Sixty South African creatives to showcase the future of animation at Annecy Animation Film Festival 2024

Arts and Creative Industries

South Africans are proudly driving their narrative on a global platform. A 60-strong cohort from South Africa’s thriving animation industry is representing the country, shining a spotlight on the country’s dynamic and creative prowess, at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

Their presence not only underscores the ongoing growth of the industry but also illuminates the diverse voices and rich storytelling, making South Africa’s animation scene truly unique.

The festival, which takes place from June 9th to 15th, in Annecy, France, is the biggest animation festival in the world, as it sets the agenda on all things animation. It offers screenings, seminars, workshops, and critical information on how to market and finance animation projects.

This wealth of opportunities and resources is of paramount importance to South African animation creators and studios. This sentiment is echoed by Nosipho Maketo-Van Den Bragt, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chocolate Tribe, a visual effects and animation studio based in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Nosipho attended the festival for the first-time last year, and claims it was a pivotal experience. To her, what sets the Annecy International Animation Film Festival apart from others, is the approach that looks at the creative aspect of animation coupled with the business side.

“If we want to create an industry that sustains itself, we should be able to do both,” says Nosipho.

She adds that the festival also gives creatives an opportunity to learn how to pitch their ideas and sell their products.

“You are confronted with having to sell your products, which is your story, and you need to use the right words. You need to have the right packaging, how are you showcasing the show that you’re pitching. So, there is so much that you learn through the interactions that you have at Annecy,” she adds.

Other South African animation creatives who frequent the festival claim that it provides them with an opportunity to broaden their understanding of animation and establish valuable connections within the industry.

This rings true to Isaac Mogajane who has been attending the festival for over six years.

Isaac is a producer, and co-founder of Diprente Films dedicated to developing, and packaging shows before marketing them to partners and investors. Diprente Films is behind productions such as the romantic comedy Catching Feelings, and the drama series Queen Sono, both made for Netflix.

With the global animation landscape evolving, this festival allows South Africans to share their perspectives, and artistic styles with an international audience.

“There’s been a big focus starting to happen around the world on African original animation content,” claims Isaac.

The festival helps South African producers to connect with studio executives and other important individuals whom they might not encounter on an ordinary day.

“[The festival] is very important, that’s why I go every year. I think being in South Africa, we are very far away geographically from a lot of the people that we want to work with. If you are based in Europe or you’re based in the US, you can set up a meeting to fly out to the UK to meet with studios,” says Isaac.

He claims this is why South Africa animation producers should go to the festival.

“So, what these markets and festivals do is that they create a space where you can have face to face meetings. But also, you get to network. We producers meet studios, broadcasters, and buyers face to face, and have real conversations about the project,” Isaac adds.

Three years ago, Isaac pitched a series at the Annecy Festival. Although he did not win, it sparked a relationship with some studios at the festival, and today he is working with Mediawan to launch that project.

“They looked at my project… They really liked it. Then we decided to go into a co-production agreement for that. Now we are in the process of producing a teaser trailer with a mix of African artists and French artists,” says Isaac.

For South African animation creatives who have yet to experience this festival, attending should be a top consideration, according to Nosipho.

“I would definitely encourage them to apply for various grants from NFVF and DTIC that allow you to go to Annecy”, Nosipho says.

The opportunity for the delegates to attend The Annecy Film Festival has been made possible through the collaborative affords and support of contributors, such as the French Institute of South Africa, The National Film and Video Foundation [NFVF], Animation South Africa, The Department of Trade Industry and Competition [DTIC], The Tshimologong Precinct, Wesgro: Cape Town, and Western Cape Tourism, Trade, and Investment.

Ms. Thobela Mayinje, NFVF Acting CEO says, “The NFVF’s mandate is to spearhead the equitable growth and development of SA film and audio-visual sector. As such, it is a great privilege to contribute to showcasing these South African creatives’ projects to the world. We look forward to the relationships and production opportunities that will contribute to the growth of animation in South Africa”.

 

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