Fantasy and social impact animation comes to life at Cape Town International Animation Festival

27 February 2019

Cape Town will in a week’s time play host, for the eighth year, to Africa’s only dedicated animation festival next month – the Cape Town International Animation Festival.

The festival will be a star-studded affair this year with acclaimed filmmakers Peter A. Ramsey and Aron Warner among the speakers set to headline the event.

Ramsey, fresh off co-directing the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker who has also worked on the 2012 DreamWorks Animation fantasy film Rise of the Guardians, Batman Forever and Independence Day.

Warner is the producer behind Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After. He also produced the critically-acclaimed animated feature The Book of Life.

The City of Cape Town-sponsored CTIAF is an internationally recognised platform that promotes African animation locally and globally, drives transformation while also looking to upskill young upcoming animators.

During the festival delegates can enjoy films, workshops, masterclasses, exhibitions and participate in discussions about animation and film.

“The packed programme again includes our pitching competition for Annecy, with the winning pitch taking the invaluable prize of being presented at Annecy as part of the NFVF South African delegation,” says festival director Dianne Makings.

“Last year we saw a record number of visitors and sixty local and international speakers at the Festival and we are proud to have positioned CTIAF as a leading market place for the fast-growing African industry, while giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy the world’s best animated films, which would otherwise not be accessible to them.”

Festival goers will also get insight on some aspects of animation from Kabelo Maaka, 24, who is an illustrator, storyboard artist and animation lecturer.

Through their company Cabblow Studios, Kabelo and her mother Dr Tshepo P. Maaka tell medical stories using animation, providing patients with valuable information in a way that will make their experience enjoyable.

“We’re both excited to connect with the best creators of animation from all over the world, to explore new opportunities in funding and to create new work. We’re also excited to try out the 22 inch Wacom Cintiq and other innovative technology in Animation,” Kabelo says.

Kabelo believes establishing synergy between training institutions and animation studios as well as exposure of local young talent in the industry could create a thriving animation ecosystem.

“I remember when I was doing a short course in France, one of the tutors mentioned that their full time students spend half the day in class and the other half as interns in a studio. It made sense to me why animators graduating from Gobelins were so strong. They had industry exposure while training. I think that makes all the difference.

“It may not be viable, at this stage in South Africa, to take on that approach but I do think studios and schools can start to develop a similar relationship. Students can job shadow or do day visits and studios can host guest lectures or private screenings at schools. It comes down to exposure. Exposing the students to the studios and vice versa.”

Kabelo is currently using her YouTube channel to create art and animation tutorials for those who want to learn and also sharing what she learned in France.

She also lectures classes in 2D animation, life drawing, digital drawing & pre-production techniques while also mentors a young budding animator of 11 years old on the weekends.

Outreach Programme

Mentorship is also one of the focuses of the Cape Town International Animation Festival and has over the last two years partnered with Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha to facilitate screenings of films, drawing classes and various workshops to teach the fundamentals of animation.

Last year, CTIAF provided workstations and art equipment for 70 learners to participate in a live drawing class. Five industry specialists were on hand to facilitate the class and provide feedback to learners.

The programme which benefits schoolchildren from Khayelitsha will continue again this year.

Visit for the full programme details. The Cape Town International Animation Festival takes place from 8 to 10 March 2018 at The River Club in Observatory, Cape Town.

Seats at events are reserved on a first-come, first serve basis and tickets are required to access all events except the stop-motion and Zoetrope workshops held at the Clubhouse.