By Ogova Ondego
Published September 12, 2015
Some 92 East Africans are among 1378 storytellers and filmmakers from 30 countries across Africa and the Diaspora who have expressed their interest in writing the mother continent’s next animated blockbuster or hit TV series.
This is in response to a South Africa-based initiative called Triggerfish Story Lab that specifically called upon artists across Africa and the Diaspora to write ‘uplifting, family-friendly stories’.
Kenya’s 70 story ideas and Uganda’s 20 shall be among the 1174 feature and 204 TV series submissions that shall be evaluated by industry experts who include Peter Lord, the British director of international blockbusters like CHICKEN RUN and THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS; Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (THE LION KING); script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact); and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.
A media statement issued in Cape Town by publicist Kevin Kriedemann quotes Peter Lord, who co-founded Aardman Animations, the four-time Oscar-winning studio behind the likes of WALLACE AND GROMIT and SHAUN THE SHEEP as saying, “I’m honoured and delighted to be a small part of the Triggerfish Story Lab. I believe that it’s vitally important for every country and culture to tell its own stories. Much as we may enjoy Hollywood storytelling, it is not the only way; there are so many different stories to be told, and so many voices demanding to be heard. I look forward very much to immersing myself in authentic African storytelling.”
Participants who get selected are expected to receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California, USA, as well as workshops in Cape Town with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.
“The overwhelming response we’ve received shows the depth of storytelling talent in Africa,” says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish Animation Studios. “Thanks to everyone who entered; we’ll be announcing a shortlist of about 20 storytellers in October 2015.”
The storytellers who get shortlisted will take part in workshops in November 2015 before making their final pitches, after which Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab participants in December 2015.
“Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish’s films ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA and KHUMBA being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages,” Kevin Kriedemann writes.
The Triggerfish Story Lab is the initiative of Cape Town (South Africa)-based Triggerfish Animation Studios in conjunction with the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Walt Disney Company.