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FEEDBACK ON VIDEO (article first published : 2003-07-31)

In a truly pioneering and exciting initiative for the South African animation industry, Feedback, an internationally award-winning play by Andrew Buckland, is being transformed into South Africa’s first computer-animated feature film by the Digital Arts postgraduate programme in 3D Animation at the Wits School of Arts.

Throwing its weight behind this project, the Shuttleworth Foundation, established by IT entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, has funded the purchase of a Linux based server for the Wits School of Arts.

Written by Andrew Buckland, Feedback earned a Scotsman Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival and was commissioned for a season at the South Bank Centre in London. A murder-mystery that cunningly explores topics as diverse as food-consciousness and globalisation, this poignant, action-intensive, quirky and thoroughly entertaining play is a powerfully fantastical celebration of humanity and its capacity for greed and altruism.

While this project is focussed on producing a world-class animated film, it will also be sharing the knowledge gained through this process with the South African public on the production website www.thefeedbackproject.com, to stimulate an interest and ability in this exhilarating field of entertainment.

Explains Thomas Black, the Shuttleworth Foundation's open source programme manager, "Linux and various other open-source programs are currently taking over the international visual effects industry due to their cost, performance, reliability and customisability. Increasingly used as the standard environment for animation houses, international studios such as Pixar (responsible for films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc.), DreamWorks (Shrek) and Industrial Light & Magic (Star Wars) have all being using Linux for some time. DreamWork's upcoming release of Sinbad, will in fact be the first animated film to be entirely developed on Linux."

This donation by the Shuttleworth Foundation's has also had another very positive spin-off. As a result of the server's purchase, Hewlett-Packard (SA) has become a partner to the Feedback project, providing an additional four graphics workstations for use on the project.

Says Black, "The Shuttleworth Foundation is proud to support an effort to produce South Africa's first animated film as part of the Foundation's objective to promote open source software and innovation. We applaud the Feedback project for recognising the importance of open source software and selecting it as their preferred rendering platform," he concludes.




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