The movie studio dubbed South Africa’s Pixar, which made the international hits “Adventures in Zambezia” and “Khumba”, will back eight new animated movies and TV series – two more than initially intended – because the proposals it got were so good.
The projects include a story about a lemming who must learn to defy his nature to follow others, another of a young girl who races camels, and another about a young scientist who turns her annoying sister into a source of electricity.
The story of Triggerfish in Cape Town:
Triggerfish Animation Studios in Cape Town – whose style of animation and success has led it to be dubbed the South African Pixar, the U.S. studio responsible for hits like “Inside Out” and “Finding Nemo” – established the Story Lab competition earlier this year with the aid of the Department of Trade and Industry and Walt Disney Company to find new African stories and storytellers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
This comes after Triggerfish announced in November that it had two other animated movies in early production, an adventure of a boy and a sea monster called “Here Be Monsters” and the other, “Seal Team”, an action-comedy that pits a group of seals against the great white sharks of South Africa.
As far as Story Lab goes, Triggerfish was reported to have received 1,378 entries from 30 African countries and the studio shortlisted 23 film and 14 TV ideas.
Six of the chosen projects are from South Africa. Triggerfish had planned to select three projects for film and TV, respectively, but increased that to four each, citing “the quality of the projects”.
Three of the feature films selected are from South Africa (“Dropped” from Ian Tucker, “Lights” from Kay Carmichael and “The Wild Waste” from Naseem Hoosen), and from Kenya and Nigeria comes The Camel Racer from Wanuri Kahiu and Nnedi Okorafor.
The TV series are, from South Africa, Mike Scott’s Bru and Boegie, Ninja Princess from Marc Dey and Kelly Dillon, and Wormholes from Lucy Heavens, while KC’s Super 4 is from Malenga Mulendema (Zambia). Scott is a YouTube star and Heavens is one of the writers on South African animated TV hit “Supa Strikas”.
Triggerfish’s “Adventures in Zambezia” and “Khumba” have been distributed in more than 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.
The trailer for “Khumba”:
Anthony Silverston, of Triggerfish, told the Hollywood Reporter about the projects: “From misfit Zambian girls who become low-budget superhero-superspies to a stubborn 12-year-old Kenyan girl who defies tradition by racing camels, from a young South African scientist who accidentally turns her annoying little sister into a new source of electricity to a timid lemming who must defy his nature, these are characters we fell in love with. We’re excited by the range of stories that explore everything from contemporary urban to Afro-futuristic worlds. We’re looking forward to bringing something fresh to the screen.”
The ideas were evaluated by an expert panel that included Peter Lord, the British director of “Chicken Run” and “The Pirates!” Hollywood writers Kiel Murray (“Cars”) and Jonathan Roberts (“The Lion King”) and development executives from both the London and the Los Angeles offices of Walt Disney, along with South African comedian David Kau, screenwriter Paul Ian Johnson and Triggerfish’s development team of Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.