Lucan Studio’s Ingrid de Beer & Werner Uys

The African animation sector continues to gain global notoriety and momentum. The Disney+ sci-fi anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, which explores futuristic visions for Africa, is just one example of the continent’s unique and prolific output. Lucan Studio co-produced “Moremi,” one of ten short films in the series, in collaboration with Triggerfish Animation Studios. Lucan’s Ingrid de Beer, partner and producer, and Werner Uys, partner and managing director, discuss with TV Kids Weekly the modern retelling of a classic Nigerian myth, which voices were involved in creating the episode and what’s ahead for African animation.

TV KIDS: Talk to me about “Moremi,” an episode Lucan Studio made for Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire. What vision did the company aim to share?
UYS: Shofela Coker, the director, played a pivotal role in shaping the vision, with our studio team contributing their expertise and technical skills to the film. The collaboration between directors and producers was evident in the final product, highlighting a strong synergy. Our focus remained on honoring the director’s vision and providing support rather than imposing our own ideas.
DE BEER: As a South African animation studio, we intrinsically knew that contributing to Kizazi Moto was a wildly unique opportunity; it was a call to action to showcase the technical and creative excellence stemming from the African continent.

TV KIDS: What went into the decision to blend 2D and 3D animation techniques for the episode? What kinds of technical, budget and production considerations are made when using multiple styles?
UYS: The technical approach for each act was shaped by the environments and landscapes in which they unfolded. Wian van Bergen, art director and Lucan’s creative director, ensured that the overarching style remained consistent, keeping the technical pipeline in mind.

Lucan’s previous work makes use of a hybrid approach; “Moremi” presented an opportunity to push those boundaries, allowing for experimentation and flexing the creative and technical muscle. With each act having its own approach, it did present budget challenges but also victories, which balanced things out at the end of the day.

TV KIDS: Which African voices were included in the development of “Moremi,” both in front of and behind the scenes? How did the studio decide who to include?
DE BEER: There was a powerful synergy between the studio, Shofela and the series execs—Peter Ramsey, Tendayi Nyeke and Anthony Silverston from Triggerfish Animation Studios—in partnering with exceptional African talent across departments.

Specific to “Moremi,” just to name a few, we had Yinfaowei Harrison Tombra leading production design, Kehinde Bankole as lead voice, Vanessa Kanu as co-writer and Pelu Awofeso as cultural consultant.

TV KIDS: Tell me about the strengths of the African animation industry at present. What’s driving its current success?
UYS: In 2023 and 2024, African animation has reached significant milestones as major streaming platforms have released a wealth of fresh content from Africa. The participation of key industry players has opened doors for African creators, highlighting the talent present on the continent. Success is determined by outcomes, which should, in return, generate more opportunities and bolster the credibility needed for creators to attract investment both within and outside the continent, enabling them to share their stories globally.

TV KIDS: What do you see for the future of African animation in the global content market—let’s say, over the next 12 to 24 months? What role does Lucan play?
UYS: The African animation industry is gaining traction, thanks in part to Triggerfish. They deserve much credit for showcasing the remarkable talent on the continent, which has opened doors to opportunities and the telling of unique stories.

Creatively, Africa is flourishing, and technically, we are advancing rapidly, enabling us to produce content for global audiences. Africa has demonstrated its ability to surprise and deliver unique content across markets given the slightest opportunity. Lucan has ambitious plans for the future, and 2024 signifies an exciting chapter for our studio as we solidify our strategic vision to establish ourselves as a leading studio in Africa and globally.