Sunday, May 12, 2013

Africa's Largest Cartoon Studio

... Which probably doesn't mean a great deal; still in all:

... In 1996 Triggerfish was a traditional stop frame animation studio. It did commercials for ad agencies and landed a contract to produce the South African version of kiddies show Sesame Street, Takalani Sesame, and did such a good job of it that it soon landed the US domestic version as well. It was in 2002 that Stuart Forrest joined the business as a junior animator. By 2005, he would be Managing Director and have taken over the business with a handful of business partners. ...

In 2007 he teamed up with US partners to at first direct, and then produce, the animated film Zambezia. After spending several years raising the money, it went into production in 2009, and was finally released in August last year. The film is still rolling out in certain markets ... Their next release, Khumba, will have a limited release in the US, which might grow depending on initial box office receipts.

Forrest hopes his studio will look a lot more like the Disney’s and Pixars of the world, and create classics with long life cycles. He is currently negotiating with international investors to make this dream a reality, and quickly.
In the meantime the studio has started development on its third feature film, a sea monster story done differently than those that have come before it, says Forrester, who describes it as something along the lines of “How to train your dragon meets E.T.” It’s still a couple of years before it will enter production, he notes, the studio is about half way through the script at the moment. ...

There seems to be a lot of niche players in CartoonWorld, most wanting to be the next Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks, and most failing.

But if the price-points for their features are right, and the puppies click in the markets in which they're released, smaller studios can make some coin. The U.S. and Canada, of course, are markets hard to crack due to steep marketing costs, but talent, innovation and the resulting commercial properties can be found anywhere.

Inspiration, contrary to rumor, isn't all hoarded in Emeryville, Glendale, and Burbank.


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