How an African Studio (Kugali) Partnered with Disney to Bring "Iwaju" to Disney+` | CGAfrica

How an African Studio (Kugali) Partnered with Disney to Bring "Iwaju" to Disney+`

CGAfrica | CGAfrica
22 Mar 2024

In the vast landscape of animation, few stories resonate as deeply as those rooted in authenticity and collaboration. Recently, a groundbreaking partnership between Kugali and Disney has captured the attention of audiences worldwide. In a candid discussion, the creators of Iwaju shed light on their roles, challenges faced, and the triumphs achieved in bringing authentic African stories to life on a global stage.

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How Disney Noticed Kugali

The journey began with Kugali's dedication to telling authentic African stories. Their passion caught the eye of Disney's chief creative officer, Jennifer Lee, after a BBC interview about their anthology series. This sparked a conversation that revealed a shared goal: to empower diverse storytelling.

Empowering Local Talent

Despite technical challenges, the Kugali team remained steadfast in their commitment to showcasing local talent. Efforts were made to involve Lagos-based artists and voices, recognizing the importance of firsthand perspective in storytelling. This deliberate approach not only elevated the authenticity of the project but also showcased Africa's creative prowess on a global scale.




Global Collaboration

While the creative direction hailed from Africa, the production itself was a collaborative effort spanning continents. Disney Animation's partnership facilitated access to resources and expertise, with production carried out by talented teams at Synocyte in Canada. This global collaboration exemplified the power of bridging cultures and leveraging collective strengths.

Triumph Amidst Challenges

The journey was not without its hurdles, with sacrifices made and obstacles overcome along the way. Yet, these challenges only fueled the team's determination, echoing the resilience of the characters in "The Watcher." Their story of triumph serves as an inspiration to aspiring storytellers and artists, proving that with dedication and collaboration, anything is possible.

As the conversation draws to a close, it's evident that this collaboration transcends boundaries, both geographical and creative. Through their unwavering commitment to authenticity and collaboration, the team at Kugali and Disney has not only brought a compelling story to life but also opened doors for future generations of storytellers and animators.