Thursday, May 22, 2008

US studio chooses Cape Town for animated TV series


Triggerfish Animation has completed a 14-minute episode of an exciting new children's series entitled Me and Jessie D for Studio 125, a production company based in Alabama.The episode, entitled Fish Fry, is the second in the series which follows the antics of a group of animal friends living in the swamps of the deep South. Although the show is rich in idiosyncratic Southern culture, the US producers were delighted with the South African team's interpretation of the expressions and body language of the eleven different characters.

The decision to produce in South Africa is part of a growing trend as international producers recognise the coming-of-age of the fledgling SA animation industry. With the sliding Rand and high production values for low cost, South African animation companies are quickly becoming more attractive to overseas producers.

In 2007 Triggerfish produced 30-minutes of animation for the direct-to-DVD film The Rise and Fall of Tony the Frog, an episode in a successful children's animation franchise, Life at the Pond. The DVD has been widely seen in the US and has set a benchmark standard for South African low cost animation, which directly led to the commissioning of Me and Jessie D.

“Because we are the new kids on the block, we have a brand new way of managing our production pipeline which is unencumbered by traditional top-heavy production techniques,” says Stuart Forrest, producer at Triggerfish. “We’ve been able to concentrate most of the funding on the actual animation, and have stripped away layers of management and committee decision-making. We’ve also developed our own in-house management software which is specifically tailored to our workflow - so approvals, revisions and renders are smoothly handled with maximum efficiency.”

Triggerfish currently has a feature film in script development, and one set to go into production later this year. “Our long term strategy is to create our own content and export South African animated features to the world,” says Forrest. “We want to show the world a different side to South Africa filmmaking – one that is specifically child friendly and therefore has universal appeal.”

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