Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct have announced that their Animation Studio has rebranded to Mollo Animation Academy and Studio (MAAS). The aim of MAAS is to promote authentic African voices in animation, by providing a platform for emerging talent in animation to learn, create and express themselves as best as they can.

Road to Annecy Winner

On one of their social media posts MAAS congratulated their 2022 Road to Annecy winner Yolanda Mogatusi. The post went like this, “ Congratulations to our 2022 Road to Annecy winner Yolanda and her beautiful story “Lulas gifts form the ocean” After applying for our Road To Annecy Market readiness program, Yolanda attended multiple workshops and one on one mentorship sessions with our network of experienced animation professionals. They worked together to ensure that Yolanda is ready to present her story to potential investors at the South African partner pitches in Annecy! We wish you all the best on your trip to Annecy animation festival!”

Annecy International Animation Film Festival

For an entire week, The Annecy International Animation Film Festival gathers together the biggest names in animation to celebrate their creative and diverse animation styles and techniques. In 2022 the event took place from the 13th to the 18th of June. Over the course of 60 years, the Annecy Festival has established itself as a global event dedicated to animation, bringing together the most esteemed professionals from the sector.

Filmmakers Joining the Games Industry

Yolanda Mogatusi recently joined the video games industry after 14+ years in the film industry. Yolanda is a filmmaker, a storyteller and a producer from Johannesburg, South Africa. She created the animated book series Rapulani about a young girl with a magical afro who after experiencing loss has to figure out all these confusing emotions as her world continues to change but all through using her hair while going on different adventures. They have now translated the animation books into a game which is called Rapz The Game.

In order to repurpose the animated book into a game they approached ITTHYNK as their investment partners. 1000 Hug Films the company that Yolanda owns  collaborated with Space Salad Studios. SpaceSalad Studios is a multi-award winning Indie Game Studio based in South Africa. They aim to tackle social issues through African identity and narratives that resonate globally.

The ITTHYNK Incubator lab gave them their first bit of seed funding which is what they used to build the prototype for their game. Since the game found an already thriving brand that already had an animated book and merchandise existing, they were keen to create an integrated marketing approach where they would really push the brand and although the game stood on its own its marketing would be part of the whole and thus more efficient.

Mollo Animation Academy and Studio is living up to it’s mantra of creating avenues of visibility and opportunity for emerging talent in animation. Its impact is sipping into the games industry by virtue of new entrants like Yolanda.