FORMER DUT STUDENT MAKES HER MARK IN DURBAN
Written by: Shanice Pillay
Clare Tracy Louis (47), an ordinary individual from Syndenham, has done the first for the city of Durban by opening an animation studio.
The former Graphic Design student from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), found her love for animation when she saw a The Lord of the Rings movie.
“The first time I saw Gollum creeping down the mountain towards the sleeping hobbits in Lord of the Rings. I was blown away and thought: “How do I do THAT?” That was in Mexico and I was working on the cruise ship at the time, so it was easy to start visiting animation companies in the different cities we docked in – the States and Europe,” said Louis.
With having travelled well over 80 countries, her passion drove her back to South African soil. Her journey of Katanimate Studios started when she was sitting on a beach in Bora Bora (Tahiti).
“I came home, applied to study at Wits University and finished my masters. I started working for Coal Stove Pictures in Johannesburg for three years, learning to be a producer. I wanted to produce my own animated TV series from then.”
She got her big break last year when the owner of the company, Fidel Namisi, approached her and told her the company will not be pursuing animation. Her passion was Time Sliders, and coming back to Durban to start the company wasn’t easy but it eventually paid off.
“With support from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Film Commission and recently, the National Arts Council (NAC), we were able to start Katanimate Studios. Without each of these funders, we would not be sitting here,” she said.
Louis explains her project Time Sliders.
Time Sliders is about three brilliant young Science Olympiad winners, who visit the Globe of Wisdom, the world’s most valued and protected Centre of knowledge. An intruder is seen tampering with the globe, which explodes and places them back in time. Travelling to different times and places, Eli (South Africa), Hakeema (Morocco) and Kofi (Ghana) meet the great African leaders that shaped the continent and must use their martial arts powers bestowed upon them in their mission to recapture historical moments as it is written,” she said.
With a team of experienced animators and artists behind her, Louis hopes to set the stage for animation in Durban, and develop it as much as it is in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“We want to use Katanimate Studios as the springboard for an animation presence in Durban. As the first company I know of doing a TV series in Durban, we want to get people here excited about animation, be it International or African. Helping young minds discover that the little doodle they make in their books today could be a comic that goes all over the world, telling THEIR story. Or that could become a TV series that some child in Brazil or Japan goes crazy over,” she said.
She added that roller-blading in her spare time is always a way to distress but support from her family and friends is what she treasures the most. She encourages individuals, to stick to the cliché and always follow your dreams, but it must be in God’s plan.
*Caption: Clare Tracy Louis in Paris for a festival.