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Triggerfish Animation Studios Press

Triggerfish Animation Studios Press
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Triggerfish Animation is Africa's leading character animation studio & the producers of 'Adventures in Zambezia' & 'Khumba'.

Triggerfish named Western Cape Business of the Year

At the recent Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards (PERA), Triggerfish
Animation Studios was named the overall winner and Business of the Year.
Triggerfish also took home the prize for the Business with Global Reach.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille congratulated the pioneering animation company,
which celebrates 20 years in 2016. “Criteria for the overall winners included the
ability of the business to create jobs and grow its turnover. Triggerfish achieved
excellently in both those areas,’ she said. “Triggerfish is a world-class enterprise,
making a major impact on economic growth in our province. They develop films
which are translated into over 27 languages and licensed in over 150 countries. Their films have generated over R1 billion at box offices (and home entertainment)
across the world. Employing 85 people, they are also an important source of
employment for local residents.’

Over 300 businesses entered PERA, which was launched three years ago by the
Western Cape Government and is co-sponsored by Absa, Deloitte, Business Partners
and Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. The 13 PERA winners shared R1.8 million in prize
money, with Triggerfish also receiving an overseas trip as the overall winner.

“These kinds of awards mean a lot to us, because it’s further recognition of the
impact the film industry can have on the South African economy,’ says Triggerfish
CEO Stuart Forrest. “You can make a strong case that film has cultural benefits, like
the role it plays in social cohesion. But we’re proof that there is also an economic
case to be made, that South African films and TV series can travel globally and
deliver a significant return on investment.’

Triggerfish has produced two feature films: Adventures in Zambezia
(2012), starring Jeremy Suarez, Abigail Breslin and Samuel L. Jackson; and
Khumba (2013), starring Jake T. Austin, Anna Sophia Robb and Liam
Neeson. The two movies are among the top five highest-grossing South African
films of all time.

They’ve just wrapped production on Stick Man, a 26-minute BBC
festive season special based on the popular children’s book by Julia Donaldson and
Axel Scheffler. They’ve also started collaboration on another childhood favourite –
Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. Both projects are being produced by
Magic Light Pictures, an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning animation company in
the UK.

In the second week of December 2015, Triggerfish will announce the final
participants for their inaugural Story Lab, which was supported by The Walt Disney
Company and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The ground-breaking,
pan-African search for storytellers attracted a whopping 1378 entries from 30
countries.

The shortlist included top African creatives like Nnedi Okorafor, a World Fantasy
Award winning novelist; Charlie Human, whose debut novel Apocalypse Now
Now
is currently being adapted by District 9’s Terri Tanchel;
award-winning picture book author Alex Latimer; and award-winning directors
Donovan Marsh, Hanneke Schutte, Jenna Bass, Judy Kibinge and Wanuri Kahui.

The final participants are currently being decided by an expert panel that includes
Peter Lord, the British director of international blockbusters like Chicken
Run
and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists;
Hollywood writers Kiel Murray (Cars) and Jonathan Roberts (The
Lion King
); and a panel of development executives from both the London and
Los Angeles offices of The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African
storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau, screenwriter Paul Ian Johnson, and
Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and
Raffaella Delle Donne.

The final Story Lab participants will start 2016 with a two week immersion trip,
including mentoring from key studio and television executives, at Disney’s
headquarters in Burbank, California. The development process can take a number of
years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support,
workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and
mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood
agency William Morris Endeavor.

Watch the Triggerfish
story
.

3D animated movie shortlisted for Triggerfish’s Story Lab

The Crash, a 3D animation feature film project from Julia Smuts Louw
(Sparks Flew Development Studio), has been accepted into the initial phase of
Triggerfish’s Story Lab initiative, a script incubation programme launched this year
with the support of the Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and
Industry of South Africa.

The Crash is a 3D comedy adventure in development that tells the
story of a rhino named Spike who experiences a crisis of masculinity when he is
robbed of his horn.

The project was also invited to PFM London, a financing market to which only 25
projects are admitted globally per year.

Now in its 9th year, PFM aims to match-make financiers with producers at an
intensive two-day event. The Crash was also one of just five projects
selected for a live pitch to an expert panel at PFM. In the same month, the project
will be presented at Cinekid Amsterdam’s Junior Co-Production Market.

The production has won international attention, having been selected for MIFA’s
prestigious pitch focus at the Annecy Animation Festival earlier this year.

Producer Julia Smuts Louw runs Sparks Flew together with partner Daniel Snaddon,
developing original IP for long-form animation. For The Crash, the
studio has partnered with Sisanda Henna of Diamond Hill as financing producer.
Diamond Hill develops and packages motion picture projects for export.

