Overall winner Talia Sanhewe (3rd from left), representing the Punch Monkey Studio team.

Earlier this month at the DISCOP Africa industry expo in Johannesburg, South Africa, Turner partnered up with Animation SA, an organization that represents the animation industry in South Africa, to create the first ever Animation Lounge.

As part of the Animation Lounge booth, Turner and Animation SA ran an Animation Pitching competition, where African producers and storytellers pitched children’s programming properties currently in development, to a panel of local and international industry experts, buyers and commissioning editors. The prize of $3,000, sponsored by Turner, was to be split between the winner ($2,000) and runner up ($1,000).

All entrants were also given the opportunity to schedule a short feedback session with Turner, while all delegates benefited from a sharing session and Q&A prior to the pitching competition.

“DISCOP Joburg 2016 was a landmark for the African animation industry,” said Nick Wilson, Chair of the Export Missions Committee of ASA and coordinator of The Animation Lounge. “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. We intend to grow the footprint of The Animation Lounge at future DISCOP events across the continent in dialogue with animation professionals in multiple countries and with the incredible support of our partners and sponsors.”

“As Turner, we have been extremely impressed by the amazing creative energy present within each of the animation pitches. 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,” said Turner Kids’ regional Senior Programming & Acquisitions Manager, Ariane Suveg, who served as head judge for the contest and provided crucial advice to the finalists as they honed their final presentations. “Sponsoring the animation pitch competition has provided us with an invaluable opportunity to meet new talent and innovative animation creators from Africa, and to be exposed to some really inspiring local animation projects.”

Triumphing over the five-entry first round and three-person final round was overall winner Talia Sanhewe, representing Punch Monkey Studio’s “Cloud Life.” The project is described as a heartening and charmingly offbeat tale of reconnection between a evil genius and his heroic daughter.

Sanhewe won the grand prize package of MIFA accreditation for the 2017 event in Annecy, a subscription to Animation Magazine and $2,000 cash sponsored by Turner.

Wendy Spinks of Zeropoint Studios was named runner-up for “Hatch.” She was provided a $1,000 award.

The other competition contenders were Rudolph Boonzaaier, Izi Codron and Daniel Buckland, who proceeded to the expert judging round with Spinks and Sanhewe.

The judging panel included Suveg, Wilson, Luxury Msiza (ETC), Renee Williams (SABC) and Serge Noukoue (Cote Ouest).

“It is a great opportunity for Turner Africa to sponsor the Animation SA booth and pitching competition,” said Pierre Branco, VP and GM of Southern Europe & Africa for Turner. “This is also a demonstration of how we are strengthening our presence across the continent and building our local production strategy to create content that is both relevant and engaging for our African audiences.”

DISCOP, one of the largest African content markets, took place in Johannesburg from November 2-4, 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre.