CTIAF 2023 | FAME Week Africa Pitch Sessions

Pitch, Persuade, Produce is a pitching incubator brought to you by CTIAF in collaboration with the United States Consulate General, Cape Town, South Africa  

Pitching is one of the first steps all creators must take in order to sell their ideas. Sometimes this is a competition, sometimes this is a one on one meeting. In all cases the same principles are needed to convey your ideas effectively. How do you persuade someone  "who you’ll only get to meet for 30 min" -  that your idea is worth their time (and their money)?

In collaboration with the United States Consulate General, Cape Town, South Africa,  8 chosen projects will spend 8 weeks learning from our mentors.  

If you are selected you are committing to attend a series of 4 x masterclasses and 4 x  feedback sessions which will be held after 19h00 (SAST) GMT +2 during the weekday in June, July and August. You will be given assignments and feedback throughout.


SUBMISSIONS CLOSED - View our selected Pitches below

People Pitching at CTIAF 2023 | FAME Week Africa

Clea Mallinson

Clea has over 15 years of video editing experience and in the dramatic MIDPOINT of her career thus far, she shifted from editing real people to hamsters being chased by giant doughnuts!

She has worked at Triggerfish Animation and Sunrise Productions on shorts, series and features films including Supa Team 4, Netflix’s first ever African animated series.

From doing an MA in screenwriting in Ireland, to taking animation writing classes delivered from Nigeria, Clea is excited to expand her creative journey as a writer/director. Her projects focussing on self-expression, connection and the environment have received numerous grants and she has pitched twice at Animation Du Monde, receiving a residency at Ciclic Animation. She is delighted to be pitching The Kleintjies with Deidre Jantjies at CTIAF.

When she’s not glued to her screen you'll find her in nature, crocheting Totoro's, or (finally) playing D&D.

Craig M. Niken

As an award-winning veteran of the ‘dark arts’ – advertising & marketing – Craig now brings the creativity and skills that get productions done slickly, on-schedule and in-budget to the prestige animated short-film: ‘What We Forgot: Creation Poems of the First Bushmen’.  

Told using collage, charcoal-sketch and sand-motion animation, ‘What We Forgot…’ will be a one-of-a-kind, dreamlike journey into the wise, empathetic, often dark wisdom of the /Xam people – the proto-ancestors of humanity.  Created using alternative styles of animation not often seen – including that most ancient medium, sand – promises a dazzling visual display that is sure to leave international festival audiences awed, at every viewing!  

Craig manages to give voice to these ancestors through his eclectic and ethical approach to research and scriptwriting.  Giving great care to frame the juxtapositions between ancient lore and modernity through the ethno-identitarian lens of our ancestors, he delivers content that allows us to enjoy ancient perspectives and perhaps even learn something too.    

As a dedicated lifelong-learner, Craig has completed a number of scriptwriting masterclasses through the Writer’s Guild of South Africa, notably including Beyond Structure & Modern Scriptwriting (mentors from Pixar), Creativity, Practical Plotting & Non-Linear Narratives (mentors from AMC’s Breaking Bad).   In addition, he’s graduated from Wits University, majoring in African Diasporic Poetry and Creative Writing.  Being of mixed-ancestry, with links to the /Xam, Craig is fascinated with tales told by forgotten voices across the world – and what they could tell us about ourselves.  

Based in Jo’burg, but heart-placed across the Karoo, Craig is a natural nomad and a curious balance of opposites in harmony.  All this makes him uniquely suited to bring the poetry of ‘What We Forgot…’ to modern audiences.  

Be a part of this journey and let’s bring the next award-winning, darling-of-the-festival-circuit to life – collaborate with Craig!  

Deidre Jantjies

Deidre Jantjies is a cultural activist passionate about the historical stories of women. She is the founder of Na Aap Productions, a fully integrated, broad based production company, screening untold stories of Southern Africa.

