Sunday, 18 May 2008

Project Ngando: Research in the DRC

The VRG group supported my travel expenses for my fieldwork in Kinshasa in the DRC between the 11th - 31st May. During this time I participated on various workshops in scriptwriting, acting, sculpture and 3D Computer Animation, that were organised by Studio Malembe Maa and J.M. Kibushi. The workshops were held at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa. Each workshop was designed to inform local artists with professional practice for animation. It also formed part of a larger project: the development of Project Ngando, the first feature length stop-motion film to be made by a Congolese director, J.M Kibushi.

The workshops spanned across 3 weeks, and consisted of developments on the script's main plot line, narrative development and structure; development and design of characters as 2D drawings and later sculptures/ maquettes; movement studies and documentation of one key scene performed by actors and dancers. All workshops were heavily documented to retain this information for later production developments and resource material.

The director, Jean Michel Kibushi, typically works on animations which derive from local Tetela tales, from the Kasai Oriental Region. The animations feature various techniques, although settling on stop-motion with silicon models, one of the most costly and difficult techniques. His films have had both local and international success featuring in various European festivals, and recently having a retrospective at the AFRIMATION event organised at SOAS, London. As part of on-going research into Sub-Saharan Animation, I have been following and documenting Jean-Michel's films within the specific political, social and anthropological context of the DRC, whilst situating it amongst a context of various artistic practices that inform his work. It is my intention to continue documenting the production of this film as it develops in time. The development of this research as it stands, has culminated in an article on Jean Michel Kibushi, and his films, that will be published within a book on African Film and Video (title due to be announced).

More more information on this project, and other African Animation/ Film developments and rambles.. click on this link

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