Writer Khadi Diouf Expresses the Sum of her Life Experiences in Creating Worldly Animation Tales

Jesus Figueroa
(Info from press release)

Back in 2019, Senegalese writer Khadidiatou (“Khadi”) Diouf participated in a call for female writers to work on Triggerfish Animation Studio’s Mama K’s Team 4 (now Supa Team 4 airing on Netflix). After sending in her resume and writing samples, she was one of 12 women chosen for the preselection of over 700 candidates. After a trip to Zambia to immerse herself in the tone and world of the show, she ended up in final writing room then went on to become one of the developers for 1st Totem Problems - one of the shorts in Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire. At the same time, Triggerfish approached her to write for their preschool shows currently streaming on Disney+ Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes. The common thread between these projects is the studio but, more importantly, the producers and writers she was able to connect with and show her talent.
Writing was not exactly in the cards for Diouf.  The daughter of a diplomat, she grew up in Dakar, Washington, DC and Ottawa.  Though destined to follow in the family business of politics, she still had an unfulfilled penchant for animation and anime and loved writing. After seeing an ad for the Vancouver film school, her heart finally won over her head, and she enrolled, studying design, visual arts and writing for film, television and games.  On the way, she secured representation in Los Angeles, thus making her a force to be reckoned with, as well as writing for shows on the two biggest streamers.
Triggerfish Animation Studio is the number one animation studio in Africa. After 26 years, Triggerfish continues to celebrate distinct and original creative voices in animated features and television. Their current productions include: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix , Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes for Hasbro/eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+  and an anthology of short films, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, for Disney+.  Previously, Triggerfish provided animation services on the Academy Award®-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations (such as the 2021 Annie Award winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy-winning Zog, the BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man, and the Rose d’Or-winning The Highway Rat). 
Diouf uses her life experiences to depict the characters on her animation shows who remind her of the girls she was friends with back in school. The characters have an understanding of the world that's uniquely theirs and are odes to African girls who shine so bright but are missing and never mentioned on the global stage.  Though the shows she writes for are for children, Diouf enjoys incorporating some complexity into her characters, putting some spice into a show. To her, it’s unrealistic that people are perfect and always happy, and instead chooses to showcase the imperfections in characters so that their efforts to improve stand out. Her goal is to convey to her young viewers that it is okay to experience negative emotions, such as anger, and that being nice all the time is not necessary to be a good person.
For Diouf, the sky's the limit!  She wants to show the fantasy that exists on the continent. Perhaps robots try to take over Dakar, elves (or more like, our versions of these fantastical creatures) to roam our neighborhoods and civilizations of the past to try to take over African cities. And not just Africa – but an international palate of stories, much like her upbringing, Action scenes that make your heart beat out of your chest and world building scenes that leave you in awe are some of things that she excels in, as well as taking you on an emotional journey.
According to Diouf, “I’m ready to show the world what they’ve been missing out on.”

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