Jantjies has a long history of stage performing, she took these skills and started writing her own stories that she is creating into short and feature films. Working extensively on narratives closest to her heart. Stories that include indigenous heritage and traditions that have been forgotten, is the most important dialogue that she wants to create. In 2020 she directed & produced 'Love Thy Neighbour' that won International awards, partnering with an Indian storyteller. She also wrote, directed and produced 'Stories in die Wind' a web series that tells the indigenous story of a young girl finding her purpose. The web series was then turned into a children's book written by Deidre Jantjies, illustrated by Dav Andrew and published by NB Publishers in November 2022.

She is currently working on 'Die Kleintjies' an animation series Human 11 yr old twins from Cape Town stumble upon the magical side of Table Mountain when they enter the world of the “Kleintjies;” a community of small beings who live connected to their earth, who show the twins that big leaps in life are possible if you just believe in yourself.


Jeani Varty

Jeani Varty is a young director and visual development artist who has been active in the industry since 2016. Having worked as a freelancer turned trainer for the past 4 years at Mollo animation academy, she has gained an appreciation for the developing artist and community at large. Jeani has since struck out on her own as a freelancer, working on multiple shows and developing her own IP.

Her main focus now is shifting to building digital communities, networks, and spaces for freelancers, artists and young animators looking to learn - this is done through her discord server, SADAC - the South African Digital Arts Community.

Nazrene Salie

Nazrene Salie is the co-owner of Insync Productions, a Cape Town based television production company. She has worked within the film and television industry for the past eighteen years and has grown and developed alongside the ever-changing and robust South African industry. Since 2005 she has produced inserts, documentaries and series across the genres of Education, Factual, Children and Wildlife, but really, it’s just a fancy way of saying that she loves to tell stories and see them come to life. Several of her works under the Insync banner have been nominated for local accolades such as the SAFTA’s and international awards such as the Japan Prize and Prix Jeunesse International.

In 2012 she trained with the National Film and Video Foundation through their Sediba Spark Programme in script editing and then went on to do the NFVF Sediba Masters Programme in Script Editing. It was during this time that she realized her love for children’s fictional programming and so the journey and natural progression toward animation began.

She is passionate about conservation; heritage and she is driven by a desire to share African stories with the world.

Nic Buchanan

Nic started out in media with the Supa Strikas comic book, and then did a graphic novel on Nelson Mandela. This led to the start of 2D animation studio, Pixcomm, which created Africa’s most watched children’s show, Jabu’s Jungle. Last year a new girl’s series, Zizi & Hannibal, was launched and Nic is now developing an animated feature on the coming-of-age story of Mandela with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.


Omolemo Nthathe

Omolemo Nthathe is a writer, director and producer who is deeply committed to telling stories centered on identity, self-discovery and profound life experiences. She completed her BTech in Film and Television Production cum laude in 2018 from Tshwane University of Technology. Co-founding Blackhut films after university, Omolemo wrote, directed, and produced Blackhut films’ debut documentary, “Go nyelela ga puo | Death of language,” which premiered on Showmax, aired on SABC 2 and reached audiences globally.

Omolemo is a Durban FilmMart Institute Business Lab alumna and she is currently in various stages of production for funded documentaries, feature films - one of which she is producing and is being developed through the Durban FilmMart Jumpstart Script Development Lab in partnership with Produire au Sud (PAS) - Festival des 3 Continents, titled Maternal. Her animation shortfilm, The weeping riparian: A Riverine Rabbit’s tale, chronicles the journey of the last surviving colony of Riverine rabbits, whose native habitat in the Karoo desert faces imminent threat from human encroachment.

Pete O'Donoghue

Pete came to animation though sound, starting his career sound designing and mixing on South Africa’s first half hour animation show, Urbo: The Adventures of Pax Afrika. Since then, Pete has worked on a wide variety of animated projects in the sound department, including projects for Disney XD, Cartoon Network, Netflix and Disney+, as well as an upcoming animated feature and projects featured at Annecy and other global animation festivals.

