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French and South African partners collaborate to support South African animation industry

By 29 June 2021No Comments

French and South African partners collaborate to support South African animation industry

Annecy International Animation Film Festival – 10 to 15 June 2019

South African startup innovation hub, the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) have strengthened their ties with international partners by signing official partnership agreements at the 2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The agreements are with Paris-based animation school, Gobelins, and the French Embassy in South Africa.

The objective of both of the agreements is to grow the animation industry’s skills pipeline by offering training, internships and scholarships to animators in Africa. It also presents the opportunity to enhance the linkages between African animation talent, producers, schools and institutions with their French counterparts.

Earlier this year, the Precinct’s Johannesburg-based Tshimologong Animation Studio opened its doors to 20 interns with hopes to further their understanding of visual development for high-end animation under the direction of recent Gobelins Masters graduate, Lesego Vorster. Co-designed in collaboration with Gobelins, the internship programme is focused on establishing authentic African aesthetics through appropriate referencing and understanding of design and storytelling fundamentals. Furthermore, the internship forms part of an active role in empowering black youth in a field which was previously relatively inaccessible to them.

The Tshimologong Animation Studio is strategically positioned as being between a finishing school and an internship. This gives interns first-hand experience on real-world projects, while still having the comfort of being able to use university methodology to strengthen their references as well as their workflow.

“The partnership with Gobelins offers interns strong support from one of the best schools in the world, not only in raising the standard and quality of the work to come out of the Tshimologong Animation Studio, but also to broaden the horizons of all interns,” says Lesego Vorster, Tshimologong Animation Studio Art Director.

“South Africa is a vibrant soil of young creativity. Talents are numerous, young and passionate, promise of a very bright future and the emergence of a powerful African animation.” says Cécile Blondel, Head of International Relations, Gobelins

The agreement with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the French Embassy in South Africa addresses training needs, scholarships, skills exchange and co-production opportunities. The NFVF will contribute up to EUR16,000 (R268 000) for a scholarship for the Gobelins “Character Animation and animated filmmaking – Master of Arts” qualification. The Animation School (SA) and Campus France will also fund this scholarship.

By joining forces, the two organisations aim to strengthen their support for the South African film and TV industry and to foster better cooperation between South African and French ecosystems in film, TV and new formats. The animation industry, because of its dynamism, creativity and international appeal both in France and in South Africa, is at the core of this new partnership. Both institutions aim to support and reinforce synergies between the respective markets and to promote consistency in the support of their development.

“South African animators have been creating soundwaves across international borders over the last decade and it’s essential that as the funding body mandated to ensure the development and growth of the film industry in South Africa, that we have partnered to create a scholarship with Gobelins. I look forward to a beneficial partnership that will see a significant step towards the further growth of the animation sector in South Africa” says Joy Mawela Head of Industry Development & Promotions. (National Film and Video Foundation) 

“As South Africa’s potential in the field of animation is undeniable, especially in the development and production of original content rooted in a strong Africanisation of imagery, we see the enhancement of our cooperation with NFVF as a great opportunity to expand opportunities for creators, to promote prolific cooperation, and to bring our two markets closer together using the complementarity of their assets” says Erika Denis, Regional Head of Media, Film & Music (French Embassy/French Institute in South Africa)

Gobelins, NFVF, the French Institute of South Africa, the Animation School and Campus France decided to grant the scholarship to Karien Benz.

Tshimologong’s Digital Lab Africa programme supports emerging talent in animation

Managed by Tshimologong, Digital Lab Africa is the first pan-African acceleration programme dedicated to creative content (animation, immersive content, gaming, music and web creation). As part of their mentorship programme, three DLA mentees are attending the Annecy Animation Festival: South African animator Lwazi Msipha (Project: Ringa Mzansi) and Kenyan animators Naddya Adhiambo (Project: Uzi) and Justus Macharia (Project: Baba).

