The release of Jock of the Bushveld at the end of 2011 was, without question, a major step forward for animation in South Africa. Not only was Jock the first full-length animated feature to come out of South Africa; but it was also released in stereoscopic 3D. Although it received luke warm reviews from local critics, it attracted good audiences in South Africa and is currently being prepared for various international releases.
The year, the postgraduate Animation Studies seminar programme in Digital Arts concluded with a session that examined the Jock phenomenon from several different perspectives. Local marketing expert, Andy Rice, presented the very successful branding and merchandizing strategies that were applied to Jock; while Wits Digital Arts MA research student, Lucy Higgens, discussed the adaptation processes that the director/scriptwriter Duncan MacNeillie used when developing the animated film from his earlier (1986) live action version of the class tale. Finally, the Technical Director of the Jock production, Tiaan Franken, (an alumni of the Wits Animation programme) spoke about the numerous technical challenges that had to be overcome in the making of the feature film. Tiaan also showed a clip from the the television series which the team is developing as the next stage of the production.
Andy Rice presenting the merchandising strategy used for the launch of Jock of the Bushveld.
Lucy Higgens and Tiaan Franken after their presentations at the Jock of the Bushveld seminar.