For quite some time now, I've been developing my first fully animated TV Series. For the longest time, I've wanted to create a show but didn't have the know-how to do so. I scoured the internet and wrote to a couple of people I look up to, some who were of much help and at-least pointed me in the right direction.
I translated the ideas into action and after a lot of trial and error, my small team and I were able to develop the idea further into a tangible format.
Introducing NINI. It's an adventure/fantasy/edutainment animated Tv Series targeted at 5 to 12 year-old Boys and Girls from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Why am I doing this?
You may have noticed that there isn't enough, if any, properly animated cartoon that represents the African childhood experience. Children in Africa have had to grow up exposed to western cartoons, myself included, and this erodes their culture and African heritage. It's no surprise that most grow up looking up toward foreign heroes, losing their identity, forgetting that they too have their heroes. I see an opportunity to bring back the dignity of the African child by giving them a show with characters they can relate to, environments and world dynamics they can relate to, dialogue and music they can relate to.
Lastly, I'd like to show that we too as Africans have amazing stories to tell, and we have the ability to tell them. I want to create an authentic animated show.
Here's concept art for one of the featured episodes. Context: After a storm Nini is tasked by Shosh to help Rama and her Dad rebuild a section of her cow shed. However, working with Rama and her dad proves difficult because she feels that just because she’s small she isn’t given much to do and her opinion isn’t valued. She storms off and discovers that the anthill just outside their compound was also destroyed by the storm. She is enlisted by the worker ants to help rebuild their kingdom and defend it from the sly Pangolin, (ant-eater) who wants to eat their queen. Nini is made an honorary worker ant and learns the value of teamwork, and that in a team, everyone’s contribution, no matter how small, is important.
Gathoni known to everyone as Nini has an insatiable curiosity about the world around her. Living in the Peri-urban African countryside, often perceived to be boring and mundane.
She develops a rich imagination to counteract this. She goes on adventures in her mind that makes life magical and fills her appetite to learn more.
She’s often joined in her imaginary world by Rama, a 7 year old city boy who visits his grandparents in the rural areas quite often. The only adult who gets Nini’s rich inner life and encourages it is Rama’s grandmother, Shosh.
But, there always has to be a stick in the mud. Bonge, the local bully and the son of Nini’s family household help Dada Bahati. Why does Nini have to have fun while doing chores.
Her imagination often gets her into trouble with her mom, dad, or the adults around her. But, her toy monkey Mo (seen on the ground in the picture above) is a very great confidant. To Nini, she imagines her alive and a great friend.
Nini wants to be a pilot when she grows up
I'll be pitching this show at DISCOP Johannesburg from the 14th to 16th November. AAN has partnered with Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA to host the first Pan-African pitching competition called Annecy – MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde. Across DISCOP Abidjan & Johannesburg in 2017 a total of 50 project submissions were received (from Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Togo, Tanzania and Egypt). I was one of the winners along side Salim Busuru of Avandu.
Both of us are pitching our amazing projects as final contestants at DISCOP Johannesburg.
The winning 2 pitches will represent Africa in the global final of Animation du Monde at Annecy/MIFA 2018.
The biggest challenge right now is funding. Animation production is a long and expensive process and requires many skilled hands on deck. At the moment , I'm self funding the show and can't afford to hire the right people to get the job done well. I haven't given up. I've decided to wear many hats in the production pipeline. It's a slow process as I'm having to learn news skills on the job as I keep my eyes focused on the prize!
I'm looking for co-production help or financial assistance to fund the production of the show. If you're interested in this venture, or know someone who is, let me know.