16 October 2011

Kunjani'mation #1

What a weekend, with absolutely no room for anything but pride for the Southern African animation community. The Kunjani'mation festival is a collaboration between Animation SA and the French Institute of Johannesburg, aiming to put film makers from all over Southern Africa under one roof to really get a perspective of where we stand in this crazy industry.

Kicking off on Friday at the beautiful Alliance Française in Parktown with a screening of local and French short films, as well as a new feature film from France, "A Cat in Paris", the first evening was a show of force of the raw talent of South African animators, featuring Mike Scott's "We Come Together" music video, Martin Sen's "New Diggs" and the Black Heart Gang's "Tale of How".

The audience was then blown away by a selection of French Short films from the Annecy festival in France, followed by a new French animated feature, "A cat in Paris", a beautiful story about a cat who lives a double life between the houses of a thief and a police officer. 

It was a lovely night under the stars with good friends and seriously inspiring films. 

The contrast between SA and France put things in perspective for me, about where we stand in the global industry and the exciting potential we have as the South African animation Industry, but the serious amount of hard work we have to put in to push ourselves and our art to compete with an industry such as France(In my opinion the strongest industry in the world). I think a lot of animators who were there would agree with me on this, and I personally think we have the potential.
Alliance Française

Saturday opened up with an all South African  animation art exhibition coordinated by Shannan Taylor, featuring the work of such machines as Daniel Clarke, Ernst Du Plessis, Judd Simantov, Charl Smit, Shannan herself and many others. I had the honour of putting together the student section of the exhibition, featuring works by Kearatwa Sedidi, Nkanyezi Thabethe, Neo Moloto, Wandi Abrahamse and Myself. I also had the pleasure of exhibiting several sculptures, along with the set and puppets used in "We come together".

Student Work

Daniel Snaddon and Shannan Taylor at the Exhibition

The rest of the day was spent the way most animators like it: In the dark, staring at a screen watching and hearing awesome stuff, and of course, making stuff. The stuff in question that was made was not typical animator stuff, but stuff in the form of conversation and questions that have not been asked in our industry before. The workshops covered everything from business to students and schools, as well as how to throw together an awesome walk cycle on a tight dead line.

Speakers from Zimbabwe and Namibia showed off some of their work and gave some background on their industries, and it's really inspiring what a country like Zimbabawe is capable of despite their economic and political struggles. 

Representatives of Southern African animation, Namibia(Robert Scott), Animation SA(Canda Kincses) Zimbabwe(Solomon Maramba)


 The day ended with the final screening at Alliance, featuring more SA shorts, including Kentridge's "Felix in Exhile", followed by more mind blowing French shorts and finally the Triplets of Belleville. It's the first time I've seen it. My friends laughed at me, and now I understand why. What a treat.

All were welcome at the Alliance Screenings

Many many many thanks go to Daniel Snaddon of Animation SA, as well as the collaborators and co-conspirators at the Alliance Française. You guys pulled it off and made it look easy all at once, and if the pride I feel for our industry after this weekend is anything to go by, it was nothing short of a great success.

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