Khumba, the second feature from the South African animation studio Triggerfish, is a wondrous and slightly deranged story about oddballs embracing their differences. The titular young hero is a South African zebra who is born half-white in a gated community of chicly striped peers. The superstitious zebras conclude that Khumba is the cause of the drought that follows his birth. For them, no stripes mean no rain. Read more…
By MIRIAM BALE
Published: December 5, 2013
This week, Americans get to meet Khumba when the movie releases in theatres for an Oscar-qualifying run. Ahead of its DVD release Jan 14th, audiences can see the film at a special one-week engagement in the Quad Cinema in NYC and at the Music Hall in LA.
Finweek recently sat down with Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. Read the full conversation here:
He’s the governing force behind the highest-grossing SA-owned film since the Eighties, and his production company just secured the development funding for two films as part of a five film slate, which we reckon makes him one of the most successful producers in the country, if not the entire continent. We spoke to Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest about the South African film industry, pitching to venture capital firms (VCs) and the one piece of advice he’ll give to anyone who will listen.
The official Khumba soundtrack by Bruce Retief is now available to buy. Find it at your nearest store or get it at Amazon or iTunes. Read the recent article on Bruce in Screen Africa to find out more about the talented composer behind the music:
Bruce Retief, composer of animated feature films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, released by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, produces albums and composes and arranges music for various artists in South Africa. However, these movies were his big break into composing film scores.
“I knew about the plans to make Adventures from Zambezia from early on, and I waited for a director, who turned out to be Wayne Thornley, to be attached to the project so I could send my music to pitch to him. Apparently I was one of 12 applicants, and Wayne chose me.
“It was my and Wayne’s first full feature so we walked a road together and discovered what we wanted as we went along. This process took two years! Wayne is the type of director who prefers to have examples shown to him to work from, so I would come up with an idea for a scene, play it for him, and he would give his comments and make suggestions and changes. Most of the time we agreed on the emotion that was required for the various scenes,” says Retief.
Khumba has been awarded TWICE at the International “Gold Panda” Awards! The film about a zebra from the Karoo who searches for his missing strips took home Best Overseas Animated Feature as well as the Grand Prize in a ceremony held in Chengdu, Sichuan, China on the 15th of November.
Triggerfish Celebrates Children’s Day
Triggerfish celebrated Children’s Day by inviting thirty young fans for a studio visit. The morning kicked off with a screening of the trailers for Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, then a couple behind-the-scenes videos with a clip showing the animators acting out some of the comedy scenes proving to be a real hit.
Riding on the success of their first two features, Adventures in Zambezia (Sony International Acquisitions) and Khumba (Millennium Entertainment), Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation has secured funding for the first phase of development for what aims to be a 5-film slate. The company continues to explore additional financing options and the possible sale of a stake to a strategic partner. Two of the films announced to go into development include Here be Monsters and Seal Team (working titles).
“We have a number of exciting properties in the pipeline,” says head of development Anthony Silverston, “But we’re particularly excited by these two highly original and exciting high concept stories. And although both stories have an ocean setting, they couldn’t be more different!”
Khumba animators and artists were invited to this year’s Kunjanimation Animation Festival 2013, to share their experiences at the Triggerfish studio with students, industry professionals and the general public in Johannesburg. This is the 3rd edition of the SA animation festival.
After a week of business-related Kunjanimation seminars, the last day appropriately rounded the festival off on a creative note with inspiring art-related discussions and seminars as well as the highly-anticipated Kunjanimation Exhibition – all hosted and catered for at the WITS School of Arts. The line-up included two talks on the making of Khumba.
Our CEO, Stuart Forrest, was invited this week to speak on a panel at DISCOP Africa. The panel on African Animation was shared with Strika CEO Richard Grenville, and EVCL founder Adamu Waziri, and moderated by Animation SA volunteer,and Khumba Animation Lead!) Daniel Snaddon. The panel explored some of the recent successes and ongoing challenges of animation in Africa. Asked what defined African animation, Forrest replied: “If it’s made in Africa, it’s African.”
The discussion highlighted the success of Zambezia worldwide, emphasising that the Triggerfish film was now the most successful South African owned film in thirty years. “If there is ever going to be a South African film that penetrates the mainstream cinema stage worldwide, it’s highly likely it’s going to be an animated film. Animation has the ability to transcend cultural barriers and overcome many of the challenges that face live-action films.”
Defending the use of Hollywood-based actors, Forrest acknowledged that the choice to go to Hollywood was difficult. “But considering that only 4% of our revenue model comes from Africa, we need to be thinking globally about how to make the product internationally as entertaining as possible. On Zambezia we auditioned 1,000 people from South Africa and 1,000 people from Hollywood, and we chose the voices that best fit the character we were casting for. In most cases, the Hollywood actors extensive experience shone through. “ Besides, South Africans will also be able to watch Khumba in Afrikaans or Zulu and Triggerfish aims to dub their films into more African languages in the future.
In a panel later that day, Copper Monkey director Charlie Frost used Khumba as a great example of a winning brand partnership, citing the Wimpy collaboration where the quick service restuaurant chain launched a highly successful campaign coinciding with the release of Khumba. Copper Monkey secured promotional partnerships for Khumba with Green Cross, Virgin active and Nal’iBali.