Triggerfish selects Story Lab shortlist

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South African animation film studio Triggerfish has shortlisted 23 feature films and 12 TV series in its US$3.5 million Story Lab initiative, which will see successful candidates from across Africa receive funding and mentorship to develop their film ideas into reality.

Disrupt Africa reported in July Triggerfish announced the launch of the Triggerfish Story Lab – run in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, and the Walt Disney Company -, through which Triggerfish promised to invest US$3.5 million in supporting African film content producers over the next three years.

Participants could see their ideas developed into episodic TV content, or an animated feature film for the global market.

In September applications closed for the initiative, with Triggerfish revealing it received 1,378 entries from storytellers and filmmakers from 30 countries across Africa and its diaspora.

A shortlist of candidates has now been selected, comprising 23 feature films and 12 TV series.  

Triggerfish had planned to select 10 films and 10 series for the shortlist, but said it increased the list based on the quality and quantity of applications.

“It was great to see that 40 per cent of our entries were by female writers, and there were a number of promising young writers as well as established authors and filmmakers, which made our final decisions very, very tough,” said Triggerfish chief executive officer (CEO) Stuart Forrest.

“Ultimately, the huge response that we received shows that there is a great desire for more African stories to be told, and we hope that the Triggerfish Story Lab will be able to kick-start this process.”

The shortlisted entries will attend workshops in Cape Town in November with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra; and vice president of content for animation, digital and acquisitions at Disney Channels EMEA, Orion Ross.

They will then make their final pitches to a panel of script and animation experts and development executives from Triggerfish and The Walt Disney Company.

In December 2015, Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab participants, who will start the new year with a two week immersion trip, including mentoring from key studio and television executives, at Disney’s headquarters in California.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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