Triggerfish’s Story Lab will see six projects chosen from the current shortlist of
twenty for further development, and potential production, in January 2016.

Triggerfish Story Lab announces expanded shortlist

Triggerfish Animation Studios has shortlisted 23 features and 12 television series for the inaugural Triggerfish Story Lab, out of a whopping 1378 entries from 30 countries across Africa.

Triggerfish had planned to announce a shortlist of ten features and ten television series, but increased this after being pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and quality of the entrants.

“These are stories that have a distinct voice and capture the humour, heart and global appeal that we are looking for,’ says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish.

Alongside a wealth of emerging talent, the shortlist includes top African creatives like Nnedi Okorafor, a World Fantasy Award winning novelist; Charlie Human, whose debut novel Apocalypse Now Now is currently being adapted by District 9’s Terri Tanchel; award-winning picture book author Alex Latimer; and multi-award-winning directors Donovan Marsh, Hanneke Schutte, Jenna Bass and Wanuri Kahui.

The shortlisted feature film entries are:
The Big Wild (Ian Pugh)
Born Flea (Andrew Phillips)
Bru and Boegie (Mike Scott)
The Camel Racer (Wanuri Kahui and Nnedi Okorafor)
The Crash (Julia Smuts Louw)
Dropped (Ian Tucker)
Elliot’s Journey (Judy Kibinge)
Fish Out of Water (Matthys Boshoff and Carina Stander)
The Legend of the Rain Queen (Hanneke Schutte)
The Life Factory (Howard James Fyvie)
Lights (Kay Carmichael)
The Little Five (Alex Latimer)
The Loneliest Satellite (Charlie Human)
Make Believe Maya (Nimrod Geva)
The Makers (Sheldon Bengston)
Molly and the Quarks (Donovan Marsh)
Mumbo Jumbo Bambinos (Mbuso Thulani Shiburi)
Paris in Africa (Yolanda Makalaza)
Paradox City (Greig Cameron)
True Colours (Bernard Bruwer)
The Wild Waste (Naseem Hoosen)
Witches Way (Jenna Bass and Chinelo Unwualo)
Zahrah the Windseeker (Wanuri Kahui and Nnedi Okorafor)

The shortlisted TV series are:
Chicken Core (Shina Ajulo)
Folklore (Andile Ngcizela)
Gullivan’s Loft (Jenny Verwoerd and Stephen van Wyk)
Herbert Smelly Pants (Denzil Lewis)
KC’s Super 4 (Malenga Mulendema)
Matchbox Monsters (Sue-Mari L. Sauer)
Ninja Princess (Marc Dey)
Onion Boy (Sarah Scrimgeour)
Sam and Sbu (Lori Reardon and John Reardon)
Sophie the Giantslayer (Kay Carmichael)
Uncanny Valley (Nicholas Rix and Moray Rhoda)
Wormholes (Lucy Heavens)

“It was great to see that 40% of our entries were by female writers, and there were a number of promising young writers as well as established authors and filmmakers, which made our final decisions very, very tough,’ says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “Ultimately, the huge response that we received shows that there is a great desire for more African stories to be told, and we hope that the Triggerfish Story Lab will be able to kick-start this process.’

The shortlisted entries will attend workshops in Cape Town in November, with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter, and Orion Ross, vice president of Content – Animation, Digital and Acquisitions Disney Channels EMEA.

They will then make their final pitches to an expert panel that includes Peter Lord, Kiel Murray and Jonathan Roberts, and a panel of development executives from both the London and Los Angeles offices of The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau, screenwriter Paul Ian Johnson, and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

In December 2015, Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab participants, who will start the new year with a two week immersion trip, including mentoring from key studio and television executives, at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California.

Triggerfish will be investing up to R44 million over the next three years in The Story Lab, which was established with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and The Walt Disney Company.

The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with leading Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.

Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.

Pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab receives 1 378 entries from 30 countries

The Triggerfish Story Lab received 1378 entries from storytellers and filmmakers
from 30 countries across Africa and its diaspora, all eager to write the continent’s
next animated blockbuster or hit TV series.

“When I told people I expected over 1000 submissions from across Africa, everyone
laughed at me. Ha! Now who’s laughing? Oh wait, I have to read all of these…’ says
Anthony Silverston, head of Development at Triggerfish Animation Studios.

After the international success of its first two feature films, Triggerfish established
The Triggerfish Story Lab with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry
(the dti) and The Walt Disney Company.

