Abyss South Africa’s Award Winning Animation

Two SALE toys, cruelly rejected by the buying public because they are different… plan a daring escape and end up somewhere unexpected… and quite wonderful.



Duration: 8:48 min 

Target audience: Pre-school 

Year completed: February 2020 


In an airport, where a flood of anonymous faces hurry by, and airport stores’ shelves are stacked with dozens of identical products – coveted for no reason at all – lives Ruby and Roach, two SALE toys. 

Discarded to the top shelf, and kept out of sight because they are different, they seem fated to stay behind as all the other toys find their forever homes. 

Each day they groom themselves. Ruby fluffing her grey fringe extra buffy to hide the stain, and Roach combing his creepy feelers into something resembling a fringe and tucking them in behind a leg. 

Sometimes they get lucky and someone takes them off the shelf for closer inspection. But they’re soon put back. Ruby because of her stained ear and Roach… well… When he gets over excited or tense, his legs start shivering and bam! His feelers jump out, scaring people off. 

One day, someone’s trolley, loaded with suitcases, bumps into the shelves. Ruby, tired of her dreary life, decides to take action and jumps into an open bag onto the trolley. 

Roach, in a moment of sheer panic, closes his eyes with his feelers and jumps after her. But before the duo can climb out of the bag, someone shoves a jacket over them and zips the bag closed, trapping them. 

After a short trip in complete darkness, the bag goes through airport security scanner. On screen Roach’s feelers resemble wires of a bomb and… bam! They trigger a bomb scare. 

The bomb squad arrives. After closer inspection they decide Ruby and Roach are harmless and toss the seemingly worthless toys into a dustbin. Freedom at last! Until a dark shadow is cast over the bin… 

Soon Ruby & Roach find themselves on a rubbish dump with many other items discarded by society. All seems lost till a little girl who lives on the dump, discovers them… 

It’s a story laden with metaphor about prejudice in society, as well as the generic, mass manufactured nature of the things.




Director and Animator of RUBY AND ROACH is Erentia Bedeker

Erentia Bedeker, writer, animator and artist born and bred in Damaraland, Namibia. 

Bedeker studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she received a bachelor’s degree in Acting and an honour’s degree in Afrikaans and Dutch. She is also a published poet, freelance puppeteer, and performer with a post-grad in education. 

She is one of the directors of Wreckless Creative, a two-man graphic design and animation studio. Most of her work is done as independent animator. Bedeker prefers working with stop motion animation. Although it is more time consuming and labour intensive, she enjoys crafting the characters and story worlds and allowing them to take on a life of their own. In stop motion the medium you work with dictates what you can and cannot do. These restrictions force the animator to think out of the box and often lead to fascinating and unique results. 

Her first stop-motion short film “Die Berggans het ’n Veer Laat Val” / “The Wild Goose Let a Feather Fall” was semi-finalist for ANNY: Animation Nights New York (2018); won Best Original Soundtrack at African Smartphone Int Film Festival (2018) and screened at various international film festivals including Palm Springs Int Animation Festival; Cortoons Festival (Gandia); CutOut fest 2017 Queretaro (Mexico) and the 2nd Chaniartoon 2018 International Comic & Animation Festival (Greece). 

She worked behind the scenes in 2019 on “Takalani Sesame” as PUPPET WRANGLER and is currently working on her fourth animated short film. 



Dorette Nel 

RUBY AND ROACH Creator, Writer and Producer Dorette Nel

As an experienced story & script editor & writer Nel does more than wrestle words. She was selling tickets to her self-conceptualized back-yard concerts long before she hit the school benches. Her passion for entertaining people, lead her to content development and script writing. 

She has worked in various genres of live action television and has been a crucial member of the writing team of Africa’s longest running, most popular daily, “Generations, The Legacy” for five seasons; as well as its predecessor “Generations”. 

She recently completed a sitcom series “Umuzi Wabadala” and 13-part drama for DSTV channel 157, Moja Love; produced a short, animated film aimed at the art circuit, “Ruby & Roach”, and is developing an animated series for tweens with the support of the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa, “Spling-Go & Friends”. 

