The Crash
'The Crash', a 3D feature project about a de-horned rhino, has been chosed for pitching at the Annecy festival market. (Image: Sparks Flew Development Studio)

Animation South Africa, with financial assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry, Gauteng Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation and Wesgro, will be taking a 40-strong delegation of local animators, producers, writers and directors to the 2015 Annecy International Animation Festival.

Taking place in Annecy, France from 15 to 20 June, the festival is one of the biggest events on the international animation industry calendar, providing an excellent opportunity for networking and promoting South Africa's industry.

The country is set to draw attention at this year's event, with two local projects - "Anansi" and "The Crash" - selected through the prestigious MIFA International Call for Projects to be pitched to an open room at the festival's market.

"Anansi", a 2D series project about kids with secret ties to African deities, was developed by Isaac Mogajane of Diprente Films, while "The Crash" is a 3D feature project developed by Julia Smuts Louw (Sparks Flew Development Studio) about a de-horned rhino who sets out alone to find his missing daughter in a park fraught with poachers.

'Anansi', a 2D series project about kids with secret ties to African deities, has been chosed for pitching at the Annecy festival market. (Image: Diprente Films)

Following on the heels of Golden Planes' "Hillbrow" and Triggerfish's "Sea Monster", this is the third year in a row in which a South African feature concept has been accepted for the international pitch sessions at Annecy.

This year also marks the launch of a new category in the MIFA Pitch Sessions, "Animation du Monde", which has a special South African focus session. Off the back of this event, one South African director will see his or her project come to life through a six-month residency in France, working with top French studios as well as Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation.

This year's competing projects are "Waterloo and Trafalgar" by Matthew Torode (Tincup), "Muzi & Kuku" by Tim and Candice Argall (Bugbox Animation) and "Kariba" by Daniel Clarke (Blue Forest Collective).

"This special opportunity is the result of our ongoing dialogue with IFAS, the French Institute of South Africa, who have shown consistent dedication towards creating platforms for our two countries to collaborate," Triggerfish partner and Animation SA board member Anthony Silverston said in a statement on Monday, 8 June. "MIFA's South African pitch session is in large part the result of their efforts."

Monica Rorvik, film and media promotion manager at Western Cape tourism and investment promotion agency Wesgro, described MIFA as "a seminal event for marketing the industry which has and will continue to pay dividends for the growth of South African animation".

Recently elected Animation South Africa chair Nick Cloete commented: "This is a watershed moment for South African animation, and not just because of our reception at Annecy. We are reaching critical mass as producers of original IP and content. We've outgrown our beginnings as a commercials-driven service industry, and we're showing the world that we're ready to tell our own stories."

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission