Ugandan filmmaker Raymond Malinga, whose work will feature in the upcoming Disney anthology of animated films from across Africa, hopes the project will bring African animation to the world.
“Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire”, a ten-part collection of short animations by makers from six African countries, is set to premiere on the Disney Plus streaming platform later this year.
Malinga, 32, is one of 14 filmmakers from South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya contributing to an anthology of science-fiction and fantasy stories set in Africa’s future. Oscar-winning film director Peter Ramsey is serving as executive producer on the project.
“The narrative in Africa has been, you just turn on the news, I’m sure it’s (about) something bad,” Malinga told Reuters at his studio in Kampala.
The positivity gets lost in the story, Malinga says, and that must be changed.
“For me (the collection) there is an opportunity to contribute to that conversation,” he said.
Malinga, 32, who has an animation and visual effects degree from a Malaysian university, started his company, Creatures Animation Studio, in 2015.
His big break came in 2017 when his short animated film “A Kalaband A My Homework” was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and won six awards, including Best Animation Film, at the African International Film Festival in Nigeria the following year.
His team, which has grown to 10 people over the years, works from a small dark studio, into a makeshift innovation village made of shipping containers sandwiched between the cubicles of other startups.
African content is gaining popularity globally due to increased commissions for series and short films by streaming services such as Netflix and MultiChoice’s ShowMax.
In Africa, however, foreign content still dominates and Malinga said the Disney anthology was an opportunity to combat stereotypes and bring more content to African consumers that features people like them.
As Malinga’s studio brand and talent pool grows, he said, he is venturing into gaming and also exploring opportunities in virtual and augmented reality.
His dream, he said, is to bring African film and animation to the world stage, to replicate the success of other African industries.
“Afro music is starting to play all over the world… we have some comedians walking around and I’m like, why not even animation, why not film?” Malinga said.