With a view to extending its reach into Africa, the Disney+ platform is releasing “Kizazi Moto: Génération Feu” on Wednesday, a series of sci-fi animated shorts by young creators from the continent, supported by the co-director of “Spider-Man: New Generation”.
What will the Africa of the future look like? Whether they see spirits, herds of cyborg cattle, or radioactive octopuses, fourteen filmmakers from Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt have answered this question in ten independent, ten-minute episodes mixing 2D and 3D.
“Kizazi Moto” – a title taken from the Swahili expression “Kizazi cha moto” meaning “generation of fire” – testifies to the big-eared firm’s interest in Africa.
It also plans to release another science-fiction animated series set in a future version of Lagos, Nigeria, created in collaboration with pan-African entertainment company Kugali.
For “Kizazi Moto”, the artists involved drew on the continent’s history and diverse cultures, blending myths, extraterrestrials, gods, monsters, and futuristic technologies, while dealing more or less head-on with climate change, colonization and the excesses of social networking.
In “Mukudzei”, for example, an influencer is projected into a parallel reality where Zimbabwe has not been colonized, while “Surf Sangoma”, set in 2050, follows thrill-seeking surfers in the South African city of Durban, where rising waters have led to a ban on sea activities.
– Afrofuturism -Co-produced by South African studio Triggerfish and Peter Ramsey, co-director of the Oscar-winning film “Spider-Man: New Generation”, the series thus digs into the furrow of Afrofuturism, whose potential was demonstrated by the worldwide success of Marvel’s American blockbuster “Black Panther”.
“But it’s something we’ve never really seen before”, as the series relies on “individual creators with authentic personal stories and experiences”, Orion Ross, Vice President Animation for Disney EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), assured AFP at the Annecy Festival in June.
All of them “were really excited about the opportunity to express something to the world through Disney+ (which has almost 160 million subscribers, editor’s note), in a way that had previously been inaccessible to them”, insisted Peter Ramsey.
According to him, American studios are already interested in the work of these directors. And, if “Kizaki Moto” proves a success, he would like to see another series launched “with stories from ten other countries, to give more creators a chance”.
Drawing a parallel between this Disney production and his “Spider-Man”, Peter Ramsey points out that the latter helped renew American animated blockbusters by “showing that they could have more diverse, avant-garde and experimental styles”.
“What we tried to do with +Spider-Man: New Generation+ was to reproduce things that had already been tested in short films”, in the same way as the creators of “Kizazi Moto”, he added.