Kunjani'Mation: where French and SA animation cinema meet


Set in the broader context of the “International Month of the Animation” organised by the Institut français, Kunjani'Mation is a joint Franco-SA initiative that aims to provide a forum for animation artists of the two countries. Animation cinema is a vibrant industry in both France and South Africa, a fast-growing sector that carries important artistic and financial stakes. Wishing to address these two key-aspects – creation and finance – the organizers of this first edition of Kunjani'Mation have prepared a comprehensive program that will propose both public screenings of animation masterpieces and workshops for the industry's professionals. In this regard, a special partnership has been secured with the Annecy Animation Festival, a leading French animation event. Intofrench has met Daniel Snaddon, one of the Kunjani'Mation mastermind, to better understand the project.


1. How came the idea of the Kunjani'Mation project?

Kunjani'mation is a collaborative effort between the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), the Alliance française, the University of the Witwatersrand and Animation South Africa. The idea for the festival was born out of a couple of things: Firstly, the IFAS is exploring ways to create an exchange between France and South Africa in areas that are unique and draw on the strengths of each country. France is considered to have one of the most impressive and exciting animation industries in the world, and with South Africa's young animation industry reaching a critical point (we have made our first feature films) it's a great opportunity to start a conversation between our two countries.

2. Beside the films projections for the public, there will be a workshop for students and professional. What do you expect from this workshop?

The workshops are going to cover 3 different topics and are mainly geared towards animation students, professionals, though members of the public looking to learn more about our industry and activities would find it extremely enlightening. The workshops deal with animation production in southern Africa, the Annecy Animation Festival and adjacent animation market MIFA, and lastly, animation training and education. By inviting a variety of guests from France, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Cape Town, we hope to give the local animation community an opportunity to get new perspective on their own industry, those of our neighbours and also, a sense of being part of an accessible global community. We're really hoping that the conversations started here will lead to collaborations, international exchanges of people and ideas, as well as inspiration!

3. On a broader level, why is Kunjani'Mation important for the animation industry in South Africa?

It is really important that South Africans see the great animation that is being produced in this country, so that they can take pleasure and pride in it. It's important for us to understand that we are not isolated and that our neighbours share our passion for animation, and that we can learn from and collaborate with one another. It's important for us to learn as much as we can from more mature animation industries like France's, to see what others have done and to use it so see how we may think about telling our own stories. It's important for the Animation culture in South Africa to have events such as Kunjani'mation to celebrate our industry and to bring a love of animation to the city of Joburg!

Exciting screenings

Animation artists from SA and other neighbour countries (Zimbabwe, Namibia...) will thus attend the festival and some of their works will be screened – a rare occasion to see them since these films are seldom shown. The first screenings will be held on Friday the 14th of October at the Alliance française, with notably “The Tale of How”, Cape Town's “Black Heart Gang” last production. The screenings will resume after the workshops on Saturday the 15th with William Kentridge's short-film “Felix in Exile” among others. A screening of “The Triplets of Belleville”, a feature-length French favourite, will then close the first edition of Kunjani'Mation. See you there!

Text & Interview by Hadrien Diez