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'The Snail and the Whale' director wins top global animation prize

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2021-04-19 Liam Karabo Joyce
a bird swimming in water © Provided by Independent Online (IOL)

“The Snail and the Whale”, directed by Max Lang and South Africa’s Daniel Snaddon, has won the Annie Award for Best Special Production.

The Annie Awards have been presented by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood, annually since 1972 to recognise excellence in animation. This year’s awards were held as a virtual ceremony last week.

Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by Magic Light Pictures, The Snail and the Whale follows the amazing journey of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale.

The 27-minute short film is a joyous, empowering story about the natural wonders of the world and discovering that, no matter how small you are, you really can make a difference.

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Based on the picture book written in 2003 by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, “The Snail and the Whale” was shortlisted for an Oscar and has won eight other international awards at the likes of the British Animation Awards, Cartoons on the Bay, New York International Children’s Film Festival, The Venice TV Awards and the BANFF Rockie’s Awards.

Currently streaming on Showmax across most of Africa, “The Snail and the Whale” was voiced by a starry British acting cast including Sally Hawkins as Snail, Rob Brydon as Whale, Cariad Lloyd as Teacher and the late Dame Diana Rigg as the narrator.

Produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope, “The Snail and the Whale” is a Magic Light Pictures production in association with Triggerfish Animation.

This is the second collaboration between Magic Light Pictures and Triggerfish to win an Annie, following from the Oscar-nominated “Revolting Rhymes”, on which Triggerfish also provided animation services.

“ForThe Snail and the Whale’ to be recognised by the International Animated Film Association is a huge thrill for all of us.

“On behalf of the Triggerfish team, a huge thanks to Magic Light Pictures for entrusting us with this very special project, and to Max Lang for his wonderful vision and partnership in making this film.

“I’d also personally like to thank the partners at Triggerfish and our world-class team of animation artists.

“They are an exceptional group, and it’s such a privilege to make films with them,” said Snaddon.

“Animation is a booming industry worldwide, so we hope this award inspires the next generation of animators in South Africa to follow their dreams into the industry, knowing it’s possible for a child raised in the Lowveld, like Dan, to go on to win one of the world’s top animation prizes,” said Triggerfish chief executive Stuart Forrest.

“We’re delighted to see increased international recognition of what we’ve known for a while: that the South African film-makers on Showmax can compete with the best in the world,” said Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group’s chief executive for general entertainment and connected video.

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