Some highlight projects include You Give Me Heart – a Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire episode, Twende, Supa Strikas, the Garbage Boy, Majitu and Intergalactic Icecream Cartoon Network shorts, Troll Girl and Shaka Inkosi YamaKhosi.

Over the last six years Pete has been actively working in animation development, with numerous projects at various stages of development. Pete’s screenplay for the adaptation of Rob van Vuuren’s Electric Juju was selected for JETS 2020 at Berlinale, and was presented at the South African territory focus at Annecy 2019. 

In 2019, Pete wrote and co-directed the documentary Also for Grownups: Emerging voices in South African Animation which can be found on Showmax, and is a series writer on Twende season 1 which is currently in production.

Raphael Griffiths 

A writer, director and actor. Raphael started his career as a television presenter on the youth entertainment show Q-Base 28 & Music moves me (SABC 2) which lead to supporting and lead acting roles on popular telenovelas like Muvhango (SABC 2), Imbewu - The seed ( E -TV), and the tv series Roomies on ( 1-Magic).

He wrote and directed Nightmares a performance art film for the national arts festival. He also worked on Nightmares & Nike Airs, a multi media art project that included music, poetry, fine art photography and a 15 minute art film.

As a writer he has been mentored by renowned South African author Mike Nicol and has successfully finished writing programmes with New York Film Academy (Comic book writing), Penguin Random House ( Non-fiction writing), African Filmmakers Academy and the university endorsed KZN Film Commision Script Writing programme.

He is currently working on two graphic novels, Zwide which he plans to develop further into an animated feature & Lalo which will be developed into an animated series.

Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams, a multi-talented individual, is an architect, contractor, and entrepreneur during the day, but he transforms into an imaginative animator and storyteller at night. His diverse experiences from living in different countries shaped his unique perspective.

His creative journey led him to explore the captivating urban legend of "Makmende: A Legend Untold," an animated ten part anthological series rooted in Kenyan pop folklore and "sheng" street slang. Embracing the audacious spirit of "sheng," Rodney weaves inspiring narratives that celebrate diversity and resilience, breathing life into forgotten tales and bridging the past with the present.



Jason Jacobs and Devon Delmar are co-writers and co-directors on multiple projects in film, theatre, animation, and series. Their first feature Carissa (filmed in Wupperthal, SA) and short film Brakwater (filmed in Kharkams, SA) are currently in post-production. They have been selected for Durban FilmMart, Gotham Film Week in New York, IFFR CineMart in Rotterdam, and the Final Cut lab at the Venice Film Festival. They have also been selected for the Drama International Short Film Festival in Greece, the Franconia Writers’ Residency in Minnesota, the 2022 NFF-NFVF Thuthuka Fund, and are also fellows of the 2022 Oxbelly Screenwriters & Directors Lab in Greece. 

Annemarie is a SAFTA award-winning producer, bringing captivating narratives to life through her company, Meria Productions. 

Her recent works include the global hit web series Start it Up, international reality format hit Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande, and martial arts short film Die Swart Draak Ontwaak. 


Meet the mentors 

Nathan Stanton

Head of Story/ Storyboard Artist/Story consultant 

Nathan will help you visualise your story, develop beat boards and look at the structure of your story. Are you telling your story in an impactful and interesting way?

Ed Bell

Award winning Director and Visual Development Expert

Ed will look at your characters and your world and help you shape your visual language to be impactful and eye catching

  Gennie Rim

Award winning producer

Gennie has worked at some of the top studios in the world.  Most recently at Glen Keane Productions.

Gennie is going to look at your pitch through a business lens and help you package it for success.


Esther Pearl

Entrepreneur and Producer

Esther Pearl is the founder of Reel Stories and is a champion of diverse storytelling.

Esther will work with participants on their pitching style, how they present and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.