Thursday, November 23, 2006

Triggerfish Expands into CG

 After ten years in the industry, Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation launches a Computer Generated (CG) animation department with a project that is set to be South Africa’s first animated feature film.

The new CG department at Triggerfish has recently completed a 4-minute pilot animation, Welcome to ZambeziaOver the last year, a core creative team has been working on characters, environments, and the various technical challenges of bringing feathered CG birds to life in a teeming bird-city.


Zambezia is a children’s adventure aimed at 5-11 year olds, with appeal to the broader family- values film market.  It tells the story of a young falcon who leaves his family to pursue his ambitions in the famed bird-city of Zambezia. As he investigates a series of mysterious thefts, he uncovers a plot that threatens the safety of the entire island.


The producers have placed a high level of emphasis on the story element of Zambezia, which has undergone extensive revisions during the year of development. Head scriptwriter Andrew Cook is working closely with Anthony Silverston, winner of the UK Council- and NFVF-funded “25 words or less” scriptwriting competition.


The feedback we’ve received from the pilot so far has been overwhelmingly encouraging,” says producer Stuart Forrest, “People we’ve shown it to are impressed at the standard of the work produced and how well we’ve captured the African landscape. We believe that by getting a warm, feel-good kid’s film from South Africa out into the international marketplace, we might positively influence people’s perceptions of South Africa, and audiences can get a glimpse of the tremendous creative talent this country has to offer.”


The animation industry is taking off in South Africa and the sudden emergence of long-form animation comes as an exciting development. South Africa has never produced an animated feature film before, and Zambezia is in the running to be the first, and the first totally computer-generated feature film made in Africa.  


Our primary challenge has been training, as there simply aren’t enough experienced character animators in the country,” says Animation Director Mike Buckland. “We’ve developed an in-house training system, partnering a junior animator with each experienced animator and it’s working extremely well.  When we go into full production, we’ll bring in some highly experienced animators from overseas, making the most of the skills transference to ensure that the local industry benefits.”


Triggerfish Animation is a long-standing animation studio, best known for its work for Sesame Workshop, NY.  “We have always had a strong reputation in stop-frame animation,” says owner Stuart Forrest, “With the addition of a CG department, we are now able to take on a much more diverse range of work.” Triggerfish has also been instrumental in setting up the South African animation association, Animation SA, which now has over a thousand members, and for initiating AnimationXchange, the animator’s forum which meet monthly in Cape Town and Johannesburg.


Zambezia is set to go into full production in June 2007, to be released mid-2008. Until then, Triggerfish is working on a number of other projects.

Pin It

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Triggerfish finish zambezia pilot

Pin It

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

25 words or less

Funded by the UK Film council and NFVF, the six winning scriptwriters underwent a week-long intensive training session with script editors from South Africa and UK. 

Pin It

Friday, July 7, 2006

South African Filmmakers to Develop Four New films through UK-South Africa Project

Six South African writers have been awarded funding to develop their feature film ideas into screenplays through the '25 Words or Less' pilot project announced by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the UK Film Council's Development Fund.

Run as a competition, the filmmakers will receive R100,000/£10,000 each to develop a first draft of their project and will be helped by a script editor assigned by the Development Fund and the NFVF.  Each of these drafts will then be jointly produced by a UK and South African producer.  

The winning writers who were challenged to pitch their idea in not more than 25 words within three chosen genres - teen horror, comedy 'fish out of water' and zero to hero are:

  • Zero to hero - Khumba by Anthony Silverston andRaffaella Delle Donne:   in a daring search for his missing stripes, an outcast zebra discovers his true self, revealing a lost legacy that saves his entire herd.
  • Zero to hero - Another Brother Moses by Uzanenkosi Motha:  three losers plan a simple break-in but a slip lands them in Brother Moses' house with 20 million bored viewers who want them to stay
  • Teen horror - Judgement Day by Sharlto Copley and Simon Hansen: a mystery virus causes national panic when it takes hold of a sleepy town; the origin of the virus is 'unimaginable'.
  • Comedy 'fish out of water' Jimmy in Pink by Hanneke Schutte: a bankrupt Limpopo farmer is elated when he inherits a hairdressing empire; but is horrified to discover he'll have to air-kiss and bare his midriff.

The UK Film Council's Development Fund has run a number of 25 Words or Less funding rounds in the UK but the South African programme is first to be run with an international partner.   The pitching concept has kick-started the careers of emerging British writers and seen scripts snapped up by major production companies in the UK and the US.  The South African programme is designed to help writers find a way of fast-tracking high concept screenplays which are aimed at the international market and have commercial appeal. In the process, British and South African script editors will work together on the projects, bringing an additional development dimension to the programme.

Jenny Borgars, Head of the Development Fund at the UK Film Council says: "Developing opportunities for the UK to work with international film talent, exploring different approaches to storytelling and finding new voices is vital to creating exciting new films.  South Africa is a rich source of writing and creative talent and this partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation has attracted exciting talent to develop their ideas as film projects and opened the door to future co-productions."

Ryan Haidarian, Head of Development and Production at the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa says: "We were overjoyed at the calibre of pitches. It was a proud moment for us having to mill over the shortlist of fantastic story ideas wondering which one was the best. Ultimately we had to add a fourth project due to the stiff competition."

Comments from the winners:

Hanneke Schutte, writer of Jimmy in Pink has worked in advertising as a copywriter and lectures in copywriting in Sandton.  "The idea for Jimmy in Pink originated from my fascination with hairdressers and women's professional and emotional relationships with them. Men speak to barmen (or maybe those are drunken monologues) women speak to their hairdressers. I come from a long line of mielie farmers, so I thought, what would happen if you take a farmer ('n stoere boer) who's never set foot in a hair salon, you dress him up, you teach him to say "doll" after every sentence and you make sure he services his customers' hair and hearts?"

Raffaella Delle Donne and Anthony Silverston writers of Khumba are both Cape Town-based writers who have teamed up to write their first feature-length script. "We believe that our story is universal yet uniquely South African and will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced what it feels like not to fit in. We wanted to tell a personal story that addresses sensitive issues such as the search for identity and self-acceptance in an entertaining way; and the great thing about animation is that it's the perfect medium to do this. The animation industry in SA is still in its early stages and this is an amazing opportunity for international exposure for us and the local industry as a whole. After working on this story for about 3 years, to say that winning this competition is a dream come true, is an understatement."

Uzanenkosi Motha writer of Another Brother Moses is a producer/writer/director. "9/11 and Big Brother Africa inspired Another Brother Moses. First and foremost, I was searching for a commercial film for a first time black filmmaker. I also understood that the project, once realised, had to establish me as a bankable film producer/writer/director. So, I asked myself what would happen if terrorists, instead of hijacking planes, dropped in the Big Brother House. Since terrorism was and is not really true for South Africa, I ended up with housebreaking."

Simon Hansen and Sharlto Copley, writers of Judgement Day, are co-directors of the two most popular South African short films of all time, both of which were screened last year in the Cinema du Monde section of the Cannes Film Festival.  "We are extremely thrilled and grateful to be one of the "25 words or less" winners. The collaboration between the UK Film Council and NFVF is an exciting step forward for us as South African's into the international film making arena and we look forward to the development process."   Simon and Sharlto are currently in production on the NFVF funded feature film Spoon.

taken from:

Pin It

Monday, May 29, 2006

Trigger happy

Pin It