Strongest year yet for SA animation at Annecy, with three wins

“This was Africa’s strongest showing at Annecy yet,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “In addition to Stick Man winning the TV category, our collaborator Clea Mallinson won the Animation du Monde pitching forum for her short Fairy Wheels; South African Naomi van Niekerk’s powder animation, ‘n Gewone Blou Maandagoggend, won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film in the short film category; and Adama, a film set in West Africa, won the André-Martin Award for a French feature film. We also had a great response to the four TV series we’re developing from last year’s pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, so it’s exciting times for African animation.”

Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s minister of Arts and Culture, congratulated Triggerfish on Twitter:

Stick Man

Cape Town, 21 June 2016: Stick Man, Triggerfish’s collaboration with Magic Light Pictures, has won Le Cristal at Annecy, the top prize for a TV production at the world’s premier animation festival.

This is the biggest accolade yet for the acclaimed short film, which recently won Best Animation at both the BANFF World Media Festival and the Shanghai International Film and TV Festival, as well as two British Animation Awards.

Previous Le Cristal winners at Annecy include the likes of Room on the Broom, The Amazing World of Gumball, Shaun the Sheep and Peppa Pig.

Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s picture book, Stick Man is the story of a happy-go-lucky father’s epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas.

Stick Man was produced by Magic Light Pictures, an Oscar-nominated and BAFTA and International Emmy-winning production company in the UK, and animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish.  The 26-minute film was directed by London-based Jeroen Jaspaert and co-directed by South African Daniel Snaddon.

“I’m so proud of the team who went beyond the call of duty to bring Stick Man to life,” says Snaddon. “Thank you to Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light, and the partners at Triggerfish, for this opportunity, and to Jeroen for bringing out the best in us.”

Voiced by the likes of Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous), the short film screened to nearly 10m people on BBC1 at Christmas 2015.

Triggerfish is currently collaborating with Magic Light Pictures’ Berlin office on another Christmas special BBC adaptation, this time of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

About Triggerfish Animation Studios:

Established in 1996, Triggerfish Animation Studios is a Cape Town-based film and entertainment company. The studio has produced two feature films: Adventures in Zambezia (2012), starring Jeremy Suarez, Abigail Breslin and Samuel L. Jackson, and Khumba (2013), starring Jake T. Austin, AnnaSophia Robb and Liam Neeson. The two movies are among the top five highest-grossing South African films of all time. 

In 2015, the studio launched The Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African search for storytellers, supported by the Department of Trade and Industry and The Walt Disney Company. They are currently developing four feature films and four TV series out of the 1 378 entries they received from 30 countries across Africa.  A teaser for one of the projects, Mike Scott’s A Dogshow with Cat, has already been licensed by The Walt Disney Company.

For more information, visit and follow the animation studio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

About Magic Light Pictures

Magic Light Pictures makes imaginative entertainment for audiences, families and children worldwide.

Its filmmaking includes feature films such as the Oscar-nominated animation Chico & Rita; the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated half-hour animated films, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child; and Room On The Broom, a BAFTA and International Emmy-winning half-hour animation which was also nominated for an Oscar.

The company directly manages production, licensing, global distribution and marketing, as well as running an international merchandising programme with over 40 licensees and 250 products.

About Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Julia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate 2011 – 2013, is the author of many best-selling and much-loved books, including The Gruffalo and Stick Man. Julia was born and grew up in North London. She wrote songs for children’s television for many years, and during that time one of her songs became the book A Squash and a Squeeze. Although she is best known for her picture books, Julia also writes longer novels, including Running On The Cracks for teenagers, the Princess Mirror-Bellestories and The Giants And The Joneses, and plays and songs. She and her husband Malcolm regularly put on live shows based on her books, which are always in demand, and in 2015 they produced Gruffalos, Ladybirds And Other Beasts at the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2011 Julia received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to literature.  Julia now divides her time between Scotland and West Sussex.

Axel Scheffler was born in Hamburg, Germany. In the 1980s Axel moved to study Illustration at Bath Academy of Art, where he spent much of his time drawing sheep and peacocks in the grounds of Corsham Court. Axel then moved to London where he began illustrating for a variety of English and German advertising companies, magazines and newspapers. His first book with Julia Donaldson, A Squash And A Squeeze, was published in 1993, and has been followed by bestselling and award-winning favourites, including The Gruffalo and Stick Man. Axel has also illustrated the Royal Mail’s official Christmas stamps 2012, The Gruffalo Gromit for Gromit Unleashed charity campaign and the incredible Book Bench for the National Literacy Trust’s Books about Town programme, both in 2014. Axel lives in London with his family.

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Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.

Ruan Smit

Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.

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