South Africa’s animation industry is taking the world by storm! Local animators are creating content that is entertaining and meaningful, while also showcasing the country’s unique culture and perspectives. The impact of their work is being felt around the globe, and now these incredible creatives will be part of the dynamic programme at the Cape Town International Animation Festival, fromthe 27th to the 30th of April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which is collocated with the highly anticipated Comic Con Cape Town.
One such industry trailblazer is character animator and animation director, Annike Pienaar, whose work has opened doors for her the to relocate to France, where she works at visual effects company, Illumination Mac Guff. Having animated on films such as Stickman (2015), The Highway Rat (2017), and the Oscar-nominated production of Revolting Rhymes (2016), adding to her long list of credentials, is her most recent contribution to the star-studded film Sing 2 (2022).
Notable animators making waves include Marc Moynihan and Dylan McGarry who’s animation project entitled “Indlela Yokuphila”, which is isiZulu for “the soul’s journey”, aims to educate the world around the cultural and spiritual significance of the oceans from the South African Context. Within these ranks is BAFTA (British Academy Film and Television Awards) award-winning director, Daniel Snaddon, best known for his work on Stickman (2015), The Snail and the Whale (2019), and Zog (2018), and who holds awards and nominations for his contribution to the animation industry as a whole. Their work has helped to showcase the diversity of South African storytelling and has brought new perspectives to the world of animation.
As the industry continues to grow, it is creating even more opportunities for local animators to showcase South Africa’s unique storytelling and creative talent to the world, and it will continue to be championed by the Cape Town International Animation Festival, which is the largest dedicated African animation festival on the continent. With an exciting hybrid programme of talks, workshop, screenings, producer meetings, business-to-business sessions and more, CTIAF provides an opportunity to engage with global industry leaders, shine a spotlight on African talent and create a platform for connections and sharing of knowledge between local animators and their international counterparts.
The impact of South African animators is not limited to their creative output. Their work has also had a significant economic impact, creating jobs, and driving innovation in the industry. According to a report by the National Film and Video Foundation, the animation industry in South Africa is growing at a rate of 5% per year and employs over 3,000 people.
‘’We’ve witnessed the incredible growth of animation in South Africa, and year after year we’re continuously impressed by the immense success local artists have achieved, and we continue to advocate for, and promote these incredible achievements’’, says Director of the Cape Town International Animation Festival, Dianne Makings. ‘’We’re elated to continue this celebratory streak at this year’s Cape Town International Animation Festival as we recognise, engage with, and learn from the talent that has put us on the map, but most importantly we’re look to empower the next generation of animators while holding a spotlight to the work that continues to come from the continent’’, concludes Dianne.
South African animator like Celeste Jamneck are being celebrated globally. Now lecturing at the Savannah Collage of Art and Design, in the USA, she attributes her career growth to the incredible work she’s done as part of a team whose project, entitled The Soloists, garnered over 113 festivals mentioned, won over 20 awards, was nominated for a student BAFDA and celebrated the win of an Annie Award in Los Angeles.
The success of South African animators has also inspired others in the country to pursue careers in the industry. The availability of high-quality training and job opportunities has created a pipeline of talent that is driving the
industry forward. An example of inspirational industry player includes Triggerfish Animation Studios, Africa’s Leading Animation Studio, which has gained worldwide recognition for its feature films and television shows.
Its films, such as “Adventures in Zambezia” and “Khumba,” have been distributed internationally and have received critical acclaim. As contributors to Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-nominated and Emmy award-winning productions, the animation studio has put Africa on the map once again with Disney+. Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire (2023), an animated anthology that highlights the talent of African animators from South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt.
This year’s festival will see a programme dedicated to this impactful work and speakers including Samantha Cutler, who joins the line-up of esteemed artists at the festival this year, and will be presenting alongside Dan Snaddon, on the making of Smeds and Smoos, at the CTICC as part of the week-long festival, highlighting Cape Town’s creativity.
The impact of South African animators is significant and far-reaching, beyond entertainment industry, and will be on show at the Cape Town International Animation Festival this year. Join in on the exciting programme and see how the work of local animators is more than just entertaining, but also has the power to educate, inspire, and drive economic growth, as well as teach children about important issues like climate change and social justice.