It’s been a remarkable three weeks for the team at Blue Forest Collective, who raised their goal amount of $20,000 for the fantasy graphic novel project KARIBA, in just forty-one hours from its launch on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. With $37 000 currently pledged and another six days on the clock, the team look set to double their goal amount before the curtains close. “The support has been overwhelming,” says Blue Forest’s Daniel Clarke, director and creator of KARIBA.
The Cape Town-based group of artists and animators originally conceived KARIBA as a 2D film, but decided to start out with a graphic novel in order to have something concrete to offer supporters. By all accounts, this was a smart move.
With its product available on preorder for a sum of $25, KARIBA is already the most successful Kickstarter for an African graphic novel and the most successful Kickstarter for an African animation to date. “We’ve had to create new tiers of rewards to satisfy the demand – a great problem to have,” says campaign manager Sarah Scrimgeour.
So where will all that extra moolah go? “The original plan was just to raise enough to fund the development of the graphic novel, and then down the line we would look for investment for the 2D animated feature film,” explains co-director Daniel Snaddon. “But thanks to the fans’ generosity, it looks like we’ll have a running start at funding the development of the film itself.”
In addition to raising funding, the project has raised eyebrows around the world, including those of Yoshiaki Nishimura, producer of acclaimed Japanese animated features WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE and PRINCESS KAGUYA (Studio Ghibli). “Nishimura sent us his thumbs-up and some remarkably detailed notes on their trailer,” says Clarke. “It was surreal. He’s someone I really admire.”
There has also been interest from other studios, Daniel No.2 lets on, not least Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town, who have pledged to match half the funds raised on Kickstarter.
One thing is certain: the local industry is paying close attention to see how the team capitalizes on this lightning in a bottle.
To get on board and secure your graphic novel with extra chocolate sprinkles, visit the Kickstarter here!