Pitch, Persuade, Produce – An Incubator for Aspiring Animators


The ever-growing demand for animation is providing more opportunities for local creators to showcase their work on the global stage, and the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF), in collaboration with the United States Consulate General in Cape Town, is making it easier for them to succeed. 


Pitch, Persuade, Produce is an incubator for aspiring animators and creators to gain the skills they need to captivate, convince and create work that will catapult their careers into the global arena. 

Offering hopefuls the opportunity to learn and grow from industry leaders, the incubator will give 8 aspiring South African creatives the chance to finetune their pitching skills across 8 weeks and learn to effectively sell their concepts and creations. As pitching is the first step on any creator’s journey, the programme will lay down the basics, and develop the skills of the participants.  

Taking the form of 4 masterclasses and 4 feedback sessions, this after-hours programme will give students, employed individuals, and freelance creators an equal opportunity to learn and grow through interactive sessions as well as assignments given throughout the incubation process. 

The shortlisted candidates for this once in a lifetime opportunity, will be announced at Comic Con Cape Town later this month, and will showcase the work of local creatives to industry leading professionals and mentors including Nathan Stanton, who is known for working as the Head of Story, as a Storyboard Artist and a Story consultant, is best known for his work on  Luca (2021), The Incredibles 2 (2018), Finding Dory (2016) Brave (2012), and Monster Inc. (2021) just to name a few. Nathan’s focus will be the visualisation of the story, development of beat boards and to look at the structure of the story, making sure it’s told in an impactful and interesting way. 

This year the Cape Town International Animation Festival also joins forces with the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct (Tshimologong) and the Durban Film Mart Institute (DFMI) to launch the 3rd edition of the six-month Road to Annecy Animation Incubation Programme at the festival in April. The main objective of the incubation programme is to create a platform where animation creatives develop high-end, commercially viable pitch bibles that can compete on the global stage. The end-goal is to provide emerging creatives with access to markets where they can connect with intermediaries and raise financing for their productions. 

The incubation programme is facilitated by the Mollo Animation Academy and Studio (Mollo) and Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival (Fak’ugesi). The programme was officially launched 2 years ago with the support of National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and French Institute of South Africa (IFAS). From the 135 applicants from the last two years, the programme has successfully incubated eight emerging studios through a rigorous development process. Overall, the past two years of Road to Annecy campaign was a roaring success. 

The Programme of this year’s Animation Festival features various opportunities for youth development across the four days of the show. Offering visitors the opportunity to gain a leg-up in the industry by avoiding any pitfalls and gaining insight from the session entitled Hindsight: Things I wish I knew before by Annike Pienaar, an animator that has made waves internationally at studios like Illumination. What Broadcasters Want You to Know will highlight what TV and film production studios look for in pitches from creators, presented by industry expert Ariane Suveg. 

The Making of The Smeds and the Smoos will unpack the creation of the story of two young aliens from warring families who fall in love and run away, where The Making of the Gale of the Cape offers a behind the scenes peek into the process of creating the trailer. 

Chocolate Tribe's Tiaan Franken discusses the workflow behind the creation of photo realistic creatures, and audiences are taken behind the scenes with directors Marc Moynihan and Dylan McGarry of the film Indlela Yokuphila/ The Soul’s Journey. Create Your First Cinematic Shot with Unreal Engine is a 5.5-hour introductory training course that is targeted at animation and film-making enthusiasts and will accelerate their transition to Unreal. During the course, attendees will learn how to create a stunning cinematic animation scene in Unreal Engine, from beginning to end. Then, Future proof your workflow with ShotGrid will demonstrate how to use this industry-standard production management solution to support creators through the next decade and beyond. 

Modelling, Rigging, Animation, Automation highlights new features and improvements to the latest releases of Autodesk Maya and Bifrost. A special addition is a toolset for Bifrost that enables the procedural creation of polygon objects, like automatically produce complete cities in game development. Physical Theatre Masterclass with Rob van Vuuren equips attendees to shoot reference for animators. Physical theatre principals include precise gestures, body language and much more. 

To learn more about this incredible industry, gain the skills and insight that’ll prove invaluable in future, all visitors are encouraged to join in the fun and engagement across the four-day Cape Town International Animation Festival, from the 27th to the 30th of April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which is collocated with Comic Con Cape Town. 


Important information:  

CLOSING DATE for pitching competitions: 18H00, Sunday 23rd April 2023 

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