Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nicktoons Africa To Premiere 'Munki And Trunk' On Monday 2nd April 2018

Nicktoons Africa, Nickelodeon Africa's top-performing animation channel, will start to premiere and show Munki and Trunk, a brand-new dialogue-free South African CG-animated TV series from Cape Town based animation studio Sunrise Productions, weekdays at 17:15 CAT / 16:15 WAT / 18:15 EAT from Monday 2nd April 2018! The series follows best friends Munki, a bold, banana-juggling adventurer, and Trunk, a big-hearted and optimistic elephant. They do everything together - swinging, stomping and somersaulting as they explore their jungle world, hatching plans, solving problems, having fun and helping friends along the way.


Munki and Trunk (52 x 7’) is a tree-crashing, rock-smashing, water-splashing, fruit-mashing, knock-about comedy adventure for kids aged 4-7 years - and animals of all ages. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted but crafty elephant who loves to nurture and play. Throughout the series, these unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. No matter if they are facing rolling boulders, bouncing mushrooms or grumpy hedgehogs, they do it together giggling all the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle!

Speaking at the 2018 Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF), Tasania Parsadh, Nickelodeon Africa Channel Director and Sunrise Productions, said "We are so happy to bring Munki and Trunk to NickToons. We know our friends are going to love it!".

Update: Below is Nickelodeon Africa's official press release announcing the exciting news, via Screen Africa:

NickToons announces first local animated acquisition

NickToons (DStv channel 308) in association with local animation studio, Sunrise Productions is proud to announce its first South African animation acquisition for the channel. Munki and Trunk will be coming to SA screens from 2 April 2018 at 17h15 exclusively on NickToons.

Munki and Trunk is a dialogue-free 3D animated TV series for kids aged 4 to 7. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted elephant who loves to nurture and play. These unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle.

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The Nickelodeon channels have always been passionate about supporting local production for content and this animation development paves the way to showcase South African industry talent and storytelling. Munki and Trunk is great African storytelling with relatable characters featuring strong themes of friendship and edutainment in a wholesome child-friendly manner.

Tasania Parsadh, channel director for Nickelodeon, NickToons and Nick Jr in Africa says, “NickToons places a strong focus on educational and entertaining content with great stories and characters that empower kids to learn while they play. Munki and Trunk specifically brings in wholesome themes of friendship, laughter and humour, cultivating a love and awareness of nature and its environment together with problem-solving, which is very in line with our programming for the channel.”

Sunrise Productions is a local production company with a full-service animation studio based in Cape Town, South Africa. Launched in 1998, Sunrise made an impact on the world of media with the release of the first-ever feature-length stop-motion animation to come out of Africa. Munki and Trunk is written and directed by Sam Wilson, with Tim Keller as producer for Sunrise Productions.

“Munki and Trunk is a beautifully crafted CGI series, with wonderful character designs and brilliantly funny storylines. At Sunrise there’s an intense focus on quality, from the storytelling and the animation right down to the moss on the rocks in the background. We are delighted that the show will premiere on NickToons, it’s the perfect home for Munki and Trunk”, says series producer Tim Keller.

The Nickelodeon Channel Group consists of Nickelodeon, NickToons and Nick Jr. NickToons is broadcast on DStv Channel 308, Nick Jr on DStv Channel 307 and Nickelodeon on DStv Channel 305.

For more information on NickToons visit the Nickelodeon Africa website, also like Nickelodeon on Facebook or follow Nickelodeon on Twitter @NickAfrica using the hashtag #MunkiandTrunk.

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Meet the Characters:

- Munki is full of energy, bravado and big ideas. This monkey is impulsive, agile and crazy about his best friend Trunk.

- Trunk: Trunk is a determined, enthusiastic optimist. She always sees the best in everyone, and every situation... however dire. This elephant's greatest joy is in helping, supporting and playing with her jungle friends.

- Tallbert, a awkward oddball giraffe who is all heart and four left hooves. Tallbert’s always eager to be included in any game - being around others helps to soothe his general, all-consuming anxiety.

- Humph: Humph has prickles on the inside and the outside. He’s the cranky old curmudgeon hedgehog whose door kids dare each other to knock on, whose garden swallows up stray balls, whose pristine lawn is an obsessively guarded paradise.