She currently serves as script editor for an animated series from the camp of Fopspeen Moving Pictures, “A Little Bird Told me”. 

And is story-slash-script editing Emma Lungiswa De Wet’s new animated series in development with the support of the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa. 

Nel’s first venture into animation as writer-producer led to the short film “Ruby & Roach”. This film won Best South African Short Film and Best African Short Film at the Durban International Film Festival 2020 and has been travelling the globe, being screened at various festivals. 

The script also received the 2019 Writer’s Guild of South Africa MUSE AWARD for Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting: Animation for “Ruby & Roach”. 



Mart-Marie Snyman & Siobhan Lloyd-Jones 

Mart-Marie Snyman

Mart-Marie Snyman is a full time performer, arranger, musical director, recording artist, composer, and piano teacher based in Pretoria, South Africa. She obtained a BMus in Performing Arts from the University of Pretoria with distinction, being one of a few pianists in the country specialising in classical, jazz, and contemporary piano. She was the runner-up in the Lionel Bowman Beethoven Piano Competition and received various bursaries from the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), including the prize for the best performance of a South African composition at the UNISA South African Scholarship Competition in 2009. 

She performed all over South-Africa, with the electronic fusion group FOXTROT, well-known singer-songwriter Anna Davel, and in various jazz and classical productions. Her new project, the Mart-Marie Snyman Ensemble, is due to launch in September 2020. She made her international debut in 2016, accompanying famous South African singer Karin Hougaard throughout Europe during the festival Fees van die Afrikaanse. 

Mart-Marie works closely with visual artist Diek Grobler and has written music for several animations, including works for ATKV Film Verse 2 which premiered at various national and international festivals. Mart-Marie is endorsed by Werner Stolze Pianos. 

Siobhan Lloyd-Jones

Siobhan Lloyd-Jones is a versatile violinist. She plays a wide variety of styles including folk, jazz and classical music. She has her diploma in classical violin performance as well as a Btech degree in jazz training. Siobhan has attended jazz workshops and recieved master classes from world renowned jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis. She has also played with numerous orchestras and travelled with the MIAGI youth orchestra to Europe a couple of times. She is currently a member of the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra and performs in a string quartet called AVO. Siobhan is a jazz lecturer at TUT and is involved in ensemble instruction and individual jazz lessons. Siobhan also sings and writes songs in her spare time for a band called FOXTROT. 


Sechaba Morejele

Sechaba Morejele is an actor, director, scriptwriter, producer. Proud to be his own boss, he has a strong track record, having worked in the TV and Film industry for over fifteen years. He got his BSc. Degree in Statistics at the University of Manchester in 1984 and worked for four years as a Statistician in England and then at Eskom in South Africa before giving it all up to pursue a career in the film industry. 

In 1999 Sechaba enrolled at the American Film Institute (AFI), in Los Angeles to do an MFA in Film Directing where his thesis film, Ubuntu’s Wounds,that he wrote and directed, won numerous awards, including the prestigious Franklin J. Schaffner award for directing the best thesis film from his year; Best Short Film at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Student Award for outstanding achievement in Directing. 

As a writer Sechaba has written extensively, writing dramas, documentaries, educational shows, sitcoms, and one feature film (Tasha – A film based in Lesotho). Such writing projects include Ubuntu’s Wounds, Hola Mpinji, Generations, Isidingo, 99 Plein Street, Soul City TV & Radio, Kelebone, Choice, Switch onto Science, An IEC radio drama, and he was Head Writer on Mponeng, to mention a few. 



(Diek Grobler & Charles Badenhorst) 

Diek Grobler

Fopspeen Moving Pictures is an “eccentric animation production house…(with an)… eclectic portfolio of mostly model animation”. Bendazzi, 2016. Animation: A World History, vol 3 p 309. 

Established in 2004, Fopspeen Moving Pictures has made, amongst many other things, four animated short films, which have travelled the international festival circuit extensively, winning four international prizes, a SAFTA award and nomination. 

We do all kinds of traditional animation and excel at creating original content. We conceptualise, write, design, direct, animate, edit, compose music, record sound, design sound. Fopspeen Moving Pictures is a one-stop animation workshop. 

