History has been made by Adventures in Zambezia. It has been nominated for two Annie Awards, the first time an African animation has cracked the Hollywood nod.


South Africa's first locally produced animated 3D film, Adventures in Zambezia, which was made by Triggerfish Animation Studios, has been nominated for two Annie Awards.

And it's the first time in the history of the Annies that a studio from Africa has cracked the nomination list. Adventures in Zambezia has been nominated for Best Music – by local composer Bruce Retief – and Jim Cummings has scooped a nomination for Best Voice Artist. He voices the villain, Budzo.

The Annies, handed out in Hollywood, are the most prestigious awards in the animation industry, and are coveted by all the major studios. Executive producer and studio head Stuart Forrest is particularly proud that the film is the only independent animation to be nominated in both categories. Its competition comes from animation leaders like Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony, Blue Sky and Illumination.

Since 2001, more than R500-million has been ploughed into the production of 50 local films by the Media and Motion Pictures Strategic Business Unit (Media SBU) of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Among them was Adventures in Zambezia, which was financed through the Media SBU's animation hub. The film has already won Best South African Feature Film at this year's Durban International Film Festival.

Forrest says: "It's a huge honour for Triggerfish to be nominated alongside the greatest animation studios in the world and an achievement, not just for us, but for South Africa's industry as a whole."

The awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on 2 February 2013.

Set on the edge of the majestic Victoria Falls, Adventures in Zambezia is the story of Kai, a naïve but high-spirited young falcon who leaves his father to seek his fortune in Zambezia, the famed city of birds. Here he discovers the truth about his origins and, in defending the city, learns how to be part of a community.

Retief is also the composer on the studio's second feature, Khumba, which has been picked up by Millennium Entertainment for US distribution and will be released in 2013.

Khumba (voiced by Jake T Austin), a half-striped zebra, is born into an insular, superstitious herd and is immediately ostracized by the rest of the zebras – except for Tombi, a feisty tomboy (voiced by AnnaSophia Robb). When he is blamed for the drought, Khumba leaves the only home he has ever known in search of the magic waterhole where, legend has it, the first zebras got their stripes.