- Rocky: Rocky may be a rhinoceros, but he's also the jungle’s two tonne puppy - a stick-chasing, tail-wagging tornado of enthusiasm.

- Buzby: In a hive of dutiful, identical drones, Buzby is the odd-bee-out – much to the despair of his rules and routine obsessed Sergeant Major.

- Ribbert: Why go off adventuring, when you can lay back on a lily-pad, letting life float by? Ribbert is a frog of leisure, a relaxed loner who likes the finer things.

- Baby: This adorable ball of anarchy doesn’t know the meaning of impossible. A fearless toddler who giggles in the face of danger, Baby Ostrich is all curiosity and fun. Nobody can put this baby in the corner!

- Mama: Mama knows best! The calm, caring ‘Kanga’ of the jungle, this matriarch is always there with a word of encouragement, or to take the jungle crew under her parental protective wing.

- Hue: The mysterious, silent watcher of the jungle. Hue is everywhere and nowhere, popping up in every episode, if only for a moment. This chameleon moves slowly, and is slow to anger.

- Ray: Ray is a sleepy little sweetheart, a six-year old firefly with a shiny disposition - that is, unless you wake him up from his nap!


Sunrise Productions is the 3D CG company behind the award-winning show Jungle Beat and it is also well-known for creating animated characters for prestigious sports brands such as the Welsh Rugby Union, England Rugby’s Football Union and Juventus Football Club.

Munki and Trunk is distributed worldwide by Aardman Rights, and has been licensed to 75 territories, with deals including Amazon India, moores in China, MBC3 across the Middle East, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland, NRK in Norway, ANTV in Indonesia, RSI in Switzerland and LTV in Latvia.

Alison Taylor, head of sales and acquisitions at Aardman, said: “We are delighted to have had such a positive response to Munki and Trunkin such a short time. It’s heart-warming to know that this charming series will be seen by such a wide audience, and we will look to finalise further licenses following a successful MIPCOM Junior, where potential partners will be able to view the show at the screenings.”

The series made its debut at MIP Junior 2016, and was recently showcased at


Munki and Trunk – Title [Theme] Song from Sunrise Productions on Vimeo.


Also, from The Star:

Munki and Trunk show debuts on TV

HOME-GROWN: NickToons is bringing the first South African animation show to the channel over Easter, with the first episode flighted on Monday.

WHAT does seven minutes of tree-grabbing, rock-smashing, water-splashing and fruit-mashing mean to you?

For Nickelodeon’s NickToons Channel, it means their first local animation acquisition. Munki and Trunk is an animated show that has been two years in the making.

It was brought to life by Sunrise Productions - the team behind the successful Jungle Beat series and Africa’s first feature-length animation, The Legend of the Sky Kingdom.

Based in Cape Town, the production house started out in 1998 in Zimbabwe, before moving to the Mother City in 2005.

“The next seven years we created 35 episodes of it. We meet people in Indonesia, Venezuela and Cambodia who grew up watching Jungle Beat, and it’s incredible to see the reach that a little five-minute non-dialogue show can have.

“And as we listened to their stories, we realised that there was something unique about Jungle Beat,” said producer Tim Keller.

“As South Africans, we had the privilege of growing up in the most beautiful place on Earth,” Keller added.

“We lived these outdoor expansive lives where we encountered exciting things, and I think some of those stories in Jungle Beat - kindness, heart, fun and adventure - are really captivating for an international audience.”

Munki and Trunk is written and directed by Sam Wilson, and the characters are all from Jungle Beat.

“The five-minute episodes are all about different animals in the wild doing something or having something weird happening to them. We had three seasons of it and it was deliberately limited,” Wilson said.

“For Munki and Trunk, we have these characters come together and their personalities come through. It has been a fun, exploratory process to discover who these ‘people’ are.”

It was important for them to add the humanness to the characters for the show to be a real animated series.

Speaking at the media launch yesterday, channel director Tasania Parsadh said the focus on educational and entertaining content was key to choosing the right kind of shows for their young audience.

“Nicktoons places a strong focus on content, with great stories and characters that empower kids to learn while they play. Munki and Trunk brings in themes of friendship, laughter and humour, cultivating love and awareness of nature and its environment, as well as problem-solving.”

