Bridges of opportunity: Africa

Mogau Kekana’s one-minute animation film, ‘Red Ants’, premiered on 16 June as part of the Bridges African animation series.

Bridges of opportunity: African animation series a boost for young artists

‘Bridges’ is an initiative that aims to boost emerging African talent through an African animation series.

Bridges of opportunity: Africa

Mogau Kekana’s one-minute animation film, ‘Red Ants’, premiered on 16 June as part of the Bridges African animation series.

The French Institute of South African (IFAS), in partnership with international mentors and local experts from GOBELINS school of visual arts, Disprente Studios and Tshimologong animation academy, has established an innovative project aptly titled Bridges Africa to develop an African animation series. 

The first film in the series, Red Ants, premiered virtually at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival on Wednesday 16 June.


The aim of Bridges is to create a platform for emerging African talent to step into the global film and animation markets as mentors will be working with creators to help them bring their visions to life. There will be a series made up of 10 original short films of one minute each. IFAS aims to have the series completed within the next 12 months.

The initiative will eventually build up a library of compelling, entertaining films that contribute to the growth and development of the local animation industry. The genres range from comedy, action, drama, sci-fi, satire and fantasy. 

Mentorship, training to hone skills of young SA creatives

In South Africa, specialised skills such as animation is rare therefore this initiative aims to develop such talent.

According to Cape Town ETC, to further boost capacity building GOBELINS alumni and Tshimologong graduates are assisting the young talents along each step in the ideation, scriptwriting and production of their films. 

“There is a wealth of untapped talent across Africa, and Bridges will give these artists an opportunity to establish their own voices and African aesthetics,” said IFAS regional head of media, film and music Erika Denis. 

“Bridges will help to diversify the global pool of highly qualified animators and contribute towards developing a sustainable animation ecosystem by strengthening the breadth and depth of local skills,” she added. 


The first film was created by Master of Arts at GOBELINS student Mogau Kekana who is a concept and storyboard artist from Hillbrow, in Johannesburg.

The film is titled Red Ants and is based on a story about a young South African eviction enforcer, Khanya who is often called  Red Ant.  He becomes both the victim and the perpetrator after he himself is evicted from his home.

“We are equally as excited by the way in which we are being exposed to the fresh perspectives that these young artists are bringing to the table,” said GOBELINS head of international development Cecile Blondel. 

“So far, the project has been a learning process for both us and the students, highlighting the benefits of collaboration and cooperation and how crucial it is to continue to engage with other cultures through creativity and media – particularly during the current pandemic,” Blondel added. 

Here is a look at the artists’ work:

Two other films are said to be in the development stages currently.

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