Belly Flop, the award-winning CG-animated short from Cape Town animation studio Triggerfish, is now available to watch online. Directed by Jeremy Collins and co-directed by Kelly Dillon, Belly Flop is the story of Penny, a fearless young girl learning to dive, unperturbed by a talented diver who keeps stealing the spotlight.
The heart-warming short film has screened at over 60 international festivals, and was named Best Animation at the Africa Movie Academy Awards last month as well as winning the Gryphon Award 6+ at Giffoni, one of the world’s premiere children’s festivals, Best In Show at Longwood Animation Festival, the Czech TV Audience Award at Zlin International Film Festival for Children and Youth, and the Children’s Jury award at Cinemira, among other accolades.
Belly Flop also screened at Oscar-qualifying festivals like Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Anima Mundi, as well as Annecy 2018, where it was shown during the closing ceremony, alongside DreamWorks’ Bilby, Mirai Mizue’s Dreamland, and the NFB’s reconstructed Winsor McCay classic, Gertie the Dinosaur.
Belly Flop is based on a screenplay by Dillon. who won an internal scriptwriting competition at Triggerfish in 2011 — the five-minute short was produced over the last seven years as a passion project during downtime at the studio. With Marc Dey, Dillon also co-wrote Ninja Princess, one of the winners of the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab. The series is now in development with Triggerfish and global A-list partners.
“The character of Penny was inspired by a girl I au-paired for when I was at university,” Dillon explained. “I remember when she started taking swimming lessons, I admired her persistence in learning to dive properly, oblivious that she kept belly flopping. This short film has taken seven years, so being named Africa’s best animation really reinforces Belly Flop’s message that perseverance does pay off, eventually.”
Collins is a freelance animation director based in Cape Town, who has over 20 years of experience creating short-form animation and motion graphics. “The process of making Belly Flop has been a lot like Penny’s day at the pool: a combination of perseverance, hard work and plain good luck,” he commented. “We started production in 2015 and finished the edit in January 2018, which is why our credit roll is so long. With the exception of the first month – when fortune smiled on us and we suddenly had a full studio at our disposal – during the rest of production, we worked with small teams, in short bursts between other projects. Thanks to Kelly and Anthony Silverston, Triggerfish’s head of development, we kept the momentum and maintained focus. I’m absolutely delighted by the response we’ve had from audiences all over the world, and I can’t wait to share our little movie with a wider audience, especially here at home.”
Triggerfish, Africa’s leading animation company, helped animate Revolting Rhymes, Magic Light’s BBC One Christmas special adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, which was nominated for an Oscar and won at the Annie Awards, Kidscreen, and The International Emmy Awards this year. Triggerfish is currently in production on their third feature film, Seal Team, among other projects.