The dialogue-free 3D series is for children aged between four and seven.

“We have soft-launched it in places around the world over the past five months, but for us it’s amazing to be able to launch it on our own TVs and shores,” said Keller.

Sunrise is the biggest animation studio in Africa, but many people probably hadn’t heard about it because they had kept their heads down to work.

“We wanted to take the next step with this brand and we needed to do things like get the show scheduled, and not as just a filler between programmes.”

Keller said the key point for them was to bring something unique, and the kindness theme was a refreshing message to have. The seven-minute series took months to plan. One episode can take as long as 11 months to create.

“With animation production of this scale, it can take about a year to make a seven-minute episode,” Keller explained.

“An episode starts on Sam’s desk when it is being written and moves to storyboarding frames of animation on pencil and paper for another three weeks, before going through the pipelines of production. It can take long before we see the final rendered episode.”

He said it was an interesting challenge to keep the continuity and integrity of the story clear all the way through.

The team have already launched a YouTube channel that has just hit 100000 subscribers, with 7 million views a month.

Munki and Trunk will be flighted on Monday on NickToons DStv channel 308 at 5.15pm.

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Also, from TIMESLIVE:

SA animation series set for international release

Mzansi’s Munki and Trunk are going global. The local 3D animation series which will premiere on Nickelodeon next month has secured an international distribution deal.

The non-dialogue pre-school series‚ aimed at kids 4 to 7 years old is a comedy adventure set in the jungle. The show follows the shenanigans of Munki‚ a banana-loving monkey and his best friend‚ Trunk‚ a big-hearted elephant.

Together with their feline friends‚ the duo explore their jungle world‚ facing their fears and helping their friends along the way.

Munki and Trunk was created by Cape Town-based company Sunrise Productions and will be distributed in 75 territories worldwide by Aardman Animations.

Nickelodeon channel director Tasania Parsadh hailed this as the channel’s first locally-produced animation show‚ adding that the dialogue-free approach made it more accessible as there were no language barriers.

“This is African story-telling where the characters are relatable‚ there is a strong friendship theme and the storylines are really fun and humorous in a wonderful wholesome kid-friendly manner‚” Parsadh said.

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Munki and Trunk feature strong themes of friendship‚ problem-solving through humour and fun while cultivating a love and awareness of nature.

Sunrise Productions first made history in 2003 with the release of the first feature-length animation to come out of Africa‚ The Legend of the Sky Kingdom. This was followed by the multi-award-winning short animation children’s series‚ Jungle Beat‚ which aired on SABC and is available on ShowMax. They then produced Once Upon a Stable‚ an award-winning animated TV special.

Phil Cunningham‚ founder of Sunrise Productions‚ said their passion was telling stories that had the power to impact on communities and inspire individuals to do great things.

“It’s exciting for us and the local industry to see home-grown stories on amazing platforms like Nickelodeon and reaching so many countries. Obviously getting such great reach is wonderful for our local industry from a business point of view‚ but great businesses and industries grow from great values and genuine passion‚ so mostly we are delighted to see the greater goal of positive stories reaching so many people‚” Cunningham said. Cunningham added that the local animation industry was in a “vibrant wonderful” place and was growing.

“There is fantastic growth and energy and whilst there is still a long way to go in terms of maturing into a credible world leader‚ the platform has been laid by many brave visionaries‚” Cunningham said.

There are no humans in Munki and Trunk’s world. Their other friends include their grumpy neighbour‚ Humph the hedgehog who’s prickly on the outside‚ but shows a soft side sometimes. There’s their awkward friend Tallbert the giraffe and Rocky the rhino‚ who’s more dog than rhino‚ and Mama ostrich‚ who has her hands full with her baby and troublesome unhatched twosome.

There’s also Ribbert the frog‚ who minds his own business‚ and Hue the chameleon. Others in the jungle are Buzby‚ the friendly worker bee and his not-so-friendly leader and swarm‚ and little Ray the firefly who you may see come out at night.

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More Nick: March 2018 on Nicktoons Africa!

Originally published: Sunday, March 04, 2018.

Sources: Facebook /@NickelodeonAfrica, munkiandtrunk.com, aardman.com; Additional sources: YouTube /@CultureClubVEVO, IMDb, ToonBarn, Licensing.biz.
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