The South African animation industry cemented its position as a key industry player when locally produced film Belly Flop was screened at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France.
This as Isaac Mogajane's film Junk Pilots was awarded the Disney Channel Prize for a New Series award at the Mifa Pitches event, held in conjunction with the Annecy festival.
Officials from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) were part of a sizeable delegation that represented the South African animation industry at the festival.
At the event, a stand with South African animation characters was hosted by Animation South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Arts and Culture, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
The NFVF officials used the occasion to showcase the local animation industry, and facilitated skills-transfer opportunities for the young filmmakers who made up the majority of the delegation.
Belly Flop, directed by Kelly Dillon and Jeremy Collins, was funded by the NFVF. Junk Pilots was among top animation projects in the first phase of development screened at the Mifa Pitches event.
Acting executive officer of the NFVF, Shadrack Bokaba, said: "A platform like Annecy and Mifa provides an ideal opportunity for our filmmakers to meet influential representatives from global animation studios, attend master classes from... industry experts, and to be kept up to date with the latest trends and opportunities in the animation industry."
Two of the youngest participants, Terrence Malukele and Simanga Sibaya, who attended the festival for the first time, found the experience invaluable.
"The festival was amazing, so many shows, screenings, and master classes from the best studios and artists.
"The best thing that happened was when our show Junk Pilots won the Mifa pitch. This is a big win for everyone at Diprente (South African media company), inspiring us to keep making more animated shows and do our best with the ones in production," said Sibaya. -