Happy New Year to you all! 2019 was a big year for Sam and 2020 is shaping up to be even bigger – we have lots of exciting news to share…

The big news first!!

Firstly, we are proud to announce that we have secured another round of funding from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of R 150 000 to put towards making the film. This puts us several steps closer to financing and finishing the film. Big thanks to the NFVF!

NFVF grant

On the back of this, we are currently hitting the funding trail hard and hope to have the rest of the funding secured early this year. If any of you have a rich uncle under your mattress or can suggest someone who is interested in film, animation or autism, please let us know.

Progress in 2019

Then, we have made some exciting progress in the past year:

  1. Set Building we have been putting your crowd-funding contributions to good use and our set building is well underway. We are now past the halfway mark and will be ready to start shooting some of the background plates later this month. Watch out for a video displaying our handiwork soon!
    More Sculpting...

    More sculpting…this time at 1/25th scale instead of the usual 1/10th scale.

    Laser cutting

    More laser cutting, this time for our first exterior set.

    Office furniture

    Some office furniture starting to take shape.

  2. Donation Page – we now have an online donation mechanism on our site and we have had many people donate to the cause – thanks a heap!
  3. Online Store we launched an online store with a whole range of merchandise including T-shirts and some super cute weighted plush toys, which are aimed at sensory-sensitive kids. Our aim is to spread Sam’s message further and help raise a bit of extra cash for the film along the way.
  4. Markets! – we attended our first couple of markets this year and had great fun selling merch and telling more people about the project. What a privilege to introduce someone to Sam and see a simple T-shirt bring someone to tears. It has renewed our belief in the project and given us new incentive to finally bring this story to life.

    Linden Market

    Sam at the Linden market in Dec 2019.

  5. Animatic – we welcomed a new story-boarding talent onboard – thanks to Lesego Vorster (from Tshimologong in Braamfontein) for the amazing input so far. We look forward to putting your work into animation this year.
  6. Camera Rigs we have built a new set of motorised, stop-motion camera rigs that are ready and waiting to shoot the sets for Sam!

    Camera Rigs

    We have built custom motorised camera rigs for shooting the background plates for Sam.

As for the year ahead:

  1. We will have the set-building completed in the next two months! Thanks to all the interns who have given generously of their time to help with this (some of whom are still helping out).
  2. We will start shooting the background plates later this month in preparation for starting the character animation.
  3. We will complete the animatic in the coming weeks and start animating!
  4. OUR GOAL: we would love to take the film to Annecy (the largest animation festival and market in the world) in June! If we can raise the last of our funding in the next few weeks then this is achievable. Otherwise we will enter SAM as a work in progress, and look for more funding at the festival itself.

Speaking of which…


We are looking for senior 2D animators, based anywhere in the world, willing to donate their time to do rough animation for two shots each. 

We are also looking for junior 2D animators (Johannesburg-based) that we can hire to do the cleanup and colouring. 

Do contact us if you are interested in either gig!

Help support Sam’s project by donating!


Team Sam