Fopspeen is an Afrikaans word for a baby’s dummy, or pacifier. A baby sucks on it to calm down, or as a substitute for the real thing. Art is a dummy or pacifier for life. 

Charles Badenhorst

Ruby & Roach festival selection & award list

International Festival Official Selection

  1. 10th Supertoon International Animation Festival, Šibenik, Croatia [July 20th – July 24th], Category: Planktoon official competition – short, animated films for children
  2. World Festival of Animated Film Varna, Bulgaria [9 September 2020]
  3. Accra Animation Film Festival, Greater Accra, Ghana [31 July 2020]
  4. 6th Herat International Women’s Film Festival 2020, Herat, Afghanistan
  5. 41st Durban International Film Festival, Durban, SA [16-26 July 2020]
  6. International 2 Sides Short Film Festival 2020, Izmir, Turkey [9 – 17 October 2020]
  7. Here Kyiv Short Fest (HKSF) 2020 (Honourable Mention Category), Kyiv, Ukraine [29 – 31 August]
  8. Capri Movie International Film Festival, Capri, Italy [16-19 September 2020]
  9. Africa In Motion (AfriKids programme), Scotland [30 Oct. – 29 Nov. 2020]
  10. Out of Africa International Film Festival, 6th edition 2020, Nairobi, Kenya [24 – 26 November 2020]
  11. Festival de Cinema de Alter do Chão, Alter do Chão, Brazil [9 – 13 December 2020]
  12. MANIPULATE Festival Digital Festival 2021 (Animated Womxn programme), Scotland [27 Jan. – 7 Feb. 2021]
  13. FilmJam, Kherson, Ukraine [4 Nov. 2020]
  14. Festival Internacional De Cortometrajes Cine Mundo Online (Cine Mundo 2020 Online), Gral. Fernández Oro, Río Negro, Argentina [20 – 22 Nov. 2020]
  15. FIC AUTOR (Author’s International Film Festival) (Nominee), Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and Tequila Jalisco. [November 13 to 15, 2020]
  16. Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF), Online festival [November 27 & 29]
  17. Ionian Contemporary Animation Festival ICONA 2020 (Department of Audio and Visual Arts – Ionian University, Greece) (Online Event) [December 4, 2020]
  18. Near Nazareth Festival (NNF), Afula Israel [4 – 7 December 2020]
  19. Short Film Factory, Bucharest, Romania (31 January 2021)
  20. International Children’s Film Competition at 4th Filmfest Sundsvall, Sweden (Sept. 29 – Oct 3, 2021)
  21. PLAY Festival – Lisbon’s International Kids Film Festival (8th edition), Lisbon, Portugal [June 28 – July 18, 2021]
  22. Tbilisi International Animation Festival (TIAF) 2020, Tbilisi, Georgia, EU [26 December 2020]
  23. Hollywood Art and Movie Awards, Los Angeles, USA [21-23 January 2021]
  24. Blu-Hill Film Festival Season 3(Online) [21 January 2021]
  25. LTUE Film Festival 2021, Provo, UT United States
  26. Kwetu International Animation Film Festival (KIAFF) 2021, 1st Edition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania [2-3 April 2021]
  27. The Cardiff Animation Festival and Cape Town International Animation Festival collaboration, (Online) [12th – 18th April 2021]
  28. Lime Light Film Contest, Online [19 March 2021]
  29. The Film Contest, Online [27 March 2021]
  30. Paris Film Festival (monthly film festival), Paris [31 March 2021]
  31. 1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021, Greece [28 May – 10 June 2021]
  32. Venezia Shorts, Italy (2nd quarter 2021 official selection) [11 November 2021]
  33. Onyko Films Awards, Tallinn, Estonia (May 2021 selection, award winner) [20 December 2021]
  34. Florida Shorts (Summer 2021, nominee) [seasonal festival, 30 June 2021]
  35. Niagara Falls International Short Festival (Summer 2021, semi-finalist) [seasonal festival, 10 July 2021]
  36. Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift (June 2021 selection, finalist) [11 June 2021]
  37.  Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift (August 2021 selection, finalist) [14 August 2021]
  38. San Francisco Indie Short Festival (June 2021 Nominee Best Animation Short) (monthly award festival)
  39. Phoenix Shorts (monthly and yearly online festival) Ottawa, Ontario Canada (August 2021, Nominee Best Animated Short)
  40. New York Indie Shorts Awards, April – August 2021 season (International independent short film competition), New York, USA (September 1-5, 2021)
  41. International Moving Film Festival, ABADAN&KHORAMSHAHR (ARVAND FREE ZONE), KHOUZESTAN, Iran (Semi-finalist) [December 27, 2021]
  42. Paris Lift-Off Film Festival 2021, Paris, France (24 October 2021; Online 11 October – 8 November 2021).
  43. Cannes Indie Cinema Awards 4th Edition (International Online festival/awards event) [October 8, 2021]
  44. 19th International Short Film Festival – Film Front, Novi Sad, Serbia [October 28, 2021]
  45. MGA – Moscow Gold Awards, Moscow [October 22, 2021]
  46. Vienna International Film Awards, Vienna
    Austria (Best Animated category) [December 12, 2021]
  47. 6th ANIMATION MARATHON, Online festival, Greece [November 24 – 26, 2021]
  48. Anarchy Film Festival, Manchester, UK [October 25, 2021]

