South Africa’s Animation Sector Has French and South African Collaborators Working Together to Help It Grow

South Africa’s animator industry is getting support thanks to the National Film and Video Foundation, the French Embassy, and Gobelins, a prestigious animator institute in Paris.

At this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival, representatives from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa and the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct of the country’s entrepreneurial community signed formal collaboration contracts with organisations from across the world.

The French Embassy in South Africa and the Gobelins School of Animation in Paris Have Reached a Partnership

Both pacts are meant to increase the pool of qualified Africans working in the field of animation by providing them with opportunities for education and work experience. It’s a chance to strengthen ties across the French animation industry and its African equivalent in terms of skills, producers, colleges, and institutions.

The Development of a Truly African Style

Tshimologong Animation Studio, located in Johannesburg, opened its doors to 20 internships earlier this year to advance their knowledge of visual effects for advanced animations under the leadership of former Gobelins Masters graduate, Lesego Vorster.

The apprenticeship program, developed in tandem with Gobelins, emphasises the development of really African styles with the application of proper references and comprehension of the basic principles of art and narrative.

Additionally, work experience plays an integral part in giving African students a voice and a foothold in an area that has traditionally been closed to them.

Placed amidst a bachelor’s programme and an apprenticeship, Tshimologong Animation Studio is at an ideal location. Interns benefit from direct involvement in practical assignments while maintaining access to the tried-and-true academic methods they’ve grown accustomed to.

“The collaboration with Gobelins gives students substantial backing from one of the top educational institutions in the world, not only in increasing the level and calibre of the artwork that continues to come from the Tshimologong Animation Studio but also in helping in expanding the horizons of all interns,” states Lesego Vorster, Tshimologong Animation Studio Art Director.

“Young ingenuity thrives in South Africa’s fertile soil. “Talents are plentiful, young, and driven, promising an exciting future and the rise of a dynamic  African animation,” explains Cécile Blondel, Head of International Relations at Gobelins.

Collaboration for Success

The French Embassy in South Africa and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) came to a deal to facilitate education, scholarship possibilities, skill trade, and co-production.

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFVF) will provide up to R268 000 towards a scholarship to attend Gobelins’ “Character Animation and animated filmmaking – Master of Arts” programme.

This fellowship is co-funded by the Animation School (SA) and Campus France. Karien Benz is the recipient of scholarships from Gobelins, NFVF, the French Institute of South Africa, the Animation School, and Campus France.

Both organisations have joined forces to increase their assistance to the South African film and television business and to improve collaboration between the film, television, and emerging format communities in South Africa and France.

The animation business is at the centre of this newly established connection due to its vitality, innovation, and global popularity across France and South Africa. Each organisation has as its overarching goal the promotion of constant encouragement for the growth of its market while also bolstering interconnections between that market and others. As time goes on, South African animators become increasingly proficient.

A Funding Organisation must be Required to Foster the Continued Success and Expansion

The film industry in South Africa has collaborated with Gobelins to set up a scholarship, states Joy Mawela, head of Industry Development & Promotions. “South African animators have succeeded in producing vibrations through international borders throughout the last decade.”

I hope that our collaboration will be fruitful and pave the way for the expansion of the South African animation industry. Regional Head of Media, Film & Music (French) Erika Denis says, “As the promise of South Africa in the medium of animation is undisputed, particularly for the creation and production of original works that incorporate an influential Africanisation of mental imagery, we see the improvement of our collaboration with NFVF as an outstanding chance to create more possibilities for creators, to encourage active collaboration, and to bring our two audiences closer to one another employing the complementary qualities of their valuable assets.”