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Animation SA's stall at The Animation Lounge, DISCOP Africa's first ever animation-centric pavilion. (Image: Animation SA on Twitter)

Talia Sanhewe, representing Punch Monkey Studio's Cloud Life, was named the winner of the inaugural Turner Kids' Animation Pitching competition at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016.

The winner was announced on 24 November by Animation South Africa (ASA), which earlier this month partnered with Turner, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Animation Magazine and others to host the first ever Animation Lounge at DISCOP Africa's Johannesburg event.

"DISCOP Johannesburg 2016 was a landmark for the African animation industry," ASA's Nick Wilson, who co-ordinated The Animation Lounge, said in a statement. "We had more than 50 animation professionals in attendance, an increase of 200% on last year's event and, for the first time, 20 students were in attendance."

Turner not only partnered with ASA in the creation of The Animation Lounge, but also sponsored the inaugural Turner Kids' Animation Pitching competition, offering MIFA accreditation, an Animation Magazine subscription and cash prizes of US$2 000 for the winner and $1 000 for the runner-up.

The five finalists - Wendy Spinks, Rudolph Boonzaaier, Talia Sanhewe, Daniel Buckland and Izi Codron - did not disappoint, treating the audience to five-minute pitches as varied as they were interesting in a tense first round.

Three of the finalists - Spinks, Sanhewe and Buckland - were selected to proceed to round two, where each had eight minutes to impress an expert judging panel comprising Ariane Suveg, senior programming and acquisitions manager for Turner Kids' channels in Africa, Nick Wilson (ASA), Luxury Msiza (e.tv), Renee Williams (SABC) and Serge Noukoue (Cote Ouest).

In the end it was Talia Sanhwe, representing Cape Town-based Punch Monkey Studio's story Cloud Life, who took first prize, with Wendy Spinks of Zeropoint Studios named runner-up.

A heartening tale of reconnection between a dot.com-era corporate evil genius and his estranged Zulu daughter Zandi - a computer genius in her own right - Cloud Life stole the show with its quirky persona and interwoven character-driven plot.

"As Turner, we have been extremely impressed by the amazing creative energy present within each of the animation pitches," head judge Suveg said. "This energy, together with the fresh storylines, has reinforced our investment into the competition and our promise to mentor further the overall winner and runner-up.

"Our involvement in the animation pitch competition is the first step of a long-term strategy for Turner, to build on new collaborative partnerships, and to share our creative processes and expertise in the development of original animated series that will resonate with our growing African audiences."

Wilson added: "This year's DISCOP has presented us with many areas of potential and growth for the African animation industry. And, with Turner pioneering in this territory, we are assured of some exciting changes, challenges, and triumphs going forward, ensuring that our creative voices as Africans continue to be heard."

Source: staff reporter

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