The 1174 feature submissions and 204 TV series submissions will be evaluated by
industry experts. These experts include Peter Lord, the British director of
international blockbusters like Chicken Run and The Pirates! In
an Adventure with Scientists
; Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The
Lion King
); script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional
Impact
); a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney
Company; South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope; comedian David Kau; and
Triggerfish’s development team made up of Silverston, Wayne Thornley and
Raffaella Delle Donne.

“I’m honoured and delighted to be a small part of the Triggerfish Story Lab,’ says
Peter Lord, who co-founded Aardman Animations, the four-time Oscar-winning
studio behind the likes of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the
Sheep
. “I believe that it’s vitally important for every country and culture to
tell its own stories. Much as we may enjoy Hollywood storytelling, it is not the only
way; there are so many different stories to be told, and so many voices demanding
to be heard. I look forward very much to immersing myself in authentic African
storytelling.”

The Triggerfish Story Lab specifically called for uplifting, family-friendly stories.
Comedian David Kau says, “I’m looking forward to helping unearth new African
talent in animation, and telling stories from Africa that will show the world that
there’s an Africa beyond the genocide, Aids, corruption and dictatorship that’s the
daily gospel of most news outlets.”

Triggerfish will be investing up to R44 million over the next three years in The Story
Lab, which aims to give Africa’s most talented storytellers and filmmakers the
opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Triggerfish’s international network of
mentors. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into
episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

The selected Story Lab participants will receive two weeks of mentoring with key
studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California, as
well as workshops in Cape Town with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar
Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.

The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of
development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert
guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route
to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris
Endeavor.

Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel
internationally, with Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and
Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over
27 languages.

“The overwhelming response we’ve received shows the depth of storytelling talent
in Africa,’ says Anthony. “We’ll be announcing a shortlist of about 20 storytellers in
October 2015.’

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops in November 2015 before
making their final pitches, after which Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab
participants in December 2015.

For more information, visit Trigger Fish’s
website
.

The Writing Studio helps writers prepare for The Triggerfish Story Lab

The Writing Studio will be doing an exclusive one-on-one workshop with writers who would like to get their concepts ready for The Triggerfish Story Lab.

The Triggerfish Story Lab was launched with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry and The Walt Disney Company. Aimed at selected storytellers whose potential concepts will be developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market, Triggerfish is conducting a continent-wide search for storytellers. These storytellers will be carefully selected, based not only on the creative and commercial merits of their concept, but also on their track record. The Writing Studio will be working with writers on their concepts to get them ready for the August 31 deadline.

The Write Idea is a one-on-one workshop, comprised of six one-on-one sessions, taking place from 3 August to 25 August, with final concepts to be submitted to Triggerfish individually before 31 August 2015. The one-on-one sessions will take place at The Writing Studio in Green Point, Cape Town and can also be done online.

The writers will explore the animation genre and will develop their premise, concept, theme and statement of intent, the characters who will live in their story, the line of action, and then write a four page outline that will be submitted to Triggerfish before the 31 August deadline.

Entries will be evaluated by a high-profile panel of both local and international experts, including British director and co-founder of Aardman, Peter Lord (Chicken Run, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists); Hollywood writer, Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King); script consultant, Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact); and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

Full guidelines and an online application form are available on the Triggerfish website.

Following submission the writers whose concepts are selected will attend a free two-week workshop at the beginning of November 2015 with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter, and Karl Iglesias, a celebrated Hollywood story analyst and development executive.

Final pitches for Story Lab will take place on 13 November and selected candidates will then visit Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, Los Angeles, early in 2016 and receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives.

The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavour.

For more information on The Write Idea one-on-one workshop, email info@writingstudio.co.za

Triggerfish Story Lab to launch at DFM

Triggerfish is conducting a continent-wide search for storytellers, which will be launched at the Durban FilmMart (DFM), running from 17 to 20 July. After the international success of its first two feature films, Triggerfish Animation Studios is establishing The Triggerfish Story Lab with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and The Walt Disney Company.

“We are ready to bring a fresh voice to the world,’ says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish. “We believe there is extraordinary talent in Africa and the Story Lab is the perfect way to partner with them.’

“The DTI is committed to developing a pool of creative talent that can produce international quality animation production scripts,’ says Nelly Molokoane from the DTI’s Film and TV Incentives Unit, adding that the department is honoured to support projects that will contribute to job creation.

Triggerfish will be investing up to R44m over the next three years in The Story Lab, which aims to give Africa’s most talented storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Triggerfish’s international network of mentors. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

Storytellers will be carefully selected, based not only on the creative and commercial merits of their concept, but also on their track record. The entries will be evaluated by a high-profile panel of both local and international experts, including British director and co-founder of Aardman Peter Lord (Chicken Run, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists), Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King) and script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact), and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.

