Funds fuel SA film studio’s imagination


19 November 2013

Riding on the success of their first two features, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, Cape Town animation studio Triggerfish has secured funding to start developing its next five films.

The company is also exploring other financing options, which includes the possible sale of a stake to a strategic partner, according to the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).

The studio has begun work on a variety of new titles, including Here be Monsters and Seal Team.

“We’re particularly excited by these two highly original and exciting high-concept stories,” Anthony Silverston, head of development, told the NFVF this week. “And although both stories have an ocean setting, they couldn’t be more different.”

Here Be Monsters, which was selected for the creative focus pitch at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival earlier this year, is an original story from writer Raffaella Delle Donne, who worked on both of Triggerfish’s previous films. The film tells the story of a boy and a sea monster and will be the company’s first attempt at animating human characters.

Seal Team is an action comedy that sees a group of Cape fur seals pitted against their natural enemies: the great white sharks of South Africa. The script is being written by Brian and Jason Cleveland of CMG, who handled world sales on Triggerfish’s previous films.

“We had a good working relationship with the Clevelands on Zambezia and were impressed by their passion for the medium and for great stories,” said Stuart Forrest, a producer at Triggerfish. “It was great when they came with this concept that is so close to home for us. Our first reaction was, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?'”

Universal message

Triggerfish aims to release one film a year from 2016. Although the stories have all been set in Africa so far, the company has a global vision to create animated films with universal messages for all ages.

The development funding was secured from Business Partners’ Venture Fund, a specialist risk finance company for formal small- to medium-enterprises in South Africa and select African countries.

The funds will be used towards developing Triggerfish’s slate of five animated feature films and to expand the studio’s digital department, building on existing properties and exploring new ideas with apps and games.

Khumba is currently on circuit in South Africa, where it has held the number 1 spot for two weeks. It will be released in the rest of the world in 2014.

Source: National Film and Video Foundation