Local studio just keeps winning
Multiple award-winning South African film and entertainment company Triggerfish Animation added to its considerable award tally by clinching three more, on three continents, last weekend.
The studio’s animated adaptation of Revolting Rhymes, a classic book of surprising fairytales written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, won the best storytelling award at the Shanghai International Film and TV Festival in China, then the best animation award at the World Banff Media Festival in Canada, as well as the Cristal Award for the best TV production at Annecy in France, the world’s premier animation festival.
When asked whether he was expecting these awards, Triggerfish chief executive Stuart Forrest said: “We did well last year and we knew that what we delivered was even better than last year, so we thought we had a reasonable chance.”
The team won at Shanghai last year with Stick Man, an adaptation of the classic kids’ book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The 26-minute story sees Stick Man go on an epic adventure across the seasons. The animated short film has won 11 international awards to date.
Creating animation in South Africa has its own set of challenges, according to Forrest.
“The industry is still young, so there is a skills shortage. We are quite limited with the number of projects we can take on because we just don’t have enough people to really scale. Across the board it is a talent-driven industry, and the talent is definitely here, but it is not as big as in other countries.”
Founded in 1996, Triggerfish is located in Cape Town and has made two of the highest-grossing South African films of all time: Adventures in Zambezia (2012), starring Abigail Breslin and Samuel L Jackson; and Khumba (2013), starring Jake T Austin, AnnaSophia Robb and Liam Neeson.
The studio employs 85 people, and it took 65 of them to work on Revolting Rhymes alone to make it happen. The show consists of two half-hour segments. The animation premiered on BBC One on Christmas in 2016.
Forrest said their next project was another Christmas animation for the BBC, and they were also waiting to start on another feature film, the details of which he chose to keep under wraps.
A scene in Revolting Rhymes