The Annecy International Animated Film Festival will be underway in just three weeks. A ‘comic-con’ of sorts for animation fans, it’s fair to expect that the venue will be star-studded, with sneak peaks, exclusive previews, and even entire panels devoted to upcoming projects from big-name studios. That being said, it’s also a celebration of animation talent from all over the world and nowhere is that more evident than the subject of this article.
Courtesy of Cartoon Brew, a team of artists from South Africa (known as the Blue Forest Collective) are putting together a hand-drawn feature titled Kariba. The project will be pitched as a short film, where it will compete at Annecy’s MIFA market as part of a call for entries from South Africa.
The project has already gained some online recognition with their proof-of-concept teaser trailer for the project (which racked up 150,000 views after just three days of being on the web).
You can watch it here:
Right off the bat, you can see why this got so many views: it is a gorgeous piece of 2D animation, with a fluidity and motion that rivals that of some of today’s top-notch anime. Using a combination of TVPaint and Photoshop (with After Effects, Softimage XSI, and Toon Boom for the underwater shots and water effects), Blue Forest Collective may have proven (in roughly a minute and a half, no less) what Cartoon Saloon’s Tomm Moore had stated about 2D animation: that time away from the big screen has prompted the medium to evolve and reinvent itself.
The plot of Kariba is described as a “modern African fairy tale” that centers around the troubled construction of the real-life Kariba Dam in the mid-to-late fifties and the fantastical element (in the form of a river spirit from local legend) that causes its destruction.
The Blue Forest Collective is comprised of four individuals: Daniel Clarke, Jack Hamman, Charl Collocott, and Daniel Snaddon. Clarke is the director of the project and has worked within South Africa’s animation industry as a concept artist and production designer.
Snaddon further elaborated on the inspiration and the general goal behind the project, stating here: “We are using the rich history and mythology around this event,” Snaddon said. “Our aim is to make something that stands out as being uniquely African, a film that respects both its source material, and its audience, while being hugely fun and entertaining.”
If picked as the winner at MIFA, the team will get to collaborate with an unnamed French animation studio to realize the project. “This would be a great opportunity to test the team, the pipeline, and create a more meaty proof of concept before we tackle the feature,” Snaddon told Cartoon Brew.
The team will also be exploring funding possibilities, as the the budget required to make the feature film will total out at least $12 million: “We have a couple of soft funding options we’re going to explore, including the National Film and Video Foundation, and our Department of Trade and Industry, who have some very competitive rebate packages for film production. We’re also talking to local producers and backers to see who has an appetite to take on something like this, but creative control is paramount to us, so it would be a case of finding the right partner.”
The team hopes that they can get together with a European partner on the project (through MIFA or otherwise): “Countries like France, Ireland, Denmark and Spain have shown an explosion of really exciting young talent in the past 10 years,” says Snaddon, “and we’d love to see what this new generation of 2D animators could bring to Kariba.”
You can view some concept images from Kariba down below (courtesy of Cartoon Brew):
What do you think? Are you interested in Kariba?
Edited by: Kelly Conley