Triggerfish Animation Studios has shortlisted 23 features and 12 TV series for the inaugural Triggerfish Story Lab, out of a whopping 1 378 entries from 30 countries across Africa.
Triggerfish had planned to announce a shortlist of 10 features and 10 TV series, but increased this after being pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and quality of the entrants.
“These are stories that have a distinct voice and capture the humour, heart and global appeal that we are looking for,” says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish.
Alongside a wealth of emerging talent, the shortlist includes top African creatives like Nnedi Okorafor, a World Fantasy Award winning novelist; Charlie Human, whose debut novel Apocalypse Now Now is currently being adapted by District 9’s Terri Tanchel; award-winning picture book author Alex Latimer; and multi-award-winning directors Donovan Marsh, Hanneke Schutte, Jenna Bass and Wanuri Kahui.
The shortlisted feature film entries are:
The Big Wild (Ian Pugh)
Born Flea (Andrew Phillips)
Bru and Boegie (Mike Scott)
The Camel Racer (Wanuri Kahui and Nnedi Okorafor)
The Crash (Julia Smuts Louw)
Dropped (Ian Tucker)
Elliot’s Journey (Judy Kibinge)
Fish Out of Water (Matthys Boshoff and Carina Stander)
The Legend of the Rain Queen (Hanneke Schutte)
The Life Factory (Howard James Fyvie)
Lights (Kay Carmichael)
The Little Five (Alex Latimer)
The Loneliest Satellite (Charlie Human)
Make Believe Maya (Nimrod Geva)
The Makers (Sheldon Bengston)
Molly and the Quarks (Donovan Marsh)
Mumbo Jumbo Bambinos (Mbuso Thulani Shiburi)
Paris in Africa (Yolanda Makalaza)
Paradox City (Greig Cameron)
True Colours (Bernard Bruwer)
The Wild Waste (Naseem Hoosen)
Witches Way (Jenna Bass and Chinelo Unwualo)
Zahrah the Windseeker (Wanuri Kahui and Nnedi Okorafor)
The shortlisted TV series are:
Chicken Core (Shina Ajulo)
Folklore (Andile Ngcizela)
Gullivan’s Loft (Jenny Verwoerd and Stephen van Wyk)
Herbert Smelly Pants (Denzil Lewis)
KC’s Super 4 (Malenga Mulendema)
Matchbox Monsters (Sue-Mari L. Sauer)
Ninja Princess (Marc Dey)
Onion Boy (Sarah Scrimgeour)
Sam and Sbu (Lori Reardon and John Reardon)
Sophie the Giantslayer (Kay Carmichael)
Uncanny Valley (Nicholas Rix and Moray Rhoda)
Wormholes (Lucy Heavens)
“It was great to see that 40% of our entries were by female writers, and there were a number of promising young writers as well as established authors and filmmakers, which made our final decisions very, very tough,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “Ultimately, the huge response that we received shows that there is a great desire for more African stories to be told, and we hope that the Triggerfish Story Lab will be able to kick-start this process.”
The shortlisted entries will attend workshops in Cape Town in November with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter, and Orion Ross, Vice President of Content – Animation, Digital and Acquisitions Disney Channels EMEA.
They will then make their final pitches to an expert panel that includes Peter Lord, the British director of international blockbusters like Chicken Run and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists; Hollywood writers Kiel Murray (Cars) and Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King); and a panel of development executives from both the London and Los Angeles offices of The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau, screenwriter Paul Ian Johnson, and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.
In December 2015, Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab participants, who will start the new year with a two week immersion trip, including mentoring from key studio and television executives, at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California.
Triggerfish will be investing up to R44m over the next three years in The Story Lab, which was established with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and The Walt Disney Company.
The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with leading Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.
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.
Triggerfish is hosting a public workshop with Pilar Alessandra on 2 November 2015 at AFDA Cape Town. Tickets are available for R290 per person on Quicket: http://www.quicket.co.za/events/12246-triggerfish-story-lab-workshop-master-class-with-pilar-alessandra/#/.
For more information, keep an eye on http://triggerfishstudios.com.