Kariba must be hellava chuffed with themselves.
The story is based around the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi river. It happens from the perspective of the daughter of Nyami-Nyami the river spirit, and examines her friendship with the dam builder’s son, and the problems the dam causes Nyami-Nyami’s family. The graphic novel was fully funded on Kickstarter in a very short time, and has an immense amount of interest shown in it from around the world. I suggest you do yourselves a favour and watch the teaser – Kariba Teaser (Official), on Youtube.
African folklore and mythology is incredibly rich and compelling and so different from the vanilla, run-of-the-mill stories we see so often in animated, and other, work. We truly do have an opportunity to break into the market with animated stories that are original and engaging, and visuals that are fresh. We have something to offer that other countries don’t. I’m very excited to be part of an industry that is growing at such an accelerated rate and starting to make waves internationally with creative content that is unique only to us.