Writing about the implications of Netflix greenlighting Mama K’s Super 4, the first animated show from Africa on the streamer, we argued that more pitching initiatives and storytelling labs were the way to go in bringing creative projects to life.
We’re not alone in this thinking. Digital Lab Africa has been setting the pace for the last two years. DLA has put together a number of such projects across the continent that give creators the chance to pitch their ideas.
Digital Lab Africa (DLA) is a platform and a call for projects dedicated to creative content linked with innovation in Africa (web creation, virtual reality, video game, animation, digital music).
The objective of Digital Lab Africa is to provide a springboard to the creators of next-generation content and to make their project happen with the support and expertise of DLA ecosystem (studios, events, producers, broadcasters, distributors, experts, incubation venues) from French & Sub-Saharan African leading companies such as Lagardère Studios, ARTE or Triggerfish Animation.
Voting for this year’s DLA pitch competition has started and in true Squid fashion, we’ve listed below all the pitches centred around gaming and animation. We’ve also included Virtual Reality for its novelty and infinite possibilities for our favourite media.
The 10 winning projects (2 projects per category) are granted with a 42,000ZAR ($2965) cash prize and a Digital Lab Africa Incubation Pass to accelerate their project
Go through the pitches and vote for your favorite entries in this year’s Digital Lab Africa Pitch Competition. Deadline for voting is April 28th so hurry, hurry, hurry!
Previous DLA winners include Razahk Issaka (Man Must Chop – Ghana) for audience choice; Feben Elias (Dimbit – Ethiopia) and (Nwavu, the Blind Man – Mozambique) for animation; Mwaaba Alec Mugala (Project Lumpa – Zambia) and Alex Ynclan & T.T. Sibisi (Shadow Tongue – South Africa) for games. Check out the previous #DLA2 winners.
Herbbeings: The Mind Tea Leaf
Herbbeings: The Mind Tea Leaf is an animated film that proposes to combine the concept and tradition of African herbalism with the visual aesthetic of West African clay art. The story takes us through the journey of a shy young girl who overcomes her fears and ventures into the unknown to save her sick mother and her little town.
Little Little Orishas
A naive demigod wants to become King of Heaven… He just has to get through school first! Little Little Orishas is an Action/Afrofantasy animated series targeting high school goers. In a postcolonial society that is craving positive representation of the Black community, Little Little Orishas is a melting pot of African mythologies celebrating the richness and diversity of cultures across Africa.
Note: This was originally a comic titled Orisha Pikin by Vortex Comics and is an upcoming title at Comic Republic.
Archange Kiyindou Yamakasi, Republic of the Congo.
Baba (Swahili for Father) is a 3 min spoken word paper animation that deals with the complicated feelings that a young man at the prime of his youth has about his ageing father. Narrated in a four stanza spoken-word poem, each stanza details four stages of the young man’s life – birth, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood – and his consequent relationship with his ageing father.
Justus Macharia, Kenya.
Uzi is a 3 minute long 2d animated short about a perfectionist seamstress and her precocious daughter Kpokpo. The two of them are on a quest to make the world’s most beautiful dress, so they travel all over Kenya looking for finest materials for the garment. They hunt for raw silks, bargain for rare beads and gather fresh cotton until one day, Kpokpo notices a single thread dangling from her mother ’s dress. She gestures to her mother to fix it, and her mother impatiently grabs it, snips it, and they are on their way again. The pair don’t notice, but as their journey unfolds, the thread unravels longer and longer.
Naddya AdhiamboOluoch-Olunya for Sunflower Pictures, Kenya.
FROZILLA is an animated series which follows the misadventures of odd friends Lovemore (an innovative street vendor), Pasta Mike (a failed pastor), and Gogo (retired Shamaan), as they try to survive and thrive in a fictional African country. Set in the near future, our heroes must navigate a minefield of superstitions, crime, unplanned pregnancies, Foreign machinations, and corrupt state officials.
Komborerai Chapfika for Spectrum Studios, Zimbabwe.
Ringa Mzansi is an animated talk show that looks at contemporary world issues through a sharp lens of satire and comedy. Voiced by Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, our brazen host and his quirky team’s fresh take is done via interviews, commentary and sketches.
Lwazi Msipha for Old Fashioned Youngin, South Africa.
Wahenga – The Lost Ancestors
Set in a futuristic dystopian Africa after its peak as a superpower and after climate change has taken its toll, the last forgotten ancestor looks upon the world in despair and makes a last ditch attempt to save beloved Africa and in turn the world. Wahenga is a one player game adventure where the player assumes the role of the protagonist(s) in the interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle solving. The primary goal of the game is to restore balance to the world.
Salim Busuru for Avandu Vosi Ltd, Kenya.
Precious Cargo is a stylised African-based side-scrolling platformer, featuring a baby pangolin’s attempt to escape from poachers. The majority of the story plays out within the present day jungles of Central Africa, which the players must navigate in order to get Jua home. The goal of this game is to not only reveal the cruel tactics used by poachers, but also to bring awareness to the most highly trafficked animal that most people don’t know about.
Simone Beneke-Graham, Shannon Bennetts, Rowan Brough and Niall Graham for Falling Up Studios, South Africa
The potential of Africa rises but the dark corruption is still here dividing the people and causing disunity.The Ancient Spirit Riziki calls the Mzito to embark on there next journey. A journey to unite Africa using its diverse music rhythms and dance. Only together can we fight the dark corruption. Riziki is a rhythm game that takes its players through an experience of beautiful African Music where the player as Mzito go on a journey to Unite Africa.
George Ahere for Weta Interactive, Kenya.
Mancala Plus seeks to unite the Mancala family of games onto a single social, mobile experience. Players will have the option to choose from several rules and styles played around the world and even create their own. Mancala plus represents the first of game ideas Stetriakor Nyomi hope to bring into fruition, that aim to tell African stories using gaming as a medium.
Setriakor Nyomi, Gray Parrot Studios, Ghana.
Ahkunobi is an adventure role-playing game based on Igbo mythology and inspired by true events of Archeologist Thurstan Shaw excavation of some sites in Igbo Ukwu (Anambra State, Nigeria). It aims to capture ancient Igbo society, culture, role in human trafficking, migration, international trade and diplomacy as well as taboos and their view of the world. And to serves as a digital educational resource where learners can study the Igbo culture through role playing and immersive learning.
Ebube Ofili, Loop Media and Solutions, Nigeria.
TRVLR is a surreal VR film which follows a group of African migrants through a dreamlike journey which spans centuries and continents. This immersive film uses a mix of animation and 360 video to explore contemporary, historical and speculative future African migration.
Komborerai Chapfika, for Spectrum Studios, Zimbabwe.
The Crossing is a Virtual Reality miniseries, where the audience will experience the challenging, treacherous and heartbreaking journey of a Congolese father and his daughter, as they flee persecution in the DRC, to find safety in South Africa.
Tafadzwa Hove, for Willowmead Productions, South Africa.
The Afrocyborg VR Film Collective
The Afrocyborg VR Collective is a group of four multi-cultural women filmmakers from South Africa, and Botswana, who will make 3 x 10 minute VR films that explore a democratized and decolonised African Female Gaze, in relation to the technopolitical tools of VR that enable self-representation of women in African Science Fiction. The Afrocyborg Collective construct African women as future gazing cyborgs, who counteract the ubiquitous misogyny of Hollywood cyborgs, which tend to reinforce gender oppressions through hyper-sexualized representations of woman-machines. After all, in the words of Donna Haraway, “It matters which worlds, world, worlds”.
Shmerah Passchier & The Afrocyborg Collective, South Africa.