France and South Africa celebrate once again their collaboration in the field of animation with the signature of two major partnerships!

On the 12th of June 2019, South African startup innovation hub, the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) have strengthened their ties with international partners by signing official partnership agreements at the 2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The agreements are with Paris-based prestigious animation school, Gobelins, recently awarded “Best Animation School in the world” by Animafest Zagreb, and the French Embassy in South Africa.

The objective of both the agreements is to grow the animation industry’s skills pipeline by offering training, internships and scholarships to animators in Africa. It is also seen by the French Institute and the French Embassy in South Africa,as an opportunity to enhance the linkages between African animation talent, producers, schools and institutions with their French counterparts.

Earlier this year, Johannesburg-based Tshimologong Animation Studio opened its doors to 20 interns with hopes to further their understanding of visual development for high-end animation under the direction of recent Gobelins Masters graduate, Lesego Vorster. Co-designed in collaboration with Gobelins, the internship programme is focused on establishing authentic African aesthetics through appropriate referencing and understanding of design and storytelling fundamentals. Furthermore, the internship forms part of an active role in empowering black youth in a field which was previously relatively inaccessible to them.

The partnership with Gobelins offers interns strong support from one of the best schools in the world, not only in raising the standard and quality of the work to come out of the Tshimologong Animation Studio, but also to broaden the horizons of all interns,” says Lesego Vorster, Tshimologong Animation Studio Art Director.

South Africa is a vibrant soil of young creativity. Talents are numerous, young and passionate, promise of a very bright future and the emergence of a powerful African animation.” says Cécile Blondel, Head of International Relations, Gobelins

The agreement with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the French Embassy in South Africa addresses training needs, scholarships, skills exchange and co-production opportunities. The NFVF will contribute up to EUR16,000 (R268 000) for a scholarship for the Gobelins “Character Animation and animated filmmaking – Master of Arts” qualification. The Animation School (SA) and Campus France will also fund this scholarship.

By joining forces, the two organisations aim to strengthen their support for the South African film and TV industry and to foster better cooperation between South African and French ecosystems in film, TV and new formats. The animation industry, because of its dynamism, creativity and international appeal both in France and in South Africa, is at the core of this new partnership. Both institutions aim to support and reinforce synergies between the respective markets and to promote consistency in the support of their development.

Gobelins, NFVF, the French Institute of South Africa, the Animation School and Campus France decided to grant the scholarship to Karien Benz.