There was a welcome jobs boost for the city yesterday when one of South Africa’s leading animation studios, Triggerfish, selected Galway as its first international location.
Behind Netflix’s first original animated TV series from Africa, the studio’s launch in the city is expected to create 60 new jobs over the course of three years.
Studio producer at Triggerfish, Andy Wonnacott, said that Galway ticked all the boxes for what the company wanted from a European base. Mr Wonnacott who will head up the Galway branch said they need more capacity to keep up with our ambitions and Galway ticked all the boxes for their European base.
“It has a similar time zone to South Africa; is very well connected, with both flights and broadband connectivity; has a thriving creative community; offers loads of really fantastic business support. For us personally, Ireland is our second home, so it will be good to be back with family and friends,” he said.
Founded in 1996, Triggerfish was instrumental in the birth of the South African animation industry, co-founding the country’s official animation association as well as an ongoing monthly screening and networking event.
It animated the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations such as the 2020 International Emmy-winning Zog, the 2020 British Animation Awards winner The Snail and the Whale, the BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man, and the Rose d’Or-winning The Highway Rat, all produced by Magic Light Pictures.
'Irish creatives seem very similar to what we always look for in South Africa: a passion for animation, a love of story, and the deeply felt ambition to create award-winning work'
The studio’s first two features, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba [a still from which is above], are among the five highest-grossing South African feature films of all time, with nine million cinema tickets sold globally. This saw Triggerfish named overall Business of the Year in South Africa’s Western Cape province in 2015 - a first for an animation company.
CEO of Triggerfish Stuart Forrest said the studio was very familiar with the quality work produced by Irish animators. “To keep up with demand, we started outsourcing work to Irish animators in 2019 and were quickly won over by both the quality of the work and the dedication to the craft. In many ways, the Irish creatives seem very similar to what we always look for in South Africa: a passion for animation, a love of story, and the deeply felt ambition to create award-winning and entertaining work.”
“We’re big fans of the likes of Cartoon Saloon and Giant, so are looking forward to helping grow Ireland as an animation hub producing some of the world’s best work. To begin with, we’ll be continuing our work on various high-end game projects, and expect this to scale quickly in line with Triggerfish’s track record in Africa“
Minister for Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon said the move was a major vote of confidence for the county’s creative sector and would create a new generation of Irish animation professionals.
'I have no doubt that this move will enhance employment opportunities and help Galway’s economy progress further on from the effects of the pandemic'
Minister Cannon said he is delighted that Triggerfish has announced that it is to establish its first international studio in Galway.
“The move is anticipated to create about 60 new jobs in the next few years and the fact that Triggerfish’ executives have cited Galway’s connectivity, flourishing creative community, and strong business support as among the reasons for the move is a major vote of confidence for the county’s creative sector.
“I have no doubt that this move will enhance both interest and employment opportunities in the animation industry and help Galway’s economy progress further on from the effects of the pandemic while helping to create a new generation of Irish animation professionals,” he added.