Triggerfish and E4D aim to diversify next generation animators

Triggerfish and the German-funded Employment for Skills and Development in Africa (E4D) Programme have entered a new partnership.

Announced at the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF), this ambitious three-year partnership aims to expose 10,000 school leavers to the animation industry, empower 6,000 creatives with enhanced portfolios and market access, and create 200 more jobs.

At CTIAF, the partnership launched a free online course on editing for animation. This is now available on Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform that is opening up access to African animation industry experts. The course is presented by Kerrin Kokot, ​​animatic editor for a DNEG/Redefine animation series, who also worked in the editorial department on Triggerfish’s upcoming feature Seal Team and the Oscar-nominated short film Revolting Rhymes.

Kokot also presented an editing for animation workshop at CTIAF, alongside Clea Mallinson, who recently edited Sunrise Productions’ Jungle Beat – The Movie. This was one of four workshops that the Triggerfish-E4D partnership helped bring to CTIAF: Triggerfish producer Kaya Kuhn was part of a producing panel, moderated by Pixar alumnus Esther Pearl; Kay Carmichael presented the making of Troll Girl, her debut short film, produced by her production company Giantslayer Studios and Triggerfish; and Colin Payne, Triggerfish Academy’s CEO, presented a workshop on remote working best practices, reflecting on how Triggerfish shifted to become a remote work studio during the pandemic.

At CTIAF, the partnership also announced a 10-second animation competition for 18 to 35-year-olds. Prizes include a Wacom One graphics tablet and a 30-minute one-on-one session with Mike Buckland, head of production at Triggerfish. The entry deadline is midnight on 14 November 2021. For more information, go here.

“While so many businesses have been taking strain during the pandemic, the animation industry in Africa has been exploding,” says Triggerfish Foundation director Carina Lücke. “Among other recent breakthroughs for the African animation industry, Disney has ordered Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, Kiya, Iwájú, and Kiff; Netflix is in production on Mama K’s Team 4; Cartoon Network is airing My Cartoon Friend and has greenlit Garbage Boy and Trash Can; and YouTube has renewed Super Sema for a second season. So despite everything, there’s never been a better time to be an animator in Africa.”

Gavin Watson, the team leader for E4D, says they’ve identified animation as an industry sector that is attractive to young people and is growing fast. He adds that the opportunities for animation extend outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality.

The Triggerfish-E4D partnership will be capturing the learnings from both Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire and the Story Artist Lab. These will shape future modules on the free Triggerfish Academy digital learning platform, among other initiatives.

“We want to remove the gap between animation training and the animation industry so that our training is by industry experts and aimed at skills gaps identified by industry,” says Payne. “In the past animation had a high barrier to entry, but through free online training we are opening up both access to skills development and to the industry itself. We want to help build a diverse industry to tell their stories to the world.”

The partnership with E4D is one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators.