WFAC - Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema 2004 - October 27 - 30, 2004

The Legend of the Sky Kingdom

2003 - Zimbabwe - 73 mins
English language dialogue
Rated G (Suitable for all ages)
© 2003, Sunrise


Roger Hawkins




Three children make a daring escape from the underground city in which they are slaves of the Evil Emperor. They go in search of the fabled Sky Kingdom and the great Prince Ariel. An epic journey follows their escape, fraught with dangers. In a dramatic roller coaster ride, from forest to plain, through chasms and canyons, their exciting journey unfolds and as it does - so do their characters.


First presented at WFAC 2003, The Legend of the Sky Kingdom finally screens at WFAC 2004. As attendees last year may remember, the visual impact is incredible: the film is made entirely in stop-motion animation, using reclaimed junk. A very African sense, from the first animated feature film from Africa.

The film benefits from the joie de vivre of its filmmakers, who struggled through the ill-executed land reforms by the Zimbabwean government. It's evident in the technical progression of the film: the filmmakers learned their craft on the job, and made do with homemade equipment, studios and any other resource they could lay their hands on. The results are astounding, and have earned the film awards and recognition around the world. We're pleased to finally bring the film to you.

Profile: Director Roger Hawkins

Roger Hawkins, 37, was born and brought up in Harare, Zimbabwe. After school he completed a B.Sc. (Agriculture) at the University of Natal in South Africa and then embarked on a colourful and checkered career which included stints as a school teacher, advertising copywriter, fumigator, soil surveyor, research assistant, lounge pianist, stage musical director and a landscape gardener!

Finally, in 1993, after helping a friend on a TV commercial, Hawkins decided to get involved in the TV industry. His big break came in 1995 when he was asked to produce a TV series aimed at educated youngsters about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This resulted in the series Adventure Unlimited (7x15mins) which was directed by Tim Dehn and produced by Roger Hawkins. This partnership continued with the production of a TV movie Choose Freedom (62mins), which Hawkins co-wrote and produced.

A year in the UK followed where Hawkins was able to study directing at the Raindance Film School and John Truby's Writers Studio in London. Returning to Harare, Hawkins met up with producer Phil Cunningham and began working on the screenplay adaptation of Cunningham's book The Legend of the Sky Kingdom. The film went into production in 1999 and three long years of painstaking animation resulted in Africa's first-ever full-length animated feature film, The Legend of the Sky Kingdom.

Festival participation

WFAC 2003, Waterloo, Canada - project presentation
Annecy Animation Festival, France, 2003
Montreal World Film Festival, Canada, 2003
London International Film Festival, U.K., 2003
Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, Korea, 2003
Durban Film Festival, South Africa, 2003
Zimbabwe International Film Festival, Zimbabwe, 2003
Cape Town World Cinema Festival, Cape Town, South Africa, 2003 - AMADE Jury Award
Goteborg Film Festival, Sweden, 2004

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