The third edition of Sony Talent League has come to an end and the four creators from team “Djossi 225” impressed the judges with their exceptional creativity and innovative approach, combining a live-action documentary format with 2D and 3D animation. The team's project, titled "Djossi Heroes", brings light on the everyday heroes of Abidjan, on the Ivory Coast. They captivated everyone with its compelling story, transforming everyday struggles into superpowers, and their tenacity and perseverance throughout the development of the project is pure inspiration.
Here's what Nandy Diabate, Achille Djadja, Aristide Kouakou N’dri, and Moussa Bagnon had to say about this creative journey!
What made you decide to take the plunge and submit your idea to STL?
We had the chance to attend an information session on STL thanks to the AFROVFX team and they encouraged us not to be afraid of the English. The idea of meeting all these mentors was very motivating.
Why did you want to turn ordinary people into superheroes?
In life, society sees them as poor people, and we wanted to present them as having a lot of power. Their job is very difficult and it takes extraordinary courage to do it.
The stories behind the real inspiration of your characters are mostly unknown outside your country, why do you think it is important that they are recognized?
There are djossers* in every country in the world, especially in the South (Asia Africa and America). Their reality is therefore totally universal.
Their courage must be highlighted, because they are a source of inspiration for the youth of these countries (not only sportsmen and artists). Also, their story is important because it is often the starting point of the immigration stories that the whole world sees in the news.
Why did you feel the need to go beyond the documentary format and transform this medium?
To be honest, at first it was to meet the requirements of the competition. Then we realized that in order to live up to their courage and cancel the limitations that society puts on them (education, finance, prestige, etc.) we had to put them in a "parallel world" (2D). It was also necessary to transform their accessories (e.g. the water basin to carry the water bags) which are perceived as signs of poverty or suffering, into tools of great power, like those of superheroes. In the same way that Thor can "fight evil" with his hammer, Djossi Heroes fight to improve their living conditions and protect their families.
How did STL help you work on your idea?
STL pushed us to work at a very fast pace. The program pushed us to get organized and above all to go much further than we could have imagined.
Receiving the grant was a unique opportunity to work comfortably. Each of the mentors had a decisive role in our transformation.
Was it difficult to create your pitch with the tools you had available?
With access to the Orange Digital Center in Abidjan and the provision of software by AfroVFX, we had the means to implement our story.
How did your time with the mentors shape your project?
At the beginning we had a bit of pressure, but they knew how to give us confidence. What we take away: Having an idea is one thing and being able to live it is another. Kara, we didn't see much of her but she knew how to guide us on our planning from the beginning with Kévin Young who shared with us the methods used during the tests for the film ''HOUSE OF DRAGON''. Nana Ablah Pokou (Jinko) shared with us her experiences that we adapted to our own. The time with our mentors allowed us to get the best out of our original idea.
Where do you want this project to take you?
To infinity and beyond... We aim to tour the world of film festivals and bring the voice of Djossi Heroes before the authorities... Why not the president of the republic? ;)
If you would like to find out more about their project and the challenge, visit this page!