Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish for Magic Light Pictures, Zog premiered on BBC last Christmas to five-star reviews and has since been named Best Animation at Shanghai International TV Festival and taken home the Audience Award for ages 3-6 at New York International Children’s Film Festival.
The perfect family film for Women’s Month, Zog is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much loved 2010 picture book, which has sold over 1.5 million copies, won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award in the UK, and cracked BookTrust’s list of ‘10 Of The Best Feminist Books For Children.’
Zog is the keenest but clumsiest pupil in his class at Dragon School, where he longs to win a gold star as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire. He keeps meeting a kindly young girl, who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest school assignment yet: capturing a princess?
Hugh Skinner (Harlots) plays the clumsy dragon; Patsy Ferran (Jamestown) is the kindly young girl; Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) is the bumbling knight Sir Gadabout; Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) is the narrator; Tracey Ullman is Madame Dragon; and Rob Brydon is many characters, as usual for a Magic Light special.
Zog placed fifth on the UK’s viewing chart this festive season, with only 200 000 fewer viewers than the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. The Telegraph praised the short as a “hypnotising, inspiring tale for all the family”; Den of Geek called it “a thing of perfectly spherical loveliness; it is lovely from every conceivable angle”; The Guardian warned parents “once this has been added to iPlayer you may never be allowed to watch anything else again on your TV – ever!”; and Donaldson told The Herald that Zog was her favourite BBC adaptation to date.
Zog is the fourth in a string of BBC Christmas adaptations from Triggerfish and Magic Light, following the multi-award-winning Donaldson-Scheffler adaptations Stick Man (2015) and The Highway Rat (2017) as well as the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes (2016).
Before teaming up with Triggerfish, Magic Light also made three previous Donaldson-Scheffler adaptations: the Oscar-nominated The Gruffalo (2009) andRoom On The Broom (2012) and Annecy winner The Gruffalo’s Child (2011).
All seven family classics are now streaming on Showmax.
Zog was co-directed by two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom) and South African Daniel Snaddon, who also directedStick Man, starring Martin Freeman (aka Bilbo in The Hobbit and Watson in Sherlock), which won best in the world prizes at Annecy and Kidscreen, among others, and was nominated for the BAFTA.
Snaddon is currently co-directing The Snail and The Whale, his third BBC Christmas special for Triggerfish and Magic Light Pictures, based on another Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler classic, which is coming to Showmax in 2020. Snaddon is also developing a feature film based on Daniel and James Clarke’s graphic novel Kariba.
In addition to his work as a director, Snaddon co-founded Kunjanimation, which grew into The Cape Town International Animation Festival, which is partnering with Comic Con to create Comic Con Cape Town in 2020. He’s also the co-founder, with his wife Julia Smuts Louw, of Draw For Life, a volunteer-based programme that teaches underprivileged learners the fundamentals of drawing for animation. And he’s also one of the experts featured on Triggerfish Academy, a new free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities in the field of animation, created by Triggerfish in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Watch Zog first and only on Showmax in Africa by clicking here.
Image Courtesy: Supplied
Era Baloyi is a Copywriter, Social Media Manager, Public Relations and Communications practitioner who is Co-Founder and CEO of Quick Read Magazine. He’s been with Quick Read since 2014 and he’s seen how the magazine grew. He focuses more on entertainment, music and movie reviews.