In a first for South African film, ‘Khumba’ – the 3D, computer-animated adventure comedy –will be available on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans.The film, which took the number one position at the South African box office when it released theatrically, is still on circuit internationally and has been translated into over 20 foreign languages. The DVD will launch on 3 March and it’s the first time that Zulu children can watch an animated feature in their own language since Disney released a Zulu version of ‘The Lion King’ twenty years ago.
“Each language brings a whole new layer of humour and authenticity to the film,” says ‘Khumba’ director Anthony Silverston. “It’s been an incredible rewarding process to have the film translated, and it can now reach a bigger audience than ever on DVD.”
‘Khumba’ is the second animated feature produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, following the successful global release of ‘Adventures in Zambezia’. The film tells the story of Khumba, a zebra who has only half his stripes. When he is blamed for the drought by the rest of his herd, he sets off on a daring quest to earn his stripes. He meets a range of quirky characters and teams up with an unlikely duo: Mama V, an overprotective wildebeest, and Bradley, a flamboyant ostrich. But he also has to come face to face with Phango, a sadistic leopard who controls the waterholes and terrorises all the animals in the Great Karoo.
The New York Times Critics’ Pick called it “wondrous and slightly deranged”, while the Mail & Guardian said, “Packed with humour, folklore and absorbing characters, ‘Khumba’is a local offering of the highest calibre.”
The DVD features a number of extras, including the movie trailer, the music video “The Real Me” by Loyiso, a series of previously unreleased out takes called “Acting Out”, a character evolution which describes the personality of each of the animal characters, ‘The Karoo – A World of Difference’, and finally a glimpse into the development of Nora the sheep voiced by Catherine Tate in ‘Nora, a great partnersheep’.
“‘Khumba’ has all the makings of a classic tale: it’s well told, visually stunning and emotionally evocative,” says Helen Kuun. “It’s like‘The Lion King’ of the 21st century. “To be able to release a 3D animated film of this quality on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans is a major achievement.”
The English version features the voice of Liam Neeson as a malicious leopard, as well as the voices of Jake T Austin, Anna Sophia Robb, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Buscemi, among others.
In the isiZulu version, the role of Khumba is voiced by Siphiwe Nkosi, a singer and film, television and theatre actor best known for his role as the uncle of the title character in the popular SABC1 sitcom ‘Nomzamo’. The role of Nora the sheep is voiced by Gcina Mkhize, a familiar face form ‘Gaz’lam’‘eKasi’ and the SABC1 drama series ‘Intersexions’. Actress and voice artist Jessie Palmer takes on the role of bighearted wildebeest Mama V, while Bradley, the insecure ostrich, is voiced by gospel star Neyi Zimu.
The Afrikaans version features the voices of several well-known Afrikaans actors who will be familiar to local audiences. The voice over artists are directed by radio and television personality Bettie Kemp, who is herself an experienced voice artist, news reader and continuity announcer. Popular actor and comedian Hannes Brümmer provides the voice for Khumba, with Rika Sennet as his mother.Veteran voice artist and actor Francois Stemmet is the voice for the evil Phango. The meerkat dad is voiced by Afrikaans musician and actor Lochner de Kock, while the loony old sheep is voiced by cabaret star and actress Elzabé Zietsman. The dubbing of both the Afrikaans and isiZulu versions was done at Presto Post Production.
‘Khumba’ was in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market (MIFA), which took place in France from 10 to 15 June. This is one of the world’s premiere animation festivals and is attended by around 7000 animators and more than 400 journalist from around the world.
In addition, the film was screened and officially selected at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), held from 5-15 September 2013.It has also been sold to most of the major territories worldwide.
A film for everyone, ‘Khumba’ has been given a“Family-Approved” seal by The Dove Foundation, a US-based organisation that reviews movies and awards its stamp of approval to those deemed suitable for family viewing, giving it broad appeal.
The DVDwill be available in all good retail and rental stores from 3 March 2014.