Magic Cellar, the first animated series to be based on African culture, has been awarded a Chris Statuette at the Fifty-Fourth Annual Columbus International Film and Video Festival, known as The Chris Awards.

The Chris Statuettes and Bronze Plaque awards will be presented at the 54th Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 11, 2006 at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Film screenings for the festival will be held November 7-12, 2006.

“The Chris Statuette” is the highest award given to film or video productions. Entries are judged on a seven point rating system. A superior rating of seven is required for winning the Chris.

Productions are competitively evaluated against other productions in their division and category as well as on their merits. Chris winners are widely recognized as receiving the hallmark of superior quality.

The Columbus Film Council was founded in 1950, by the late Dr. Edgar Dale, Professor Emeritus of The Ohio State University and other professionals interested in promoting the use of 16mm motion pictures. Two years later, the Columbus Film Festival was born. Since its inception, the object of the Film Council has been to encourage and promote the use of 16mm motion pictures and, subsequently, video tape in all forms of education and communication, not only in the local community but throughout the world. During these many years of continuous operation, the Festival has honored thousands of film and video producers.   The Festival has grown in scope, becoming international in 1972, in the late 1980’s adding video, and in 1997 adding the CD ROM format. In 2004 the Festival added DVDs to its list of accepted formats.

Three episodes of Magic Cellar were entered.  Episode 3, entitled Shakutara, received the Chris.  Episode 1, Where Stories Come From, was awarded a Bronze Plaque and Episode 2, The Tortoise and the Elephant, received an Honorable Mention.

Magic Cellar is the first 3D animated series based on African culture.  Beautifully produced entirely in Maya software, the series marks the first time Africa’s children see themselves reflected in an animated series.

The series celebrates Africa’s culture and traditions while promoting reading as exciting and adventurous.  The series is based on African folktales, partially collected from interviews conducted with elders in villages across South Africa.  Each episode is broken up into three sections: a brief introduction and set-up; the African story; and a wrap-up with the lessens learnt.  Each episode is a self-contained, animated short.

Magic Cellar was commissioned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and is a production of Chocolate Moose Media Inc. of Ottawa, Canada and Morula Pictures of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Magic Cellar is directed by multi-award winning Canadian producer and director Firdaus Kharas.

Magic Cellar has won 18 international recognitions recently, including 14 international awards.  These include the Platinum REMI Award, 2 Telly Awards, 2 Aegis Awards, 2 Aurora Awards, the US International’s Silver Screen and 2 Certificates of Excellence.  Magic Cellar has been selected by the prestigious Hiroshima Animation Festival, the Los Angeles Children’s Festival, and for an upcoming gala screening by the One World Festival in Ottawa, Canada.  Magic Cellar has received an “ALL STAR” endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media and has been selected for KIDS FIRST!, the world’s largest children’s festival.

Further information on Magic Cellar may be obtained from the comprehensive web-site,  Further information on The Chris Awards may be obtained from

For additional information and interviews please contact:

In Canada:  Firdaus J. Kharas. Director and Executive Producer. Tel: (1)(613) 820-6121 Fax: (1)(613) 820-4679 web-site: e-mail:

In South Africa:  Elanie Janse van Rensburg, Production Co-ordinator, Cell: (27) (0) 825615192 Tel: (27) (0) 11 482 1152 e-mail: