Variety Magazine: Christopher Vourlias

Courtesy of Disney

Disney has tapped top toon talents from across the African continent for “Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire,” a Disney Plus Original anthology of animated films set to premiere on the Mouse House’s streaming platform in late 2022.

Inspired by the continent’s diverse histories and cultures, the 10-part anthology brings together a slate of rising animation talents from six African nations to produce action-packed sci-fi and fantasy stories that will present bold visions of advanced technology, aliens, spirits and monsters imagined from uniquely African perspectives.

Oscar-winning director Peter Ramsey (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) will serve as executive producer, with Tendayi Nyeke and Anthony Silverston as supervising producers. Cape Town-based animation house Triggerfish, which received the prestigious MIFA Animation Industry Award in Annecy this year, will be the lead studio for the anthology, working in collaboration with animation studios across the continent and globally.

“We are bringing the work of a visionary new generation of African filmmakers to Disney Plus,” said Disney Plus and ESPN Plus president Michael Paull. “In addition to delivering thrilling animation for fans of all ages, this collection of ten original films taps into the Afrofuturism phenomenon which was turbo-charged by Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ and reflects Disney’s ongoing commitment to partnering with leading global talent to tell the stories of the world from fresh and authentic points of view.”

Disney Plus and ESPN Plus president Michael Paull.

“I’m really pleased to be part of a ground-breaking, fresh and exciting project that’s aimed at exposing the world to a whole new wave of creativity and invention from a place that is just ready to explode onto the world animation scene,” said Ramsey. “The films in the anthology kind of run the gamut when it comes to science fiction. There are stories that touch on other worlds, time travel, and alien beings, but all of these genre conventions are seen through an African lens that makes them totally new. I can’t wait for people to have their minds blown and say, ‘I want more!’”

More than 70 leading directors and creators across the continent were invited to pitch their ideas, after a multi-year research phase that included input from Ghanaian comic book blogger Kadi Tay, award-winning Congolese animation supervisor Sidney Kimbo-Kintombo (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Namibian-South African producer Bridget Pickering (“Hotel Rwanda”).

The process was curated and produced by the team at Triggerfish, including supervising producer Tendayi Nyeke, head of development Anthony Silverston, and Kevin Kriedemann, who proposed the initial idea for the anthology.

15 shortlisted projects were mentored by Ramsey and the creative teams from Triggerfish and Disney. The final 10 films are from Ahmed Teilab (Egypt), Simangaliso “Panda” Sibaya and Malcolm Wope (South Africa), Terence Maluleke and Isaac Mogajane (South Africa), Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya), Shofela Coker (Nigeria), Nthato Mokgata and Terence Neale (South Africa), Pious Nyenyewa and Tafadzwa Hove (Zimbabwe), Tshepo Moche (South Africa), Raymond Malinga (Uganda) and Lesego Vorster (South Africa).

Each film will be roughly 10 minutes long, and together will comprise a feature-length anthology of original animation that will be released as a Disney Plus Original across the globe.

“‘Kizazi Moto’ derives from the Swahili phrase ‘kizazi cha moto,’ which literally translates as ‘fire generation,’ capturing the passion, innovation and excitement this new cohort of African filmmakers is ready to bring to the world,” said Nyeke. “‘Moto’ also means fire in several other African languages, from Rwanda’s Kinyarwanda to Shona, a Zimbabwean language, speaking to the pan-African spirit we hope this anthology embodies.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a presentation on Wednesday by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer Jennifer Lee, pan-African entertainment company Kugali filmmakers Ziki Nelson, Hamid Ibrahim, and Tolu Olowofoyeku, WDAS VFX supervisor Marlon West and head of story Natalie Nourigat, who presented a sneak peek during the Annecy Animation Festival of their groundbreaking collaboration, the futuristic animated series “Iwájú,” which is slated for a 2022 release on Disney Plus.

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