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Success for SA Animation at Annecy: first French/South African animation coproduction & awarded films

MUSI & CUCKOO: first French/South African animation coproduction

It’s been a breath-taking week for the South African delegation to the 40th Annecy International Animated Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious calendar event for the animation industry in France. Tim and Candice Argall from Bugbox Animation made industry history with the first South African/French animation coproduction for their preschool series MUSI & CUCKOO (78x7min), which will be produced with Valence-based studio Folimage.


Bug Box










Bugbox and Folimage signing their deal for MUSI & CUCKOO

This collaboration sprung from last year’s MIFA, in which Bugbox won residencies with Folimage and Vendome's Ciclic animation cluster for their pitch at the Animation du Monde pitch focus. The development process of Musi & Cuckoo had been made possible thanks to the collaboration between MIFA - the International Animation Film Market (Annecy) - and the French Embassy in South Africa as part of their ongoing support to develop cooperation between French and SA Animation.

Following a visit of the French partners in South Africa in 2015, French Animation consultant Christophe Erbes worked closely with Bugbox for 7 months to mentor the project development. Additionally, BugBox benefited from two residencies in France at Folimage (February 2016) and at Ciclic (May-June 2016). Along the way, Michel Nicolas, Folimage DG, has been seduced by Musi & Cuckoo project and motto “Better together”, and decided to be involved as a co-producer.

Independent writer Clea Mallinson closed the loop with her own win at 2016’s Animation du Monde pitch focus. She has been offered a residency at Ciclic Animation for her short film pitch, FAIRY WHEELS.

“Animation SA extends our thanks to the National Film and Video Foundation for supporting our delegation this year,” said Julia Smuts Louw, head of Marketing and Communications for the industry NGO. “A huge thanks also to Veronique Encrenaz and MIFA for their year-on-year support of our growing industry, and to Frédéric Chambon of the French Institute of South Africa for his tireless efforts in furthering our relationship with the French animation industry.”

"We are delighted to see that our investment in the animation industry is bearing fruits,” said Joy Mawela, head of production and development at the NFVF. “This success is a testimony to the calibre of South African studios and the value of our presence at Annecy. We thank Institut Francais and MIFA for their faith and support, and look forward to continued dialogue and collaboration with France."

South African Awarded films

At Saturday night’s Annecy/MIFA awards, the team from Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town accepted the overall Cristal for best TV production, a category in which they competed with 25 other entries. The winning production by unanimous jury vote was the TV Special STICK MAN, produced in collaboration with Magic Light Pictures UK, which aired on BBC 1 this past Christmas.

Also a winner on the big night was Naomi van Niekerk, who won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for Best First Film for her sand-on-glass animation, ‘N GEWONE BLOU MAANDAGOGGEND, produced for ATKV’s Filmverse project.

Also of interest was this year' selection of Arid, a SA student film presented by the Animation School. This project has been made possible thanks to the collaboration between the French animation school Gobelins and the SA Animation School. In 2015, several teachers from Gobelins came to South Africa to work on end-year student films, including Arid.

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