As seen on Discop, April 14, 2017. Post by Juan Romero

Pockets of animation excellence exist across Africa.  In boutique studios, bedrooms and garages, animation enthusiasts and professionals have been fastidiously scribbling their ideas on paper, transferring them to their PCs and frame-by-frame piecing together their unique stories with the aspiration of someday being able to see their artworks flicker on screen alongside the household names of global animation.

Now those aspirations are one step closer to being realised with the news that Annecy is coming to Africa… and African animation is going Global!
In¬†a succession of international exchanges;¬†Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA (Annecy MIFA),¬†DISCOP Markets¬†and the¬†African Animation Network (AAN)¬†have partnered to create the first-ever¬†Pan-African¬†animation pitching competition called¬†Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde.

Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde¬†will comprise 2 rounds of¬†semi-finals; the first at¬†DISCOP Abidjan (30 May ‚Äď 1 June 2017)¬†and the second at¬†DISCOP Johannesburg (25 ‚Äď 27 October 2017). ¬†The¬†top 6 projects¬†from¬†DISCOP Abidjan¬†will compete against the¬†top 6 projects¬†from¬†DISCOP Johannesburg¬†in the¬†Grand Finale¬†to be held at¬†DISCOP Johannesburg. ¬†In the¬†Grand Finale¬†these 12 projects will compete to be the¬†best 2 projects¬†in¬†Africa.

The top 6 Semi-finalists from DISCOP Abidjan will have their  accommodation and accreditation costs to attend the Grand Finale at DISCOP Johannesburg covered by DISCOP Markets, whilst the 2 pitches adjudged as the best of the Grand Finale will receive automatic entry into Animation du Monde 2018 at Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA including 5 nights’ accommodation and MIFA accreditations for each of the winning contestants courtesy of Annecy/MIFA.  Aspirant competitors for the first round at DISCOP Abidjan will be able to register their project online via the DISCOP Africa website from 6 April to 9 May 2017.

“Annecy/MIFA represents the absolute pinnacle of our craft.  Competing in Animation du Monde is the animation equivalent of participating in the Olympics.  In Africa, we’ve long held that we have beautiful and unique stories to tell the rest of the world.  

This is a tangible opportunity to find the very best¬†African¬†animation projects in development,¬†mentor¬†them, and give them an opportunity to¬†compete¬†against their¬†global¬†counterparts whilst telling the world our stories.‚ÄĚ

Nick Wilson (Project Manager, African Animation Network)

In an unprecedented move,¬†DISCOP Markets¬†will be postponing all categories of their regular pitching competitions in favour of¬†Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde.

Patrick Zuchowicki, Director of DISCOP, elucidates; “We have witnessed firsthand the phenomenal momentum the African animation industry has been building and we would like to place a focus on it for 2017.  

In partnering with¬†Annecy/MIFA¬†and¬†AAN, we are able to offer the¬†African animation industry¬†an incredible opportunity to bridge with the¬†global animation community. ¬†This is a¬†unique offering¬†and we encourage all¬†African animation professionals¬†to participate.‚ÄĚ

Allied to the¬†Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde¬†competition;¬†Annecy/MIFA,¬†DISCOP¬†and¬†AAN¬†will be running a¬†skills development programme¬†hosted by¬†international experts¬†at both¬†DISCOP¬†markets called¬†Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Animation du Monde ‚Äď Skills Programme. ¬†

There will be 2 streams of skills development; a series of workshops exclusively for the participating semi-finalists, and masterclasses which will be open to all DISCOP attendees.

Geraldine Bach√©,¬†Head of Projects MIFA, coordinator of the¬†MIFA ‚Äď Animation du Monde¬†label, elaborates; ‚ÄúFor two years now, the¬†MIFA ‚Äď Animation du Monde¬†programme has enabled us to go out and meet young talents. ¬†Most of them have been¬†self-taught, yet they are¬†resourceful,¬†motivated¬†and full of¬†energy. ¬†

Lacking a local structure (animation school and/or industry), it’s difficult for them to progress, or even just simply exist. Highlighting their work during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market/MIFA is a way for us to help them get the ball rolling.

In order to take them one step further, we have initiated on-site¬†workshops¬†that bring them customised¬†expertise¬†on a couple of fundamentals:¬†writing¬†and¬†storyboarding.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúJoining forces with¬†DISCOP Markets¬†and¬†AAN¬†is an amazing opportunity and a unique occasion to¬†unite¬†the entire¬†African territory, discover several new¬†talents¬†and follow through on our commitment to¬†support emerging creatives.‚ÄĚ

Animation professionals¬†are encouraged to take advantage of the early-bird¬†50% discount rate¬†for¬†DISCOP Abidjan¬†registration (valid until 8 May) by contacting¬†Nick Wilson. ¬†Anyone who purchases a producer accreditation and is subsequently confirmed as a semi-finalist in the¬†Annecy ‚Äď MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde¬†competition will be¬†reimbursed.

Over-and-above the pitching competitions, workshops, and masterclasses; registered producers will have access to the DISCOP networking portal where they will be able to coordinate one-on-one meetings with over 200 acquisition and commissioning executives at DISCOP Abidjan and over 500 at DISCOP Johannesburg.

Furthermore, African animation associations and initiatives are invited to take part in the African Animation Network Conference; which, as an open platform for them to present their respective industries’ and projects to all DISCOP Markets attendees, will celebrate African animation diversity.
With the news reverberating across the continent, a fragmented African animation industry is coming together and walking to the rhythm of its own drum.

Register for Annecy – MIFA Animation du Monde DISCOP Abidjan here. 

Access the Press Release HERE

Sourced from DISCOP Africa | Published 5 April 2017