August 1, 2021

African animation cinema struggles to take off

It is one of its hidden virtues, Lake Annecy makes it possible to give birth to animated films. During the 60e edition of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and the International Animation Film Market (MIFA), which are held until Saturday, June 19 – both in Haute-Savoie and by Zoom, due to the Covid -19 -, the great sport is to go fishing for financing. The directors engage in “pitch” sessions to raise funds.

In search of 500,000 euros to complete his budget, but also co-producers, broadcasters, distributors and investors, the Nigerian filmmaker Stanlee Ohikhuare presented his feature film project online on Monday, June 14. Artifacts. A story of a 3D statue transferred from a Parisian gallery to a museum in Nigeria, where it is discriminated against by real African sculptures who consider it a vulgar false foreigner …

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His colleague Brian Olaolu Wilson, also based in Nigeria, tried his luck to find money for sthe series Animah’s Journey. A young girl discovers her village in fire and blood in northern Nigeria after a terrorist attack from Boko Haram. Animah hides in a forest, finds friends there and wants to free child prisoners.

More than twenty projects, mainly short films, from African filmmakers were thus presented. Because, in 2021, the African continent is in the spotlight at the Annecy Festival. A recent Nigerian feature film, Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters, by Adetayo, was screened there, to show what Nollywood has to offer to the world of animation.

Series and short films

In six decades, only 46 African films have reached the Grail of an official selection. This is also explained by the extreme rarity of the production of animated feature films. “For fifteen years, there has been only one feature film per year. It is a shame for a continent of 1.3 billion inhabitants! “, annoys Laza Razanajatovo, director of the Madagascar Short Film Meetings. Both television series and short films are an emerging market, although it is still far too fair to feed the entire continent. For its own festival, Laza Razanajatovo receives, each year, “35 animated short films, generally self-produced by young directors”.

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