The rise of African animation


While many animated movies set in Africa (The Lion King, Madagascar, Kirikou) have
met with international success, African animation filmmakers are struggling to break
through international box offices. Screen Africa scouted talent from around the
continent that is following in the footsteps of Mustapha Alassane (Niger), Jean-Michel
Kibushi (DRC), Zouheir Mahjoub (Tunisia) and other pioneers.

In 2010, the Dynamic Art Vision production company launched Papa Nzenu’s
Tales of Africa
a 54 thirteen-minute-episode animated TV series of African
fairy tales. Six episodes were shot, each one directed either by a Senegalese, a
Beninese, a Congolese, a Cameroonian, a Burkinabe or a Malian director. Supported
by Media Consulting Group (MCG), they are now looking for broadcasters.

In 2010, the self-educated director Mohammed Nassib launched the character of
Bouzebal on Facebook. Bouzebal is an uneducated Moroccan who criticises society
with humor and audacity. The result? More than 48 milllion views on YouTube.

After the Association tunisienne des Dessins Animes (founded in 1990)
and the Association Tunisienne du Cinema d’Animation (2010) the post-
Revolution Association Touensa (2011) created a TV series,
Lahlouba. The series deals with topics relating to elections and
citizenship and is to be broadcast on Al Watania 1 and Hannibal Tunisian channels.

Egypt is a member of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA). Since
2012, director Ahmed Abaza and Deadline Studio have been working on a 30 twenty-
minute-episode series about superheroes – Project Hero. The first episode is
completed but still waiting to be aired.

Launched in 1998 by the filmmaker Pierre Awoulbe Sauvalle, Studio Pictoon was the
first African production company to produce an animated TV series, Kabongo le
, entirely made in Africa and broadcast by Canal France International. For
the past six years, they have been working on a feature, Invincible
, supported by the Ivorian soccer player Didier Drogba.

Ivory Coast
In 2005, Lassane Zohore an Ivorian caricaturist and founder of the satirical
newspaper Gbich! launched Afrika Toon, a production company
specialising in animation. Along with many commercials, they produced a feature film
about an Ashanti princess, Pokou in 2013 and are completing their second feature
about the famous Mandingo king, Soundiata Keita, The Lion Waking.

In 2008, the caricaturist Hailan Pakulu created a 2D animated humoristic TV series
Bana Boul about two mischievous children. Through its huge online
success (2 million views on YouTube), a second season produced by Alphabet Studios
was launched in 2013 on Congolese channel B-One TV.

Founded in 2009 by Gatumia Gatumia, RECON-Digital is an animation production
company, which produced the short The Greedy of the Jungle (selected
at the Durban Film Festival). After winning the Chase Bank Enablis ILO Business
Launchpad competition in 2012, the company developed a comedy TV series,
Domestic Disturbance, about a family dealing with contemporary urban

Founded in 2006, the Rencontres du Film Court (RFC) is the main hub
for short-films produced in Madagascar. After setting up the festival and a three-
month course for the winning Animation directors, RFC created a film grant (Serasary
Fund) and are now distributing movies through their online catalog.

Launched in 2004, FX is an animation and post-production company specialising in
audiovisual production and project studies. In addition to their work on commercials,
founder Nildo Essa, together with Mahla Filmes, recently produced The Brats
and The Toy Thief
, the first Mozambican 3-D movie.–comercials.html

Born in Cabo-Verde but with Portuguese nationality, Daniel Sousa is definitely a
filmmaker to follow. He directed five internationally acclaimed shorts produced in the
US: Minautor (1998), Fable (2005), The Windmill (2007), Drift
(2009) and Feral, nominated at the 2014 Oscars and awarded
three times at Annecy 2013.

The Mauritius book edition company Vizavi, founded by French Pascale Siew in 1993,
achieved in 2008 its first animated movie: Tikoulou in the Beddy-Byes
. Adapted from its Mauritius phenomenal children book
Tikoulou, this short film pilot was completed in 2013.

Out of the famous Kadiatou Konate’s The Awful Child, MaliToon is a
young production company set up in 2009. It develops many projects from a 20-
episode TV series about Malian History (2010) to the HIV prevention film, Binta
(2011), the hip-hop artist Ramses’ video clip and a feature, Soundiata
, Son of Mande still in development despite the Ivoirian
singer Tiken Jah Fakoly’s participation.

Founded in 2007, EVCL is an animation company, which produces contents for global
audience from TV commercials to educational programmes. Adamu Waziri’s most
famous production, Bino & Fino, is a preschool educational 26 eleven-
minute episodes TV programme. Broadcast in the UK and South Africa, the 2014
version of Bino & Fino has been purchased in 13 countries.

Born and raised in Uganda then educated in US universities, Solomon W Jagwe is an
independent film director and a 3D/visual effects artist. In 2012, he started an
animated children’s TV series project Nkoza & Nankya, featuring the
adventures of two Ugandan children. Supported by the Ugandan free-to-air WBS TV,
he is currently developing a 12-episode series.

In 2013, the Thai-American social-entrepreneur Nisha Ligon founded Ubongo Media,
an enterprise producing educational content for learners. Since 2014, their 13 fifteen-
minute-episode TV series Ubongo Kids has been broadcast on Tanzanian
public channel TBC1. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter Campaign (125% funded),
those episodes will be translated from Kiswahili to English for the benefit of children in
other parts of Africa and worldwide.

Note: Because of restrictions, our focus is mainly on TV series and feature
films. Hence many amazing independent animators are not mentioned.


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