The Triggerfish Story Lab, a program sponsored in part by the Walt Disney Company, has selected eight African feature film and television projects for development—including a feature film by Binti author Nnedi Okorafor! The Camel Racer, which she created with Wanuri Kahiu, will be one of the projects in the inaugural Triggerfish Story Lab, which aims to aid African writers and directors in developing their craft over a period of 18 months and beyond.
In its first year of accepting applications, the Lab received 1,378 entries. The plan had been to narrow it down to six finalists, but they were so impressed with the quality of the work that they upped it to eight. Anthony Silversten, head of development at Triggerfish, described the projects in a press release:
From misfit Zambian girls who become low-budget superhero-super-spies to a stubborn 12-year-old Kenyan girl who defies tradition by racing camels, from a young South African scientist who accidentally turns her annoying little sister into a new source of electricity to a timid lemming who must defy his nature, these are characters we fell in love with. We’re excited by the range of stories, that explore everything from contemporary urban to Afro-futuristic worlds. We’re looking forward to bringing something fresh to the screen.
Okorafor’s The Camel Racer is clearly described above; it’s also a theme she’s tackled in her book Who Fears Death, which featured a female character who similarly defied convention with her talent for camel racing. The Triggerfish Story Lab begins in the new year, when the winning storytellers will visit Disney’s headquarters in early 2016. During that two-week period, they will be mentored by key film studio and television executives; that support will continue through the development process, which may take several years. Congratulations to Okorafor, Kahiu, and the rest of the finalists!