Recently, African animated films have been getting a lot of attention in awards, with some expected to be showcased on US television platforms. African nations may not be the first place that comes to mind for some people when they think about animation, but Annecy International Animated Film Festival reveals that there’s serious talent on the continent. After an entire year of absence due to the Covid Pandemic, the international festival shows the progress made in African animation. The Covid pandemic is not the only reason since the internet has been leveling the playing field for a long time. Some gadgets and tools that could only be accessible to some people in certain places are now readily available by groups of people everywhere.
The films in the festival specifically focused on African Themes, such as the false ideologies about albinism in some countries. Some major companies, such as Disney, have spotted the potential of African animation and are working hand in hand with Pan-African studios for the first time. There’s a solid South African Animation Industry presence at the festival with NFVF, Animation SA, Digital Lab Africa, Tshimolongng Animation Academy, the French Institute of South Africa, and Triggerfish Animations Studios, among numerous delegates representing the country under Africa 2020 Season.
This year’s festival will offer diverse programming that constitutes South African films in the official program, pitch sessions, and various webinars that look at the successes and obstacles in the African Animation Industry. According to sources, four South African films will be screened as part of the official selection, including ten films—a big congrats to all the films in the official selection. Disney has announced the full details for Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, a 10-part series of animated films that look to take fans on a wild and entertaining adventure into Africa’s future. These films are inspired by Africa’s cultures and histories and promise action-packed sci-fi and fantasy stories that present the bold visions of advanced technology, spirits, monsters, and aliens imagined and developed from the unique African Perspectives.
The entire project aims to expose the world to a whole new wave of creativity and invention from a place that is already ready to explode onto the global animation scene. When it comes to science fiction, the films in the anthology kind of run the gamut; some storylines touch on other worlds, alien beings, and time travel, but all these aspects are seen from an African perspective, making them unique.
It has been a significant year for Africa’s animation as major content platforms in America announced they’ll be picking up four productions by local cartoon creators. It first started with the news early in June that Cartoon Network has commissioned a whole series for Garbage Boy and Trash Can, based on a Nigerian pilot by Ridwan Moshood, to premiere next year.
A week later, Disney made the massive announcement that an original 10-part collection of original films titled Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire by animators from 6 African countries will premiere on the streaming service next year. During the same week, at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market in France, the Walt Disney Company announced that it’d be picking up two African animations, Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes, by South African producers Marc Dey and Kelly Dillon to debut on Disney Junior and Disney+ in 2023.
The other animation film is Kiff, by other South African creators Nic Smal and Lucy Heavens, to premiere in 2023 n the Disney Channel. Triggerfish Studios has helped discover, train, and perfect talent in South Africa and throughout the entire African continent in just a few years. Its structure and professional support have resulted in the shooting and production of series and feature films that have won several prizes. The International Film Festival in Annecy is a golden chance for African directors to show their talent to professionals from all over the globe and bring their perspective through their animated features on the issues that matter to them most.