“We are excited to be supporting Triggerfish on this innovative project,’ says Christine Service, senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “We believe the Story Lab provides a unique opportunity to discover this continent’s next generation of storytellers.’

The selected Story Lab participants will also receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California.

The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.

“The Story Lab will be a great catalyst for African creativity on the global stage,’ says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “We look forward to opening up the Triggerfish production platform and our networks to the continent’s top creative talent.”

Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.

Applications are welcome from all writing and creative disciplines, not just experienced film and TV screenwriters. Applicants must be over 21 and either African citizens or permanent residents. Entries must be in English. Entries close 31 August 2015.

Full guidelines and an online application form are available on the Triggerfish website.

Khumba wins audiences over in China

Khumba, the second animated feature from Cape Town based
Triggerfish has had over a million theatrical admissions in China, where it was
released on 31 December 2014. Known as Zebra Story to Chinese
audiences, the film entered the top ten at number five, grossing over $6 million to
date and out-performing US animated film The Nut Job which was
released the previous week.

Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest commented, “China’s box office is set to outrun the
US by 2020, so the fact that we are finding an audience there is fantastic. It is
encouraging to see the response which our films are getting internationally and it
confirms the direction in which we are going as a company, developing original
stories for a world-wide audience.’

The film, which follows the adventures of a half-striped zebra through the Great
Karoo desert, has also been popular with audiences in Europe performing strongly
in France, the Netherlands and Belgium where it remained in theatres for 21 weeks.

Triggerfish is currently in production on a Christmas special based on the popular
children’s book Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and
has a number of original properties in development.

Triggerfish presented with special recognition award

Triggerfish Animation Studios received a special recognition award for Global Reach
at the Premier Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards, which took place at the Cape
Town International Convention Centre in November 2014. The awards were handed
out by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, and Western Cape Minister of Economic
Opportunities, Alan Winde.

The award is in honour of the animation studio’s contribution to creating global
awareness about South African products. Two of Triggerfish’s feature films,
Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, have had
theatrical releases in almost every major market including Russia, China, France,
Australia and the UK. They are the two highest grossing independent animated films
of all time in the Netherlands and are among the highest grossing South African
films to date. Both films were created with NFVF development and production
funding, and were financed with the assistance of the Industrial Development
Corporation.

Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest says, “These first impressions can have a favourable
impact on the next generation of overseas tourists, investors and trading
partners.’
Triggerfish are currently working on three new feature films and in production on a
TV special, Stick Man, which airs on BBC1 on Christmas Day 2015.

Triggerfish Animation Studios to be represented by international media agency

William Morris Endeavor (WME), an entertainment talent agency with offices in the US and London, has signed Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios as one of its representations. The agency represents artists and content creators across various media platforms including film, television, music, theatre, digital and publishing.

Currently developing their third animated feature, Sea Monster, Triggerfish is known for producing successful animated features (Adventures in Zambezia, Khumba) as well as US and South African versions of Sesame Street. WMA will offer Triggerfish access to valuable networks as well as opportunities in advertising, marketing and brand integration.

Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish, recently returned from meeting with the agency in Los Angeles and concluded: “In an industry that relies deeply on relationships, having access to high-level networks is a big breakthrough for a company like ours who have been working in relative isolation for so long. We’re moving into the next phase of our long term strategy and for any globally-focused company, it’s all about having access to the very best relationships in the business.’

Triggerfish plans for a five-film slate

Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation has secured funding that will be used to
develop the first phase of five new animated feature films, expansion of the studio’s
digital department and exploration of new concepts, apps and games.

Jean-Michel Koenig, CFO of Triggerfish, secured the deal with Business Partners’
Venture Fund, a specialist risk finance company for formal small to medium
enterprises in South Africa and select African countries.

Says Koening: “We are very pleased with the confidence Business Partners has
placed in us as we look to invest further into our development slate.’

Based on the success of previous films, Adventures in Zambezia (Sony International
Acquisitions) and Khumba (Millennium Entertainment) work on two films
selected to go into development, Here be Monsters and Seal Team (working titles),
has already begun.

The company’s first venture into animating human characters begins with Here Be
Monsters, a story of a boy and a sea monster. Written by Raffaella Delle Donne, who
worked on both of Triggerfish’s previous films, the movie was selected for the
Creative Focus pitch at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France.

The script for another animated feature, Seal Team, is currently being written by
Brian and Jason Cleveland of CMG who handled world sales on Triggerfish’s previous
films. The action-comedy features a group of Cape fur seals going up against their
natural enemies: great white sharks.

Triggerfish aims to release one film a year starting in 2016, with a focus on producing
movies with universal messages for all ages.

Visit: www.triggerfishstudios.com for more information.

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