The African animation is booming thanks to ACPCultures+ Programme

The animated cinema industry has yet to fully take root in Africa, but it undergoing a period of rapid growth. Animators from all over Africa are still passionate, and their dedication is creating a small, but formidable industry with an ever-increasing fanbase. Audiences are becoming more accustomed to seeing an animated series produced by an African studio crossing their screens. The success of so many studios is, in no doubt, due to the veritable showcase of African heroes in television series, feature films and Internet animations. Thanks to this strategy, African studios have piqued the interest of international media as well as possible investors, who have discovered an emerging animation market. Private businesses have approached these same studios for advertising purposes, while certain institutions have employed them for awareness-raising campaigns. 

ACPCultures+ has assisted this development in the African animation through the implementation of two projects: “Afriqu’Anim’Action, développement d’œuvres audiovisuelles et formation de formateurs” (Afric'Anim'Action, development of audiovisual works and training trainers) and “Action ACP 3D”, carried out by Studio Malembe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and by l’Institut Africain du Management in Senegal, respectively.

“Until recently, African cartoons were not representative of Africa's cultural reality, folklore or way of life,” Michel Kibushi, of Studio Malembe, explained. “However, change is currently under way. Governments, production companies, studios and investors are all realising the power of the animation industry, and, like in Japan and China, are using this tool to make the sector, which has great economic potential, fruitful and change the world's perspective of Africa,” he concluded.

African animators are using the continent itself as a source of inspiration for their projects, as a way of telling African stories to a wider audience. But the animation industry is also providing a means of artistic expression and creating jobs for a number of Africa’s creative spirits.

The creation of local content is starting to bear fruit. Afrika Toon, one of the most productive Ivorian studios, broadcast Wê, l’histoire du Masque Mendiant in April 2016to great acclaim.

The African-created animations are starting to take over TV screens around the continent, like Tinga Tinga Tales, produced by Kenyan outfit, Homeboyz TV. Each episode of Tinga Tinga is inspired by Tanzanian art and traditional stories from African folklore. Nigerian animator Adamu Waziri's series, Bino et Fino, follows the daily adventures of two Nigerian brothers in the city of Abuja. The series was a smash hit, broadcast across several other African and western countries.

With the development of the African animation industry in Africa, we are noticing some structural problems. The lack of a creative space for animators to showcase their projects in a still underdeveloped market and strict financial constraints inhibit creative expression. “With the “Afirqu’Anim’Action”, our aim was to teach the next generation of animated film makers from all over Africa” Kibushi explains.

“Thanks to the funding received from ACPCultures+, we have been able to put in place a network of animated cinema coaches in Bujumbura and Kinshasa,” Michel Kibushi comments. “We were able to strengthen animators' creative and technical ability. Thanks to this training, we could promote the development of animated cinema businesses in central and eastern Africa. The films that have been created bring with them structural elements that will allow for more funding opportunities through producers and broadcasters,” he concluded.

The expected project results are mainly achieved:

- A project management team has been put in place (composed by 10 trainees that became trainers and experienced project managers and of 4 people for local administration);

- An animation chain has been created in Central and East Africa. This chain is composes by: scan checkers, pre-production teams, scan and gouache operators, chief animators / in-betweners, story-boarders and directors of animatic, plastic and volume moulders, engineers and animators were formed; the professionalisation of trainees is effective;

- After the end of funding, two short animated films were made by the team formed in the DRC and an animated series is being financed in Burundi following the action.

The training enabled the realization of nine animated short films addressing cross-cutting issues (gender, environment, citizenship); 8 short films were selected from more than 12 festivals.

As such, in two different African regions, projects financed by ACPCultures+ have clearly achieved their goal: channelling the existent talent in order to structure an industry. As Armel Pululu, an intern in the DRC, puts it “thanks to the training, I have realised that simply having talent isn't enough. You really need to know the job and the different steps involved in creating an animated film project”.


 For more "best practices" of the ACPCultures+ Programme, visit THIS PAGE

August 23, 2016
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