Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish for Magic Light Pictures, The Snail and the Whale premiered on BBC One at Christmas to four-star reviews and over 7.5m viewers. RadioTimes calls the 26-minute animation “visually spectacular… a lovely treat to watch as a family”.
This is the story of a tiny snail with an itchy foot, who travels the world on the tail of a great big, grey-blue humpback whale. It’s a tale of shimmering ice and coral caves, of shooting stars and enormous waves, and of how the snail, so small and frail, saves the life of the humpback whale.
The Snail and the Whale is directed by two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom) and multi-award-winning South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man). This is their second Donaldson-Scheffler collaboration, following on from the success of Zog, which earned the film gold stars everywhere from Shanghai International TV Festival to New York International Children’s Film Festival last year, not to mention nominations for International Emmy, Kidscreen, and Annie awards in 2020.
Says Snaddon: “For anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed, like the world is too big for you to make a difference, The Snail and the Whale is an encouragement that even though you feel small – and may even be small – what you do still matters. The important thing is to keep hoping and to keep trying.”
The Snail and the Whale is voiced by star British acting talent, with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins as Snail, Rob Brydon as Whale, Cariad Lloyd as Teacher and Dame Diana Rigg (Lady Tyrell in Game of Thrones) as the narrator.
“I Skyped in for the voice recordings,” says Snaddon. “As a kid from the Lowveld, Skype is a huge blessing because it stops you feeling too starstruck. I’m used to seeing Sally and Diana on screen, and they’re still just on a screen, so you can have a normal conversation.”
“The Snail and the Whale is a longstanding favourite in our house,” says Brydon. “It’s an epic journey across the globe, where the tiniest creature and the mightiest mammal experience the vastness of our planet together.”
“Both characters go on such a heart-warming, emotional and ultimately life-changing journey together,” says Hawkins. “It’s a very beautiful and important friendship for them both.”
The Snail and the Whale’s environmental theme particularly resonated with her. “The protection of our oceans is everything,” she says. “I hope this animation will inspire family audiences everywhere in helping to take care of our beautiful earth and its creatures for future generations and beyond.”
Snaddon first read The Snail and the Whale to his son Frank when he was still in utero. When Frank was born, “one of the first things he got was a lot of Julia Donaldson swag – he was the first kid to get a Zog plushie, as well as lots of Stick Man and Gruffalo stuff. He’s well-kitted out with the merch.”
The Snail and the Whale, as well as seven other family classics, are now streaming on Showmax.
SA takes to TikTok for coronavirus education
Local content creators are sharing their tips and tricks with a new #WashingHands challenge on TikTok.
Amid rising global concerns around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), South Africans are battening down the hatches to implement social-distancing as per the request of the President to stop the spread of the virus.
During this time of self-isolation, it is important that we remain educated and alert about the health and safety options available. Local content creators have stepped up to TikTok to share their own tips and tricks during these worrying times, some via the platform’s latest #WashingHands challenge.
The Ndlovu Youth Choir provides us with a few basic sanitary guidelines, while encouraging us not to panic or share false information.
There are already many dangerous myths about the Coronavirus. Here are some basic guidelines. Stay safe ❤️ ##coronavirus♬ original sound – ndlovuyouthchoir
Does 40 seconds feel like a lifetime of washing your hands? Aaron Perry shares a few steps with us to make washing your hands so much fun.
Junita gives us her own rendition of “Come on Eileen” while participating in the #WashingHands challenge. It’s so catchy, we can’t get it out of our heads.
As instructed by President Ramaphosa, The Kiffness encourages us all to make use of the ‘elbow greeting’ instead of shaking hands. We think this is going to catch on very quickly.
Lastly, Kelly_KiKx shares her tips for DIY hand sanitising should you not be able to find any at your local supermarket.
In addition to the helpful content being shared by local creators, TikTok South Africa has also teamed up with Red Cross South Africa and the Ndlovu Youth Choir to launch the #WashingHands campaign.
The campaign reiterates the importance of keeping your hands clean by encouraging users to create a video whereby they show themselves washing their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 40 seconds, while singing your favourite song.
Within the app, users have full access to an informational page that provides credible information from the World Health Organization and contains answers to common questions, offers tips on staying safe, and dispels some of the myths around COVID-19.
Primal – Premieres on Showmax
The first season of Primal, an animated show from the animator of Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, will premiere in April on Showmax.
From the creator behind the Emmy-winning series Samurai Jack, Genndy Tartakovsky, Primal follows a caveman at the dawn of evolution and a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. The two creatures, one on the way out and one on the way in, become each other’s only hope of survival in a treacherous world.
Primal has an 8.7/10 score on IMDB and a 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics consensus is, “Epic in every sense, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal is a stunning feat of visual storytelling.”
“Epic yet intimate, Primal is awash in eye-popping imagery,” says Hollywood Reporter. “Primal is vicious stuff. It’s a rarely pausing saga of bone-breaking, head-severing, tooth-extracting, face-smashing brutality… Tartakovsky has long been a distinctive force in TV animation and this is another winner, a spare storytelling experiment that plays like nothing else in the current landscape.”
The show will premiere on Showmax on 13 April.