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Disney to back SA animation

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After the international success of its first two feature films, Triggerfish Animation Studios is establishing The Triggerfish Story Lab with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and The Walt Disney Company.

Triggerfish will be investing up to R44m over the next three years in The Story Lab, which aims to give Africa’s most talented storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Triggerfish’s international network of mentors. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

Triggerfish is conducting a continent-wide search for storytellers. These storytellers will be carefully selected, based not only on the creative and commercial merits of their concept, but also on their track record.

The entries will be evaluated by a high-profile panel of both local and international experts, including British director and co-founder of Aardman Peter Lord (Chicken Run, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists), Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King) and script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact), and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.

The selected Story Lab participants will also receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California.

“We are ready to bring a fresh voice to the world,” says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish. “We believe there is extraordinary talent in Africa and the Story Lab is the perfect way to partner with them.”

“We are excited to be supporting Triggerfish on this innovative project,” says Christine Service, senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “We believe the Story Lab provides a unique opportunity to discover this continent’s next generation of storytellers.”

“The dti is committed to developing a pool of creative talent that can produce international quality animation production scripts,” says Nelly Molokoane from the dti’s Film and TV Incentives Unit, adding that the department is honoured to support projects that will contribute to job creation.

“The Story Lab will be a great catalyst for African creativity on the global stage,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “We look forward to opening up the Triggerfish production platform and our networks to the continent’s top creative talent.”

The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.

Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.

Applications are welcome from all writing and creative disciplines, not just experienced film and TV screenwriters. Applicants must be over 21 and either African citizens or permanent residents. Entries must be in English. Entries close 31 August 2015.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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