Triggerfish Wins Mifa Animation Industry Award At Annecy 2021

Digital Creatives

June 14, 2021, 11:49 a.m.

Annecy International Animation Festival has awarded Triggerfish the Mifa Animation Industry Award.

“This is to highlight the pioneering role that the company has played in animation in South Africa, and Africa most widely,” says Véronique Encrenaz, head of Mifa.

Previous recipients include Christopher Meledandri, founder of Illumination (Despicable Me); the co-founders of Aardman, Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Grommet); Marc Bonny, the creator of Gebeka Films (My Life As A Courgette); Eric Beckman, founder of GKIDS (Wolfwalkers); and Women in Animation (WIA).

Handing over the 2021 award to Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest, Véronique celebrated the studio’s animation, which she says has “already earned a constellation of prizes.” Triggerfish’s first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, sold nine million cinema tickets globally. Triggerfish also produced the upcoming 2021 feature Seal Team and animated the Academy Award®-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations such as the 2021 Annie Awards winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy winner Zog, the BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man, and the Rose d’Or-winning The Highway Rat, all produced by Magic Light Pictures.

Véronique praised the way Triggerfish had helped with “structuring an industry to give its professionals support” and playing critical roles in setting up critical pillars of the animation industry in South Africa. Some of these industries are; the industry association AnimationSA, the showcase and networking event AnimationXchange and The Cape Town International Animation Festival, initially called Kunjanimation. She also acknowledged their support for The Animation School through bursaries and taking on so many of their graduates.

In addition, Véronique acknowledged the impact of their free online course, Triggerfish Academy, and the Triggerfish Story Lab. The Triggerfish Story Lab is a pan-African talent search that has already seen two series greenlit world stage: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix and Kiya for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+.

“I’m feeling so proud,” says Mike Buckland, head of the production at Triggerfish, after watching Véronique’s video speech. “Sometimes you need a speech and a rabbit to remind yourself of how much you appreciate your partners and your team. Thanks to everyone who’s helped get us where we are.”

“We’ve been very fortunate to come of age in a time when the world really is looking for other voices,” says Stuart. “We know animation has a unique ability to cross boundaries, so we’re so excited to share the new wave of groundbreaking African creatives with the world.”

Do you have an article that can be relevant to the African Tech space?

Submit your news stories, articles or press releases to


Annecy, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a hybrid edition, starts this Monday, 14 June 2021. This year’s festival is spotlighting African animation, with Triggerfish featuring prominently across the screenings and sessions.

Khumba and Stick Man are two of the closing night films on Saturday, 19 June 2021. Stick Man won the Cristal for Best TV Production at Annecy in 2016, while Khumba competed for Best Film at Annecy in 2013. Also, screening is Belly Flop, a closing night short film at Annecy 2018, which went on to win 15 awards around the world. It’s part of Annecy’s African Animation, Today anthology, a selection of 11 contemporary animations from South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana and the Congo.

On Thursday, 17 June 2021, Annecy presents a Focus Session on Triggerfish, looking back at their 25-year journey since opening in Cape Town in 1996, just two years into South Africa’s democracy. As part of the session, they will discuss their experience opening their first international office last year in Galway, Ireland, and share a sneak peek at their upcoming feature Seal Team.

Triggerfish is partnering with WIA on the 2021 Women In Animation World Summit, themed “The Business Case For Diversity”, and on Monday, 14 June 2021.

WIA Vice President Jinko Gotoh said, “We must democratize animation on all fronts: education, art, technology, and industry. Along those lines, we are thrilled to partner with Triggerfish to present this year’s Summit, as they have been doing such tremendous work over the years to diversify storytelling and bring better representation to the African animation industry.”

“We’re honoured to be partnering with WIA on this important summit,” says Triggerfish producer Vanessa Sinden. “Triggerfish has a vision for a world where stories are predominantly told and created by the people the stories belong to, and WIA’s work in gender inclusivity and diversity takes huge steps towards that goal, particularly as it applies to the continent of Africa.”

At the WIA World Summit, Triggerfish will present a panel on African creators in animation, a conversation with African women taking centre stage with shows they have created, written, and directed. Vanessa will moderate the session, which will feature Mama K’s Team 4 creator Malenga Mulendema, Kiya co-creator Kelly Dillon, Triggerfish development executive Tendayi Nyeke, and Triggerfish collaborators Omotunde Akiode (Nigeria) and Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya). Triggerfish Foundation director Carina Lücke will also participate in a WIA World Summit panel on Alternative Career Paths and Opportunities for Talent.

On Tuesday, 15 June 2021, a Wacom Live Session will explore Troll Girl, Kay Carmichael’s upcoming short film with Giantslayer Studios and Triggerfish, with a particular focus on its use of the Blender Grease Pencil.

Seal Team.jpg

About Seal Team

Seal Team is the story of Quinn, a seal who spends his days relaxing in the sun, splashing in the beautiful waters off the coast of Cape Town, and swimming for his life from Great White Sharks. When he decides it’s time for the food chain to bite back, Quinn recruits a ragtag team of like-minded seals brave, stupid and crazy enough to try to teach those sharks a lesson - once and for all. Jaws will drop.

The VIP voice cast includes Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Justice League); Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Americans, Perry Mason); animation legends Kristen Schaal (Gravity Falls, Toy Story 3 and 4, Despicable Me 2) and Patrick Warburton (Family Guy, Ted, Bee Movie); action star Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier, Aquaman, The Expendables franchise); Grammy winner Seal; and Jessie T. Usher (Shaft, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Boys) as Quinn, not to mention South African stars John Kani (The Lion King, Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War) and Sharlto Copley (District 9, Chappie, Maleficent).

Seal Team (1).jpg

About Kiya

Meet Kiya, a 7-year-old African girl whose passions in life are dancing and martial arts. When Kiya and her two best friends put their magical crystal headbands on, they become superheroes, ready to defend their community against villains.

Kiya’s world features a diverse cast of characters inspired by the varied landscape, natural beauty and culture of Southern Africa.

Produced by eOne, Triggerfish and Frog Box, in partnership with Disney Junior and France Télévisions, the series is based on an original concept from South African-based production company Triggerfish and developed for Television by Frog Box and eOne.

Kelly Dillon and Marc Dey created the characters for Kiya, then developed for television by Robert Vargas. The production features a diverse creative team, including writers, designers, and composers from Africa, France, the US, and the UK.

Kiya joins eOne’s successful slate of preschool properties, including award-winning shows like Peppa Pig and PJ Masks.

About Mama K’s Team 4

Mama K’s Team 4 tells the story of 4 teen girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia. They are recruited by a retired secret agent still committed to saving the world.

Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, one of eight winners in the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a pan-African talent search, created Mama K’s Team 4.

Designed by Cameroonian-South African artist Malcolm Wope, it draws visual inspiration from retro-’90s R&B and hip hop girl groups.

Netflix collaborated with Triggerfish and CAKE to launch a continent-wide search for local female writing talent for the show.

Malenga grew up watching cartoons on TV and found herself asking why no heroes looked like her and why they didn’t live in a world that felt like her own. “In creating a superhero show set in Lusaka, I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who save the day in their own fun and crazy way,” says Malenga. “Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero.”


tag: Digital Arts, animation,


Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.