Triggerfish Launches Pan-African Story Artist Lab Backed by Netflix

Cape Town-based animation studio Triggerfish has announced their call for entries for a pan-African Story Artist Lab, sponsored by Netflix.

Shortlisted applicants will have three months of paid skills development with international industry experts. Nathan Stanton, a story artist on Oscar-winning features like Brave, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., will lead the training program.

Sponsored by Netflix and produced by Triggerfish, The Story Artist Lab builds on the success of their Mama K’s Team 4 all-female writers lab, which saw nine African women placed in the writing room for the first animated Netflix series from Africa.

“Story artists translate screenplays into animatics, the loose first version of the movie that then shapes every step of animation that follows,” says Tendayi Nyeke, Triggerfish’s Zimbabwean-born development executive. “So having skilled story artists from the continent in control of how their stories are told is a gamechanger, not only in grooming the next African directors but also in giving pre-production artists the opportunity to establish their own voice as they bring African stories to life.”

African citizens with concept art and/or storyboarding portfolios can apply until Friday, July 23, 2021 at Applicants must be available full-time for three months from August 2021; remote working is encouraged.

Tendayi Nyeke and Nathan Stanton
Tendayi Nyeke | Nathan Stanton

Triggerfish featured prominently at Annecy International Animation Film Festival last week, winning the 2021 Mifa Animation Industry Award for the “pioneering role that the company has played in animation in South Africa, and Africa most widely.”

Recent initiatives to develop the African animation industry include 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+, as well as the free Triggerfish Academy online training course. The South African outfit is also the lead studio on the upcoming Disney+ African animation anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.

Triggerfish’s first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, sold nine million cinema tickets globally. The 25-year-old studio also produced the upcoming feature Seal Team, starring Oscar winner J.K. Simmons and Emmy winner Matthew Rhys; and animated the Academy Award-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations produced by Magic Light Pictures (2021 Annie Award winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy winner Zog, BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man, Rose d’Or winner The Highway Rat).

Triggerfish also services AAA-rated and mobile games for the likes of Electronic Arts, Unity and Disney Interactive, and is developing a diverse slate of film and television projects for most of the world’s biggest studios.

Stick Man production image
Stick Man production image (Magic Light Pictures/Triggerfish)


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