After winning seven international awards and screening at over 60 festivals around the world, including its closing ceremony debut at the Annecy animation fest, CG animated short Belly Flop is now streaming on YouTube. The film hails from South Africa’s Triggerfish, which helped animate the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaption Revolting Rhymes.
Directed by Jeremy Collins and co-directed by Kelly Dillon, Belly Flop is the story of Penny, a fearless young girl learning to dive, unperturbed by a talented diver who keeps stealing the spotlight. The five-minute short is based on an original screenplay by Dillon, which won an internal scriptwriting competition at Triggerfish in 2011.
“The character of Penny was inspired by a girl I au paired for when I was at university,” said Dillon. “I remember when she started taking swimming lessons, I admired her persistence in learning to dive properly, oblivious that she kept belly flopping. This short film has taken seven years, so being named Africa’s best animation really reinforces Belly Flop’s message that perseverance does pay off, eventually.”
“The process of making Belly Flop has been a lot like Penny’s day at the pool: a combination of perseverance, hard work and plain good luck,” said Collins. “We started production in 2015 and finished the edit in January 2018, which is why our credit roll is so long. With the exception of the first month – when fortune smiled on us and we suddenly had a full studio at our disposal – during the rest of production we worked with small teams, in short bursts between other projects. Thanks to Kelly and Anthony Silverston, Triggerfish’s head of development, we kept the momentum and maintained focus. I’m absolutely delighted by the response we’ve had from audiences all over the world, and I can’t wait to share our little movie with a wider audience, especially here at home.”
Belly Flop earned accolades including Best Animation at the Africa Movie Academy Awards last month, the Gryphon Award 6+ at the prestigious Giffoni children’s festival, Best In Show at Longwood Animation Festival, the Czech TV Audience Award at Zlin International Film Festival for Children and Youth, and the Children’s Jury award at Cinemira. It also screened at Academy-recognized festivals including Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Anima Mundi and Annecy.
Dillon is also the co-writer (with Marc Dey) of Ninja Princess, one of the winners of the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab. The series is now in development with Triggerfish and premiere global partners to be announced.
Collins is a freelance animation director based in Cape Town, who has over 20 years of experience in short-form animation and motion graphics.
Triggerfish’s upcoming projects include its third feature-length film, Seal Team. Learn more at www.triggerfish.com.