• Triggerfish wins Mifa Animation Industry Award; previous winners include Aardman & Illumination
• “We’ve been very fortunate to come of age in a time when the world really is looking for other voices.” Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest.
Annecy International Animation Festival has awarded Triggerfish the Mifa Animation Industry Award.
“This is to highlight the pioneering role that the company has played in animation in South Africa, and Africa most widely,” says Véronique Encrenaz, head of Mifa.“
Previous recipients include Christopher Meledandri, founder of Illumination (Despicable Me); the co-founders of Aardman, Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Grommet); Marc Bonny, the creator of Gebeka Films (My Life As A Courgette); Eric Beckman, founder of GKIDS (Wolfwalkers); and Women in Animation (WIA).
Handing over the 2021 award to Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest, Véronique celebrated the studio’s animation, which she says has “already earned a constellation of prizes.” Triggerfish’s first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, sold nine million cinema tickets globally. Triggerfish also produced the upcoming 2021 feature Seal Team and animated the Academy Award®-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations such as the 2021 Annie Awards winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy winner Zog, the BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man, and the Rose d’Or-winningThe Highway Rat, all produced by Magic Light Pictures.
Véronique praised the way Triggerfish had helped with “structuring an industry to give all its professionals support”, playing key roles in setting up key pillars of the animation industry in South Africa, like the industry association AnimationSA; the showcase and networking event AnimationXchange; and The Cape Town International Animation Festival, originally called Kunjanimation. She also pointed to their support of The Animation School, both through bursaries and in taking on so many of their graduates.
In addition, Véronique acknowledged the impact of their free online course, Triggerfish Academy, and the Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African talent search that has already seen two series greenlit for the world stage: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix and Kiya for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+.
“I’m feeling so proud,” says Mike Buckland, head of production at Triggerfish, after watching Véronique’s video speech. “Sometimes you need a speech and a rabbit to remind yourself of how much you appreciate your partners and your team. Thanks to everyone who’s helped get us where we are.”
“We’ve been very fortunate to come of age in a time when the world really is looking for other voices,” says Stuart. “We know animation has a unique ability to cross boundaries, so we’re so excited to share the new wave of groundbreaking African creatives with the world.”
At Annecy 2021, Triggerfish also announced a pan-African Story Artist Lab sponsored by Netflix, and partnered with Women in Animation on the Women In Animation World Summit, themed “The Business Case For Diversity” and taking place on Monday, 14 June 2021. Disney+ also announced that Triggerfish would be the lead studio on the pan-African animated anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, which brings together a new wave of animation stars to take you on a wildly entertaining ride into Africa’s future. Inspired by the continent’s diverse histories and cultures, these action-packed sci-fi and fantasy stories present bold visions of advanced technology, aliens, spirits and monsters imagined from uniquely African perspectives.
Watch Veronique announcing the 2021 Mifa Animation Industry Award: