SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Animation has long shaped the imaginations and aided the development of children. Taking another bold step in addressing the gap in locally relevant content which offers a viewing experience that resonates with its African audience, Cartoon Network is seeking fresh animation talent set to influence a new generation through storytelling.
Recently named the #1 Coolest Kids’ Channel in Africa at the Sunday Times Generation Next, Cartoon Network has launched a new initiative – the Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab.
“We have worked hard, and had great opportunities to build long-lasting relationships with numerous influential networks, studios and animation associations in Africa, and we are fascinated by how the African filmmaking community brings creatives together from all over the continent. We want to tap into that inspiring pan-African exchange with this project. Through our years in Africa, we have been presented with an impressive number of talented African creatives, and from our experiences, we are convinced that it is important to launch these kinds of initiatives to reach talent,” says Ariane Suveg, head of Programming and Acquisition at Turner Kids Africa.
Entries for the first Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab opened on 7 June and will close on 31 August 2018. African creatives and African-based companies from across the continent are urged to enter and need to be 18-years and over to participate.
The initiative aims to encourage African talents including creators, writers, graphic artists and animation students to submit their works.
Interested creatives need to produce an English short-form animated comedy piece that is between one to three minutes long, and is targeted at children between six to 12 years old.
“All kinds of humour, including irreverence and randomness is welcomed, with the comedy being driven by engaging characters and unexpected stories. The piece should portray positive values such as the kid spirit, kindness, diversity and never-ending imagination, with a unique graphism based on any animation technics (2D, 3D, stop motion, mixing real footage etc.),” shares Suveg.
The presentation of the piece should also include a pitch of the story, a description of the main characters, storyline(s) and graphic intention, as well as any additional material including story-boards, animatics and videos that will further enhance the story pitch.
Ten projects will then be shortlisted in September, and the lucky finalists will get the opportunity to pitch their work to Cartoon Network.
Turner has once again partnered with DISCOP Johannesburg, where the last leg of the challenge will take place from 14 to 16 November. “Turner has been partnering with DISCOP since 2016 when we collaborated with Animation South Africa (ASA) as the official sponsor of the first-ever Animation Lounge. That same year, we also hosted the Turner Kid’s Pitching Competition, a first strong initiative to bring forward African talent…” says Suveg. “Last year, we sponsored the African Animation Network (AAN) Village, boosting AAN’s efforts to develop animation talent in Africa… We believe that the collaboration between Turner and DISCOP is an essential way for us to get straight to the heart of the new and fast-growing African animation industry, and we value the local importance of the festival highly.”
The two runners-up and the winner will be announced during the 2018 DISCOP Johannesburg event. The winner and runners-up will also be given the opportunity to get their project produced as a pilot with Cartoon Network Africa. The chosen project will then premiere on Cartoon Network Africa and its digital platforms in 2019.
“We are impressed by the African presence at Annecy this year, and we are happy to meet a new generation of creative minds challenging the future of animation in Africa. We are more than excited to get started on the applications for Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab!” exclaimed Suveg in conclusion.