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Netflix sponsors African story lab

It’s boom time for African animation as Triggerfish and Netflix team up for another opportunity for new talent to advance their careers

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Netflix is sponsoring a pan-African Story Artist Lab, to be run by acclaimed Cape Town-based studio Triggerfish. The studio has announced a call for applicants who, if successful, 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. 

The Story Artist Lab builds on the success of the 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, 23 July 2021 at https://www.triggerfish.com/storyartistlab/. They must be available full-time for three months from August 2021; remote working is encouraged. 

Triggerfish is a premium content animation studio based in Cape Town and Galway.  The 25-year-old studio is currently producing three Africa-set TV series: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix; Kiya for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+; and the anthology Kizazi Moto, for Disney+. 

The studio 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. 

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