African animators' time has come. After being overlooked for decades, with traditional film a preference for investment, its commercial potential is starting to be tapped by advertising agencies, and artists are finding more opportunities to make a sustainable income from their creations.
A growing number of homegrown studios are developing and establishing themselves competitively so that animators, graphic designers and other artists no longer have to cross the world to work at high-quality studios.
Cartoons for children – like Bino & Fino, by Nigerian animation studio EVCL– are providing a more relatable reflection of the children they seek to entertain and educate
South Africa's Triggerfish is one studio that is shifting gears. In 2016, it will launch Triggerfish Story Lab, an 18-month mentorship programme for feature film and television scriptwriters with a R42m ($3m) prize partly funded by Disney. The venture marks another step towards creating and showcasing more diverse stories from across the continent.
Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu from Kenya and Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor's partnership on two features – Zahrah the Windseeker and The Camel Racer – has landed them on the shortlist.
Cartoons for children – like Bino & Fino, by Nigerian animation studio EVCL– are providing a more relatable reflection of the children they seek to entertain and educate. Even star duo P-Square have plans to dip their toes into animation with their cartoon for kids, The Alingos.
In October 2015, the second West African Gaming Expo was held in Lagos with the aim of developing more local talent and encouraging stories related to the environment in a city that is bubbling with animation studios.
In Cameroon, Kiro'o Games – Central Africa's first games studio – had a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund its debut, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan.
Gamers and game makers will be keeping an eye on its much-anticipated launch in the first half of 2016. ●