Nigerian Animation Filmmaker Earns Three Annie Awards Nominations.

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Shofela Coker, an animator from Nigeria, has been nominated three times for the 51st Annie Awards. Excellent animation productions from the review year are honored with this coveted award.

Nominations for Best Direction, Best Character Animation, and Best FX have been made for Coker’s work, Moremi, which appears in the Disney+ anthology series Kizazi Moto. On December 6, 2023, the 10-part series had its homecoming debut in Lagos State, Nigeria.

14 young African filmmakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, and Zimbabwe have contributed short films to an anthology called Kizazi Moto, which translates to “Generation Fire” in Swahili. 

Triggerfish Animation Studios Cape Town produced the animated series; of the 300 stories submitted, 15 reached the production stage and 10 were produced. Only 14 of the 73 filmmakers who submitted their ideas were chosen. There were eight filmmakers from South Africa, two from Zimbabwe, and one each from Nigeria (Coker), Kenya, Egypt, and Uganda.

The event was hosted by AFRIFF, the Africa International Film Festival, thanks to its founder Chioma Ude, who has over the years established platforms at the festival to train young African filmmakers in animation. The event was presented by the American Film Showcase, USC School of Cinematic Arts, and the U.S. Consulate General Lagos, courtesy of the consul general, Will Stevens.

Not only was the project important, but the return to Lagos was also important for US-based Coker, whose piece Moremi excels in the anthology.

To understand the range of emotions shown in Moremi’s cryptic and Easter egg-filled storytelling, one must revisit the movie. Shofela characterizes it as his homecoming, a return to his roots that is left up to the audience’s interpretation.

Shofela mentioned the dearth of local studios that fit Moremi’s magnitude as his reason for selecting to collaborate with South Africa’s Lucan Studio over a Nigerian one.

Through the art of animation, Kizazi Moto has demonstrated to the world that Africans are capable of delivering genuine stories that appeal to a worldwide audience. Additionally, it indicates that the world is aware of African animation and is ready to see more of it. 

The project helps to promote Pan-African unity amongst young African filmmakers, which is beneficial for the African animation scene. It’s safe to assume that soon, other animated Pan-African programs will receive the green light, perhaps from African investors as well. It also indicates that African children of the future will be exposed to a large amount of animated videos featuring characters who resemble them.

Kizazi Moto has given Nigerian filmmaker Shofela a platform to express his unique interpretation of the fabled folklore of Queen Moremi and the vast ancestral region of Ile-Ife. And the Nigerian audience in attendance at the Lagos premiere gave it positive reviews. 

On Saturday, February 17, the 51st Annie Awards will take place at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., with a pre-show reception starting at 4:30 p.m.

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