THE TALE OF HOW :: A Blackheart Gang short film


A giant octopus with a tree growing out of his head likes to devour the innocent dodos who live in the tree. But then the dodos unite, and with the help of a little white mouse, try to escape the clutches of the terrible tentacled tyrant...


Still one of the most outstanding animated short films from South Africa of all time; the intricate detail of their illustration is mesmerising.


Naomi van Niekerk is an artist filmmaker who enjoys combining her skills in puppetry, printmaking, animation and performance.

Legendary South African artist William Kentridge picked Naomi's sand animation, An Ordinary Blue Monday | 'n Gewone Blue Maandagoggend, as his favourite African animation for The short also won Best First Film at Annecy and was named a Vimeo Staff Pick.

Naomi's most recent film, My mamma is bossies (My mum is bonkers), was awarded the Creative Revelation award by the Korean Cultural Centre at the Anima Festival 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

She is a Digilab Africa winner (VR Category) with her 2018 VR project II Worlds that will be realised in Paris 2019 in collaboration with Arnaud van Vliet. She has been invited as an artist in residence at the Cinémathèque Quebeçois in Montréal from 28 October-5 December 2018 where she will develop her new film.


:: Special Distinction, Annecy, 2007
:: The Canal+ Award, Clermont-Ferrand, 2007
:: Grand Prix, Animanima, 2007
:: Artistic Perfection Prize, The International Festival of Animation, St. Petersburg, 2007
:: Best Short Film, South African Film & TV Awards, 2007
:: Best Independent Film Award, Bradford, 2007
:: Excellence Award (Silver), Expose 3, 2007
:: Grand Master Award (Gold), Expose 4, 2007
:: Best Video Creation, Curtocircuito International Short Film Festival, 2007
:: Third Prize, Backup Festival, 2007
:: Best Animation Short, Festival Internacional de Cortometrajes, 2007
:: Best Film, M-Net Edit, 2007
:: Vimeo Staff Pick
:: Short of the Week


:: Creators: The Blackheart Gang (Jannes Hendrikz, Markus Smit & Ree Treweek)