Animation
Ng’endo Mukii’s Enkai, from Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, now streaming on Disney+. Photo Credit: TriggerFish

Entertainment in Africa is on the rise and animation is having a breakthrough year, seeing the development of relatable content for children.

 

South Africa (23 August 2023) – In 2015, South African animation studio Triggerfish launched a pan-African talent search for animated films and series. Supported by The Walt Disney Company, The Triggerfish Story Lab had nearly 1 400 entries from across the continent.

Fast forward eight years, and all of the Triggerfish Story Lab’s TV series winners have major animated series out this year. Marc Dey and Kelly Dillon are co-creators of the preschool series Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes on Disney Junior and Lucy Heavens is co-creator of Kiff on Disney Channel. Both shows debuted in the USA in March 2023 and will premiere across the continent soon, with Kiff debuting on Disney Channel (DStv Channel 303) on 21 August 2023 and Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes on Disney Junior (DStv Channel 309) from 4 September 2023.

Lesego Vorster’s You Give Me Heart, from Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, now streaming on Disney+

Malenga Mulendema’s Zambian teen superhero series Supa Team 4 premiered on 20 July 2023 as Netflix’s first original animated series from Africa and is currently streaming to 238 million subscribers in more than 190 countries around the world. And Mike Scott is co-creator of a series launching soon across the continent on African streamer Showmax, produced by Braintrust and Mind’s Eye Creative.

“Talent is everywhere; opportunity isn’t,” says Triggerfish creative director Anthony Silverston. “So when you’re the first to open the door, there’s a backlog of talent queuing up.”

2023 is becoming a breakthrough year for African animation. In addition to helping produce Supa Team 4 and Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes, Triggerfish is the lead studio on the African sci-fi anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire and produced Aau’s Song, the final short film in Lucasfilms’ Star Wars: Visions Volume II.

Animation
Aau’s Song, from Star Wars: Visions Volume II, , now streaming on Disney+

Both anthologies are now streaming on Disney+ – with rare 100% critics’ ratings on Rotten Tomatoes as two of the most acclaimed animation series of 2023 so far. Collider hailed Kizazi Moto as “one of the best-animated shows of the last decade,” while Aau’s Song was ranked as “the best episode” of Star Wars: Visions Volume II by Screenrant and described as “gorgeous” by everyone from Empire to Polygon, who called it “a perfect note to end the season on”.

Next up, Kizazi Moto (photo as title image) will screen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) across Africa, with a double bill of films broadcast at 17:00 CAT each weekday from 28 August – 1 September 2023 and 5-film marathons airing at 15:15 CAT on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September 2023 respectively.

Malenga Mulendema’s Supa Team 4, now streaming on Netflix

The team at Triggerfish are not the only African animators having a good year either. Directed by Triggerfish alumni Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman, the Julia Donaldson-Axel Scheffler adaptation Superworm won Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie at the 2023 Kidscreen Awards.

Triggerfish alumni Daniel Snaddon and Samantha Cutler directed The Smeds and The Smoos, which won the Audience Award for 3-6-year-olds at New York International Children’s Festival and Best Animation at the BANFF Rockie Awards this year.

Cartoon Network has just released its first Nigerian animation, Ridwan Moshood’s Garbage Boy and Trash Can. On YouTube, OmoBerry topped 100 million views and Sunrise’s Jungle Beat reached 10 million subscribers.

Two South Africans, Triggerfish alumnus Mogau Kekana and Leroy Le Roux, were among the co-directors responsible for the Sepedi-language Thaba Ye, which won the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation. And an Ethiopian (Feben Elias Woldehawariat), a Ghanaian (Razahk Issaka) and a South African (Celeste Jamneck, who worked with Triggerfish on both Kizazi Moto and Aau’s Song) were among the co-directors of The Soloists, which was named Best Student Film at the 2023 Annie Awards. And… we could keep going, but let’s end it off here.


Sources: Press Release
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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