A scene from Triggerfish's global animation hit Khumba
A scene from Triggerfish's global animation hit Khumba. (Image: www.triggerfishstudios.com)

Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, with support from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Walt Disney Company, has launched a US$3.5-million venture to develop Africa's most talented storytellers and filmmakers.

Officially launched on 15 July, the Triggerfish Story Lab has embarked on a continent-wide search for Africa's next breakthrough movie makers, who will be supported in developing TV episodes or animated feature films for the global market.

"These storytellers will be carefully selected, based not only on the creative and commercial merits of their concept, but also on their track record," Triggerfish said in a statement.

Entries will be evaluated by a high-profile local and international panel, including director and co-founder of Aardman Peter Lord (Chicken Run), Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King), script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact), storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau, a panel of development executives from Walt Disney, and Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne from Triggerfish.

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter, while selected Story Lab participants will receive two weeks of mentoring with key executives at Disney's headquarters in Burbank, California.

"The Story Lab will be a great catalyst for African creativity on the global stage," said Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. "We look forward to opening up the Triggerfish production platform and our networks to the continent's top creative talent."

Triggerfish head of development Anthony Silverston added: "We are ready to bring a fresh voice to the world. We believe there is extraordinary talent in Africa, and the Story Lab is the perfect way to partner with them."

Christine Service, country manager of Walt Disney Africa, said Story Lab provided "a unique opportunity to discover this continent's next generation of storytellers."

Nelly Molokoane, from the Department of Trade and Industry's Film and TV Incentives unit, said the department was pleased to support a project that would contribute to job creation, and was "committed to developing a pool of creative talent that can produce international quality animation production scripts".

Up to $3.5-million will be invested in the Story Lab over the next three years. For each phase of development of participants' film concepts, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.

"Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish's films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages," the studio noted.

Applications are welcome from all writing and creative disciplines, not just experienced film and TV screenwriters. Applicants must be over 21 and either African citizens or permanent residents. Entries must be in English, and close 31 August 2015.

Full guidelines and an online application form are available at www.triggerfishstudios.com.

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission