Khumba celebrates world premiere in France


Khumba, the second 3D animated feature from South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation Studios, celebrates its world premiere at France’s Annecy International Animation Festival this week.

Jake T. Austin, Laurence Fishburne, AnnaSophia Robb, Liam Neeson and Steve Buscemi voice the film, a coming-of-age comedy adventure about a half-striped zebra’s search for a magical watering hole.

Beverly Hills-based Cinema Management Group, which represents the film in international markets, has closed pre-sales to Mexico (Gussi), Spain (Antonio Llorens’ Lauren Films), Malaysia (Suraya Films), Thailand (Mono Films), Taiwan (Creative Century) and Vietnam (IPA).

Cinema Management Group’s international sales roll-out for Khumba covers 40 distributor deals, said executive producer and CMG president, Edward Noeltner.

Helmed by Anthony Silverston, and written by Silverston, Raffaella Delle Donne and The Lion King co-scribe Jonathan Roberts, Khumba has already pre-sold to Millennium Entertainment for North America and to heavyweight distributors in key territories, such as France’s Metropolitan, the distributors for DreamWorks and Lionsgate and Russia’s Luxor.

Khumba sales come as Adventures in Zambezia 3D, Triggerfish’s first animated feature, has grossed $24.9m worldwide, with France, where Metropolitan releases 14 August, Spain, most of Latin America and China yet to open.

Results make Zambezia the highest-grossing South African films since 1985’s The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Standout results include Bazelevs/All Media’s $5.7m in Russia, $3m for Bloomage in South Korea, $3.3m in Poland, where Zambezia was distributed by kids’ specialist Kino Swiat, eOne’s $3.3m in Benelux and $2.7m for Sony Pictures in Australia.

At a Khumba marketing reception organised by CMG and Triggerfish Animation in Cannes, Kino Swiat and eOne explained the key to their success, “Treat the film like a major movie. If you treat it big, the kids will know it’s a big event movie and will want to go,’ Noeltner said.

He also argued that Zambezia’s setting was a major plus, “One of the taglines distributors had for the film was “Zambezia – somewhere between Rio and Madagascar’. I always said, when selling it, that it was the cheapest ticket you could get to Africa and distributors used that in their marketing as well’.

Part of Khumba’s appeal, Noeltner added, is “the warmth of its colour and lighting scheme which makes Khumba stand out. What Triggerfish has achieved with both films is that they are culturally distinctive from Pixar, Disney or DreamWorks movies but are technically and visually on the same level.’

Silverston, Delle Donne and producer Mike Buckland will talk the audience through the development and production of Khumba on Thursday 13 June at a Feature Films: 4 Case Studies panel at Annecy Film Festival.


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