SA animation Khumba scores overseas

Cape Town - South African 3D animated feature film Khumba, which was screened and officially selected at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), held from 5-15 September 2013, has been sold to three powerhouse independent international distributors - Australia's Transmission, UK's Kaleidoscope and Italy's Eagle Pictures.

Khumba, produced by South African entertainment company Triggerfish Animation Studios, comes off the heels of the worldwide theatrical success of Adventures in Zambezia, also produced by the same team. It was the highest grossing South African film in 30 years and has grossed over $28m at the box office worldwide. 

Khumba will have its first theatrical release on 25 October in South Africa before being rolled out to more than 40 territories thereafter.

The film, which stars the voice talent of Jake T Austin, Steve Buscemi, Loretta Devine, Laurence Fishburne, Richard E Grant, AnnaSophia Robb, Catherine Tate and Liam Neeson, tells the story of a half-striped zebra (Austin) who is blamed for a severe drought by his superstitious herd.

He leaves his home in search of the magic waterhole where legend has it the first zebras got their stripes. Teaming up with an overprotective, sassy wildebeest (Devine) and a self-obsessed ostrich (Grant), this plucky young zebra meets an array of wacky characters in an unforgettable adventure through the Great Karoo to earn his stripes.

'Great endorsement to the skills of Triggerfish'

The original story was penned by Triggerfish writers Raffaella Delle Donne and Anthony Silverston in consultation with Jonathan Roberts, co-writer of The Lion King. Silverston is also the director. Stuart Forrest CEO of Triggerfish Animation Studios produced the feature.

"The industry response was tremendous," says Forrest. "We've been able to secure significant meetings with people that we wouldn't have been able to access just a couple of years ago. A festival like TIFF lends credibility to any filmmaker and is a great endorsement to the skills of the Triggerfish team."

Khumba played as part of the TIFF Kids programme, however, it was clear that the film appeals to a wide demographic. "As expected, it resonated most with children and it was an amazing experience after the screening to be swarmed by kids asking for autographs and peppering me with questions.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of questions they asked which really showed how engaged they were with the themes of the movie," says Khumba director Anthony Silverston.

'A beautiful, funny and uplifting film'

"With almost 400 incredible films on show, we were fortunate to watch two world premieres of films starring Khumba talent. Richard E. Grant (Bradley) did a brilliant comedic turn next to Jude Law in Dom Hemingway and Anika Noni Rose (voice of Khumba's mother Lungisa) - who we were lucky to meet in person - was attending the premiere for her latest film Half of a Yellow Sun which played to a standing ovation," adds Silverston.

"We are excited to be distributing Khumba in South Africa," says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution."It's a beautiful, funny and uplifting film, and it's great to see that it has been sold to Australia, Italy and the UK."

Khumba is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution and will be released in both English and Afrikaans.

The voice for the Afrikaans cast includes familiar actors such as Hannes Brümmer, Rika Sennet, Elzabé Zietsman, Frank Opperman and Francois Stemmet.

South African actors also feature in the English international version of the movie with popular comedians Rob van Vuuren and Nik Rabinowitz behind the voices of the springboks in the movie.

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