Cinesite will offer animation for the African Disney series


Cinesite won the animation work for a new animated series Iwaju.

This is the first time the studio has worked with Walt Disney Animation Studios on animated content having previously worked with Walt Disney Studios on live action features such as Mary Poppins Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Fountain of Youth.

The next animated series produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios in collaboration with African entertainment company Kugali, is expected to air in 2023 on Disney +.

Iwájú, a name that loosely translates to ‘the future’ in the Yoruba language, takes place in Lagos and will explore deep themes of inequality, innocence and questioning the status quo. Ziki Nelson, Hamid Ibrahim and Tolu Olowofoyeku created the Kugali company to tell “stories inspired by African culture using comics, art and augmented reality”.

Cinesite’s London and Montreal teams will work with executives from Disney Animation and Kugali. at the head of the Creative Director of Disney Animation, Jennifer Lee. The Cinesite production team is led by Joel MacDonald (Producer) and Ellen Poon (VFX Supervisor).

Commenting on the collaboration with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Cinesite Chief Animation Officer Eamonn Butler said, “There’s something to be excited about about Iwájú. On the one hand, it’s an entirely new and original story that takes place in an inventive way in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria. Second, working with the best of animation with Walt Disney Animation Studios and fresh new voices with the exciting storytellers at Kugali is truly a first of its kind, not just for Cinesite, but for all of us. The Cinesite teams have worked hard to continuously raise the bar for quality, and working with Disney Animation is a testament to everyone’s efforts. We can’t wait to show off the innovation and creativity of our team at Disney! “

Pre-production is underway at Cinesite and top talent is being recruited by Cinesite Montreal to start working on the series. During production, over 200 artists, technicians and support staff are expected to be employed to work on the series. Iwaju is the last animation project to start production at Cinesite and joins MGMs The Addams Family suite, Aniventure’s Flaming Samurai, an animated comedy based on the classic Mel Brooks film Flaming saddles, alongside Aniventure Hitpig From author Berkeley Breathed, Pulitzer Prize winner, all of which are in production.

Jon Cremier

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