National Festival Screenings

  1. The Jozi Film Festival, Johannesburg, South Africa [17 September 2020]
  2. uMgungundlovu Film Festival, Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu – Natal [28 Nov.- 1 Dec. 2020]

Awards & Nominations

  • WINNER Best South African Short Film 2020 (Durban International Film Festival)
  • WINNER Best African Short Film 2020 (Durban International Film Festival)
  • WINNER Best Children Film (Tbilisi International Animation Festival (TIAF) 2020)
  • WINNER Best Music Video/Music Films award (Blu-Hill Film Festival Season 3, 2021)
  • WINNER Best Animation Short Film (Onyko Films Awards – May 2021 selection)
  • WINNER (Gold medallist) Best Sound Design Category (1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021)
  • WINNER (Bronze medallist) Best Animation Category (1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021)
  • WINNER Best Original Score (New York Indie Shorts Awards, April – August 2021 season)
  • WINNER Best Animation (Cannes Indie Cinema Awards 4th Edition, 2021)
  • HONOURABLE MENTION short film category (Jozi Film Festival 2020)
  • FINALIST in Best Animated Short Category (Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift – August 2021 selection)
  • FINALIST in Best Animated Short Category (Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift – June 2021 selection)
  • FINALIST in Best Animated Short Film Category (Hollywood Art and Movie Awards 2021)
  • SEMI-FINALIST in Short Films Animation & Best music composer short film categories (International Moving Film Festival)
  • SEMI-FINALIST in Best Music in Short Category (Niagara Falls International Short Festival)
  • SEMI-FINALIST Short Animation (Florida Shorts Summer 2021)
  • SEMI-FINALIST Fantasy Category (LTUE Film Festival 2021)
  • SEMI-FINALIST Children and Family Category (Near Nazareth Festival 2020)
  • NOMINEE in Best Animated Short Category (Phoenix Shorts, August 2021)
  • NOMINEE in Best Animation Short category (San Francisco Indie Short Festival, June 2021 edition)
  • NOMINEE in Best Sound Design Category (1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021)
  • NOMINEE in Best Message Category (1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021)
  • NOMINEE in Best Animation Category (1st Film Olympiad Grand Prix 2021)
  • NOMINEE in Best Animated Short Film Category (Paris Film Festival, March 2021)
  • NOMINEE in Best Animated Short Film Category (Hollywood Art and Movie Awards 2021)
  • NOMINEE for Short Film – ART/Experiment award (Blu-Hill Film Festival Season 3, 2021)
  • NOMINEE Animated Short Films category (Author’s International Film Festival/FIC Autor)
  • Selected as part of the Best of CTIAF 2021 Collection (Cape Town International Animation Festival collection of animated films from Africa which will be used to raise the profile of animation in Africa)

RUBY AND ROACH has been winning awards all over the world.