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Disney+ Partners With Red Hot African Animators

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The African animation scene is red hot right now, and people in that continent are now seeing more animated films and series that represent their lives and culture.

Disney is among the many companies that has discovered the rapidly growing well of talent bubbling up throughout the region, and has now partnered with animators from across Africa to create a 10-part anthology of original short films called Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire. The name comes from the Swahili phrase “Kizazi cha Moto,” which means generation of fire, but while the name may draw from traditional language and culture, this anthology is a cutting edge, sci fi exploration of Africa’s diverse history and culture, with stories that involve aliens, spirits, advanced technology, and mythical monsters.

As reported last week in The Licensing Letter, African animators are enjoying a rapid rise in popularity and acceptance both at home and globally, thanks to a new generation of artists who draw on the region’s deep archive of culture and history. Kizazi Moto was conceived by South Africa’s Triggerfish, which is serving as the lead studio on the anthology and will also work with several other animation houses from around the world to put the film together. Triggerfish has also been involved in several other successful productions, such as the series Kiya that has been picked up by Disney and other broadcasters and streamers around the world.

Triggerfish is also becoming a centre of excellence for African animators, helping bring out talent from across the continent. In the Kizazi Moto anthology, Triggerfish draws on talented artists from South Africa to Egypt. The 10 short films were created by Ahmed Teilab (Egypt), Simangaliso Sibaya and Malcom Wope (South Africa), Terence Maluleke and Isaac Mogajane (South Africa), Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya), Shofela Coker (Nigeria), Nthato Mokgata and Terence Neale (South Africa), Pious Nyenyewa and Tafadzwa Hove (Zimbabwe), Tshepo Moche (South Africa), Raymond Malinga (Uganda) and Lesego Vorster (South Africa).

Another important aspect of the partnership is that Disney and Triggerfish are providing critically important mentorship for these artists, who in the past have been very much on their own in trying to forge their careers. On this project, for example, the artists are being mentored by Peter Ramsey who worked on the superb animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, as well as thecreative teams at Triggerfish and Disney. Five other creative teams whose works were shortlisted also received mentorship, although their work was not chosen for this anthology.

Ramsey is executive producing, while Triggerfish’s Tendayi Nyeke and Anthony Silverston are working as the supervising producers.


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