Following a groundswell of grassroots support from fans and industry alike, a group of Cape Town-based artists and animators known as Blue Forest Collective are launching a crowd-funding campaign for their graphic novel project, KARIBA.

Originally conceived as a 2D-animated feature film, KARIBA first drew attention when the team released a teaser trailer for the property in April 2015. The video quickly racked up over 250,000 views on Vimeo and made it to the front page of the popular user-curated website, Reddit.  This online success led to features in VARIETY, ANIMATION MAGAZINE and the respected industry website Cartoon Brew.

As a step towards developing the feature film script, the Blue Forest team, led by artist Daniel Clarke, has decided to raise funds for a graphic novel via a month-long campaign on the international crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. Due to launch on March 1, the campaign has received a welcome boost from Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation Studios (ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA, KHUMBA) who have pledged to match 50% of the funds raised.

“We have been impressed by the quality of work produced by the talented team behind KARIBA and have the utmost faith in their abilities to create a world-class product,” says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish. “The Kickstarter campaign will allow us to see if there is enough of a support base to pursue the project long-term with the ultimate goal to produce a feature length film with global appeal.”

Set in Zimbabwe, KARIBA interweaves history and mythology through an imaginative retelling of the embattled construction of the Kariba dam in the 1950s.  Daniel Clarke’s grandfather, a Zimbabwean, is responsible for sparking the story idea, Clarke explains. “My grandfather told me about the repeated disasters the dam suffered during its construction, and the local legend that Nyami-Nyami, the river spirit, was angry that the dam had separated him from his wife,” says Clarke.

Blue Forest’s version envisages the story through the eyes of Nyami-Nyami’s daughter, a girl named Siku who develops a friendship with the dam-builder’s son, Amedeo.

“We received huge encouragement right from the get-go to do a crowdfunding campaign for a feature film,” says Clarke. “The idea of starting with a graphic novel rather than a script, and then expanding it into a movie, was a natural fit for the Kickstarter platform, the project’s audience and for myself as a visual artist,” he explains.

The team aims to deliver a 100+ page graphic novel, available on a limited edition preorder basis in both hardcover and softcover.

“Triggerfish has brought us a lot closer to making our vision a reality,” adds Clarke’s team-mate Daniel Snaddon, who will serve as story editor. “But in the end, it’s all going to be up to the community we can attract around our vision. We hope KARIBA fans are as excited about this next step as we are.”

As the Tsonga saying goes: a torrent begins as a stream.

Leave a Reply