Animating Kam Kam

The Journey of our 1st Independent Animated Short

Kenia Afreeka
Sep 13, 2018 · 4 min read
Kam Kam

In the middle of June I called a meeting with the team. I told them that since we’d just finished animating a few projects for the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, our next animated short would be our own. If I read the room right, the looks on their faces were ‘Oh zeen,’ ‘Challenge accepted,’ and ‘It’s about time!’

I think I know why.

We had been working on some pretty heavy and intense social themes that we’re passionate about, but needed a light-hearted, creative break. We could use it to experiment with new techniques, flex our animation muscles and refine our creative process. Even discover better ways for a growing team to bring a unified vision to life.

But it was also important to create something beautiful and meaningful. A story we could relate to, and our audience could take pride in. So as it turns out, there’s a series of short stories we’ve been meaning to tell. And when I asked the team about it, the choice was clear.

“Arite... So… we’re actually animating the ‘Adventures of Kam Kam.’”

Kam Kam gone a space.

This is a story of a little girl with big kinky puffs whose fantasy world reflects her limitless dreams. For her, every moment can be magical, and every answer begs a bigger question. But why do I need to take a bath? What’s beyond this world? When do we get to visit Grandma in heaven?

For her single mom, Kam Kam’s adventures are a well-needed mini escape from reality. But she must balance giving her child creative freedom with ensuring that she prepares her for real life. So she always tells her the truth and teaches her about self care and kindness to others.

Playing together is therapy and bonding for them both.

How it feels to be cradled in Mom’s arms

Why We’re Excited

I wish characters that looked like Kam Kam were around when I was a kid. Maybe I wouldn’t have chosen to straighten my hair when I was 9 years old.

That’s why every serving of ‘Kam Kam’ is heaped with tons of powerful and nutritious visual messages essential for afrocentric kids growing up confident they’re beautiful.

To be honest I’m also concerned about the values being promoted in cartoons today, in their heroic portrayal of spoilt, defiant and frankly, bratty kids. They make for fun stories but what about role models?

I wish characters that looked like Kam Kam were around when I was a kid.

With ‘Kam Kam’ we give a refreshingly positive take on the beauty of growing up Caribbean. She has nuff space for imagination and she learns about love through the powerful combo of structure and affection.

Djet is excited about the intergalactic landscape he gets to create and animate. As a man who studies the heavens, space is his playground. Jenille is excited about animating black girls doing amazing things. Our interns Jojo and Patrick are thrilled to be on their first team project with people they can learn from. As a dad, Leo sees much of Kam Kam in his own daughter. Gashwayne who 1st illustrated the project years ago, says this version ‘tun upper.’

Jojo, Jenille, Gash, Djet and Patrick working away on a rainy Monday

And Kamika Aziza, the writer, is excited because she’s been searching for content for her new baby boy featuring people of colour and a Caribbean flavour. She lives in the US, but she needs him to grow up with a Jamaican accent.

If we can give just one kid a Jamaican accent, we have done our job.

I’ll be creating a production diary for this project, and sharing our joyous experiences and intense labour pains along the journey from pre-production through post-production. If you think animations are exciting, you need to pree animating in Jamaica. Edge of your seat type stuff.

We’d love you to stick around and watch ‘Kam Kam’ grow. If you don’t mind getting an email maybe twice a month to let you know I’ve posted about our progress, then go ahead and mailer. It’s gonna be an amazingly honest ride.

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ListenMi Views

Thoughts on animation, culture-inspired storytelling, technology and social change from a Jamaican animation studio and design lab.

Kenia Afreeka

Written by

Immersive Storyteller for Social Change. CEO Startup Winner, GES 'Spark the Fire' Pitch Competition. @Jaftaonline PROPELLA! Exec member & past VP.

ListenMi Views

Thoughts on animation, culture-inspired storytelling, technology and social change from a Jamaican animation studio and design lab.

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