“Annecy is a unique opportunity for DLA mentees to be immersed in the animation international ecosystem and meet top animation industry players. Also, partnering with the NFVF and the French embassy in South Africa in signing an agreement of this nature with the top animation school in the world, Gobelins, guarantees the quality of work our graduates will be producing ” says Lesley Donna Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Precinct and Director of DLA programme.

DLA mentees also have the opportunity to interact with their French and South African  mentors as they are all attending the festival: Stuart Forrest (Triggerfish Animation, SA), Lesego Vorster (Tshimologong Precinct), Isaac Mogajane (Diprente Film), Marie-Anne Fontenier (Nef Animation) and Eric Réginaud (Ciclic Animation). 

More about Tshimologong Precinct, Digital Content Hub and DLA

The Tshimologong Precinct, founded by Wits University is cultivating a “Silicon Valley” in Johannesburg that aims to realise African digital innovation for global markets. Its ecosystem propels entrepreneurship and grows the skills pipeline for the digital economy through collaboration with academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs. Driven by common goals, including the desire to combine technology, innovation and creative content, Tshimologong and the French Embassy in South Africa have joined forces to create a Digital Content Hub – DCH – and integrate and sustain the existing Digital Lab Africa Programme – the first support programming for the production of digital content across sub-Saharan Africa initiated in 2016 by the French Embassy in South Africa. The DCH is the first project from cultural industries in Africa to have obtained funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) since the extension of their mandate to these sectors. The project obtained a grant of 950,000 euros over 3 years.

More about Agence Française de Développement

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) funds, supports and accelerates the transitions to a fairer and more sustainable world. Focusing on climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban development, health and governance, AFD carry out more than 4,000  projects in France’s overseas departments and territories and other 115 countries. In this way, AFD contributes to the commitment of France and French people to support the sustainable development goals.

More about Gobelins

For almost 50 years, GOBELINS, l’école de l’image has been a global reference in the fields of digital communication, interactive design and entertainment. Renowned as one of the best schools in the world, GOBELINS offers courses in Photography, Animated Filmmaking, 3D Animation, Motion Design and Video Gaming. GOBELINS is a school of the Chamber of commerce and Industry of Paris Île-de-France.

More about the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture that was created to ensure the equitable growth of South Africa’s film and video industry. The NFVF does this by providing funding for the development, production, marketing and distribution of films and also the training and development of filmmakers. In addition, the NFVF commissions research and produces industry statistics that provide both the public and stakeholders with valuable insights into the South African film industry.

More about the French Embassy/French Institute of South Africa

As the cultural agency of the Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) is the operator of the cultural action of France abroad, one of 96 institutes in the world. IFAS organises and supports artistic events and scientific projects throughout the country. Of these, the audiovisual projects develop links and long-term partnerships between the South African and the French cultural industries in the fields of innovation, training, storytelling, production, distribution, professional markets, public policies and regulation frameworks.

More about Campus France

CampusFrance is an international student mobility agency promoting higher education in France. CampusFrance is overseen by two ministries: The French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs. It strives to promote university cooperation between French tertiary institutions and those based abroad. CampusFrance offers guidance to prospective students, supports and hosts international students and researchers in France, and manages the French government scholarship programme.

More about the Animation School

The Animation School known to be the best animation school in Africa has been in partnership with Gobelins since 2013 and together they have facilitated many collaborative projects to benefit institution, teachers, exchange students and now post graduates. The most recent partnership, a post graduate scholarship, provides a select graduate from The Animation School to enter the prestigious Master of Arts animation program at Gobelins based in Paris for 2 years. The Animation School promotes and supports African animation development and together with the global leaders in animation education, Gobelins, can equip postgraduate students with the skills they require to develop the African animation industry and build international relations in the animation industry. The Animation School contributes EUR5,000 per annum towards the scholarship program to drive this initiative forward together with the French Embassy/French Institute, Campus France and The National Film and Video Foundation. 

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