Johannesburg – The French Institute of South African (IFAS) – in partnership with international mentors and experts from South Africa’s Gobelins School of Visual Arts, Disprente Studios and Tshimologong animation academy – has started the “Bridges” programme to develop African animation talent.
The project directors told the media last week that Bridges would create a platform for emerging African talent to step into the global film and animation markets.
IFAS regional head of media, film and music Erika Denis said, “There is a wealth of untapped talent across Africa, and Bridges will give these artists an opportunity to establish their own voices and African aesthetics.”
She said there would be a series of 10 original short films of one minute each to be completed within the next 12 months.
“The initiative will eventually build up a library of compelling, entertaining films that contribute to the growth and development of the local animation industry. The genres range from comedy, action, drama, sci-fi, satire and fantasy,” added Denis.
Animation is still in its commercial infancy in Africa, and Gobelins alumni and Tshimologong graduates are assisting young talents to grow the sector.
“Bridges will help to diversify the global pool of highly qualified animators and contribute towards developing a sustainable animation ecosystem by strengthening the breadth and depth of local skills,” Denis said.
The project’s first film was created by Gobelins Master of Arts student Mogau Kekana, who is a concept and storyboard artist from Hillbrow, in Johannesburg.
The film is titled Red Ants and is based on a story about a young South African eviction enforcer, Khanya who is nicknamed Red Ant.
“We are equally as excited by the way in which we are being exposed to the fresh perspectives that these young artists are bringing to the table. So far, the project has been a learning process for both us and the students, highlighting the benefits of collaboration and cooperation and how crucial it is to continue to engage with other cultures through creativity and media particularly during the current pandemic,” said Gobelins head of international development, Cecile Blondel.