Triggerfish Animation Studios

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Triggerfish Animation Studios
Key people
  • Stuart Forrest (CEO)
  • Anthony Silverston (writer & director)
  • James Middleton COO & Producer)
  • Jean-Michel Koenig (CFO)
  • Mike Buckland (animation producer)

Triggerfish Animation Studios, or simply Triggerfish, is a computer animation film studio based in Cape Town, South Africa. The studio is best known for its animated feature films Adventures in Zambezia[1] (2012), Khumba (2013), and the work they have done on television specials created for UK producers Magic Light Pictures. In 2016, Stick Man was awarded the Cristal for best TV production at the Annecy International Animation Festival.[2] In 2017, "Revolting Rhymes" again won the Cristal for best TV production at the Annecy Festival,[3] and was nominated for the Best Short Film (Animated) Oscar at the 2018 Academy Awards.[4]


Triggerfish was established in 1996 by Jacquie Trowell and Emma Kaye in Cape Town, South Africa.[5] As a stop-frame animation studio, it produced multiple commercials for South African ad agencies. From 1998 through 2008, Triggerfish produced animation for Sesame Workshop for the South African version of Sesame Street, Takalani Sesame, as well as the US domestic and international versions of the pre-school kids' program.

Stuart Forrest joined as a junior animator in 2002 to work on Takalani Sesame for seasons two and three. In 2004, Forrest and James Middleton became partners in Triggerfish and in 2005 became the sole partners when the original founders left the company. In 2007 Anthony Silverston joined as creative director, and Mike Buckland joined as head of production. At the same time, the company moved away from stop-frame animation and relaunched as a computer animation studio.

In 2008, Triggerfish created a 30-minute short entitled The Rise and Fall of Tony the Frog. The short was produced by Ambient Animation in Cape Town[6] for Isaac Entertainment.

Feature Films[edit]

From 2006, the team began to shift focus to motion pictures by writing their first script Adventures in Zambezia, with US-based rights company Wonderful Works. The script went into production in 2009 and was released in 2012. In 2010, the studio started production on Khumba which started its worldwide release in Q3 2013. Triggerfish are now working in their third feature provisionally called Seal Team.[7]

Story Lab[edit]

In mid-2015, Triggerfish announced the Triggerfish Story Lab, a program that aims to develop African writers and directors. The initiative has financial backing from the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, and has the support of the Walt Disney Company.[8]


Feature films
# Title Release date Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Adventures in Zambezia July 3, 2012 $20,000,000 $34,428,345 25%[citation needed] N/A
2 Khumba October 25, 2013 $20,000,000 $27,000,000 44%[citation needed] 40[citation needed]
3 Seal Team[7] TBA
Television specials
# Title Release date
1 Stick Man[9] (for Magic Light Pictures) December 25, 2015
2 Revolting Rhymes[10][11] (for Magic Light Pictures) December 26, 2016
3 The Highway Rat[12] (for Magic Light Pictures) December 25, 2017
3 Zog[13] (for Magic Light Pictures) December 2018


Adventures in Zambezia[edit]

  • 2012 Best South African Feature Film at The Durban International Film Festival[1]
  • 2012 Best Animation at South African Film and Television Awards
  • 2013 Best Animation at Africa Movie Academy Awards
  • 2013 Best Children's Feature at Anima Mundi.


Prior to its release, Khumba screened in competition at Annecy International Animation Festival 2013 and was in the Official Selection of Durban International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival 2013.

  • Gold Panda Award for Best Foreign Animation (2013)
  • Gold Panda Award for Grand Prize (2013)
  • 2014 Best Animation at South African Film and Television Awards
  • 2014 Best music composition for a feature film at South African Film and Television Awards
  • 2014 Best Animation at Africa Movie Academy Awards


  1. ^ a b Teo Kermeliotis (April 22, 2012). "Zambezia 3D animation puts South Africa film in the picture". CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  2. ^ "SA animation 'Stick Man' wins top TV prize at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival". Times Live. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Magic Light Pictures Celebrates Success at Annecy". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  4. ^ "2018". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  5. ^ Mfonobong Nsehe (October 1, 2012). "Meet The Man Behind Triggerfish". Forbes. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b Szalai, Georg (November 15, 2013). "South African Animation Studio Triggerfish Gets Funding, Plans Action-Comedy 'Seal Team' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ "South African Animation Studio Triggerfish Launches Story Lab With Disney Support". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  9. ^ "Triggerfish's 'Stick Man' to screen on BBC". Screen Africa. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Dominic West leads an all star cast to bring Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl to BBC One this Christmas". BBC. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  11. ^ Wright, Jonathan (26 December 2016). "Boxing Day's best TV: Revolting Rhymes; The Witness for the Prosecution". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  12. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (September 8, 2016). "Magic Light Producing 'The Highway Rat' for BBC One". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  13. ^ "BBC - BBC One and Magic Light announce Zog for 2018 - Media Centre". Retrieved 2018-09-28.

External links[edit]