Get ready for timeless South African tale in 3D

2010-06-15 15:55

A 3D animated version of Jock of the Bushveld, produced in South

Africa, has seemingly impressed the international film industry.

The movie featured at the International Animation Festival in

Annecy, France, last week. With about 100 people who turned up to see South

Africa’s 3D production at the festival, Andy Rice, marketing director at Jock

Animation, said the response was great: “People said it was as good as you’ll

get anywhere.”

Jock of the Bushveld was a popular 1986 live action feature film

produced by Duncan MacNeillie and based on Patrick Fitzgerald’s 1906


The film featured Johnny Clegg’s song Spirit of the Great Heart. However, Rice said that

because of sanctions at the time, the film battled to reach an international


He said: “Duncan had a very good product and nowhere to take


At the end of 2007, MacNeillie decided to redo the film but because

of the commercial success of animated movies, he decided to target a younger

audience with an animated version.

Rice said: “It’s essentially new territory for the South African

film industry.”

For the first time, character licensing and merchandising will

happen around the characters in the film such as Basil the monkey, George the

villain baboon, Polly the French poodle, Fitz and Pezulu the flamboyant chicken.

South African food and clothing stores are on board and Penguin

Books will publish a series of books from the movie.

The voices of the characters are all South African artists with

guest appearances by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu and radio personality Jeremy


The film sees Johnny Clegg’s music as well as lyrics written by Tim

Rice, known for his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber, and artists such as Watershed

lead singer Craig Hinds, Alan Menken and Nianell.

Once the team started producing the film, Rice said MacNeillie

realised they had to do it in 3D: “3D is not a short-term fad, it’s the way of

the future.”

With technology more affordable, the team of 25 were able to start

producing in 3D at quality on a par with international studios like Disney and


When it finishes production at the end of the year, it will have

been a three-year process.

While South Africa has always been a popular place for filming

international films, with a string of recent successful movies such as Tsotsi,

Invictus, Skin and District 9 coming out of the country, Rice said: “We are now

adding our indigenous culture on top of our technological ability. People are

starting to respect the South African film industry.”

While Jock of the Bushveld is South African to the core it will

carry “universal” themes – essentially a David and Goliath story about a young

dog with courage and spirit.

The film will hit South African cinemas in March next year.

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