Cape Town studio Triggerfish secures development funding


Riding on the success of their first two features, Adventures in Zambezia (Sony International Acquisitions) and Khumba (Millennium Entertainment), Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation has secured funding for the first phase of development for a 5-film slate.

The company also continues to explore additional financing options and the possible sale of a stake to a strategic partner. Two of the films announced to go into development include Here be Monsters and Seal Team (working titles).

"We have a number of exciting properties in the pipeline," says head of development Anthony Silverston, "But we're particularly excited by these two highly original and exciting high concept stories. And although both stories have an ocean setting, they couldn't be more different!"

Here Be Monsters which was selected for the Creative Focus pitch at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival earlier this year is the next original story from writer Raffaella Delle Donne who worked on both of Triggerfish's previous films. It tells the story of a boy and a sea monster and will be the company's first foray into animating human characters.

Seal Team is an action-comedy that sees a group of Cape fur seals pitted against their natural enemies: the great white sharks of South Africa. The script is currently being written by Brian and Jason Cleveland of CMG who handled world sales on Triggerfish's previous films.

"We had a good working relationship with the Clevelands on Zambezia and were impressed by their passion for the medium and for great stories," says Triggerfish Producer Stuart Forrest. "So it was great when they came with this concept that is so close to home for us. Our first reaction was – why didn’t we think of that?!"

Triggerfish aims to release one film a year starting in 2016 and although the stories so far have been set in Africa, the company has a global vision to create animated films with universal messages for all ages. The development funding was secured from Business Partners' Venture Fund - a specialist risk finance company for formal small to medium enterprises in South Africa and select African countries.

The funds will be used towards developing Triggerfish's slate of 5 animated feature films and to expand the studio’s digital department building on existing properties and exploring new ideas with apps and games. Triggerfish CFO Jean-Michel Koenig who secured the deal says, "We are very pleased with the confidence Business Partners has placed in us as we look to invest further into our development slate."

Khumba is currently on circuit in South Africa, holding the number 1 spot for two weeks and will be rolling out throughout the rest of the world into 2014.