Pockets of animation excellence exist across Africa. In boutique studios, bedrooms and garages, animation enthusiasts and professionals are at work on paper and computers, piecing together, frame-by-frame, their unique stories with aspirations of some day being able to see their finished works on screen alongside household names of global animation. The Pixars, Disneys, Dreamworks, etc.
Now those aspirations are one step closer to becoming realities with the news that Annecy - one of only four international animated film festivals sponsored by ASIFA, the International Animated Film Association - is coming to Africa, as African animation prepares to go Global.
Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA (Annecy MIFA), DISCOP Markets and the African Animation Network (AAN) have partnered to create the first ever Pan-African animation pitching competition called Annecy - MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde.
Annecy - MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde will comprise 2 rounds of semi-finals; the first at DISCOP Abidjan (May 30 - June 1, 2017); and the second at DISCOP Johannesburg (October 25 - 27, 2017). The top 6 projects from DISCOP Abidjan will compete against the top 6 projects from DISCOP Johannesburg in the Grand Finale to be held at DISCOP Johannesburg. In the Grand Finale these 12 projects will compete, and the best 2 projects, will be selected to represent the continent, receiving automatic entry into Animation du Monde 2018 at Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA.
Nick Wilson, Project Manager of the African Animation Network, said; “Annecy/MIFA represents the absolute pinnacle of our craft. Competing in Animation du Monde is the animation equivalent of participating in the Olympics. In Africa, we’ve long held that we have beautiful and unique stories to tell the rest of the world. This is a tangible opportunity to find the very best African animation projects in development, mentor them, and give them an opportunity to compete against their global counterparts whilst telling the world our stories.”
In an unprecedented move, DISCOP Markets will be postponing all categories of their regular pitching competitions in favour of Annecy - MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde.
Patrick Zuchowicki, Director of DISCOP, explains the move: “We have witnessed firsthand the phenomenal momentum the African animation industry has been building and we would like to place a focus on it for 2017. In partnering with Annecy/MIFA and AAN, we are able to offer the African animation industry an incredible opportunity to bridge with the global animation community. This is a unique offering and we encourage all African animation professionals to participate.”
With the launch of the first ever Pan-African animation Annecy-backed competition called, it is suggested that a previously fragmented African animation industry is now coming together and walking to the rhythm of its own drum.
Annecy - MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde is open to producers from African countries.
To register for the opportunity to participate in pitch sessions, visit discopafrica.com/mifa/ for full details. You must register before May 9th, 2017 to be considered.