February 8, 2023


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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio boosted Mexican animation

5 min read

After winning multiple Oscars for “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro visited his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, where he discussed ways to support local art.

In addition to launching two programs for Mexican animation talent to attend the world-class Gobelins School in Paris through the Animexico Scholarship or any film school in the world through the Becca Jenkins-Del Toro Scholarship, he brings his collection of famous “Monsters” paintings. , his favorite city drawings, maquettes and works of art. Most importantly, he founded the animation studio Taller del Chucho with his alma mater, the University of Guadalajara, as the main investor.

He chose seven people with extensive experience in animation to help transform Taller del Chucho into a world-class studio — Rita Basulto, Sofia Carrillo, Carla Castaneda, René Castillo, Leon Fernández, Luis Tellez and Juan Medina. Talent and Development IP.

With this move, he came closer to realizing his goal of exposing Mexican talent to the world for realization at the new studio, arranging some sequences of its stop-motion animated competitor, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.” “I thought it was really important to see their artistry in a film of this caliber,” he said diversity At the film’s AFI Fest premiere in November.

“We have to share a division [in the film’s production] It was important to capture that so we did the Limbo Chamber and the Black Rabbit Funeral Procession [at the Taller]. They made the puppets, the sets, they did the art direction, they did the cinematography and I animated their puppet Pinocchio as well as Cricket in one of the longest animation sequences of the entire movie, if not the longest,” he said.

“Animation has been my first love since I was a teenager. I taught stop-motion animation to kids younger than me when I was in high school,” he added.

“When you do a live-action movie, the representation comes in the form of live flesh-and-blood actors but here the representation comes through animation. One of the things we’re doing that’s not common is we’re crediting the animators in the main credits, right next to the voice actors,” he noted.

Estrella Araiza, director of the Guadalajara Film Festival and Taller’s chair, also took on the unfamiliar role of production supervisor. “It was a steep learning curve for all of us,” he said of the 50-odd crew and three main puppeteers who worked on the sequence from late 2020 to part of 2022.

Taller del Chucho holds a variety of workshops and courses in 2022 with production design by Oscar-nominated Eugenio Caballero and audiovisual narration in animation by Carlos Carrera, director of the award-winning animated feature “Ana y Bruno.”

Although Mexico is teeming with animation talent, many of whom work on low-budget children’s series, films and commercials, the market has not been sustainable for large artistic projects, Araiza noted. Long Del Chucho hopes to change that.

According to Carrera, financing for “Ana y Bruno” fell apart twice before it arrived, with a combination of public and private funds coordinated by producer Monica Lozano of Alebridge Prods. and loco loco. Mexico’s Anima Studios, Itaca and Five 7 Media joined as co-producers.

“I’m making short films with my own money but I also have two feature films, ‘Los 8 y la Vaca’ which is storyboarded, and ‘Los Huesos de la Lagartiza’ which tells the story of a child’s triumph. perspective,” he says.

The financing process remains fraught. Government funding for animation exists but has been cut due to Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s austerity measures.

“Independent animation production suffers from a lack of funding but growth is accelerating, thanks to the support of streaming platforms, but not everyone can afford them,” says Lozano. Del Toro had been trying to get his vision of the classic Italian fairy tale Pinocchio for more than 14 years until he landed on Netflix.

Mexico’s most prominent animation company, Anima Studio, is now celebrating its 20th year, having released 22 animated features theatrically, but its 23rd, the sixth iteration of its “Las Leyendas” franchise — “Las Leyendas: El Origen” — exclusively on Televisa’, Vixani+- The subscription-based streaming platform debuted.

“The pandemic forced us to change our distribution strategy,” said Anima’s executive VP, José Carlos García de Letona.

The same can be said for the infamous “Huevocartoon” franchise founded in 2001 by the Riva Palacio family and Carlos Zepeda. After scoring big at the box office with the first four films, the fifth and final feature in the franchise, “Huevitos congelados,” streams exclusively on ViX+.

In June, HBO Max Latin America announced an exciting new take on its Batman franchise “Batman Azteca: Choque de Imperios” (“Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires”), Warner Bros. Animation, special crowd, with the opening collaboration with Anima Studios. and “Book of Life” producer Chatron.

The feature will be produced entirely in Mexico and will feature top local talent, including Omar Chaparro (“No Manches Frida”) as the Joker, Alvaro Morte (“Money Heist”) as Two-Face and Horacio Garcia Rojas (“Narcos: Mexico”). ) as the Dark Knight.

Anima Studio has produced two Spanish-language animation series for Netflix so far. With studios in Mexico City as well as Spain’s Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Madrid, where it uses generous incentives, the company is currently developing three features and two series, including the pre-school series “Brave Bunnies” in co-production with Ukraine’s Glowberry. As the marketplace becomes more consolidated and with fewer players to sell to, the key is to create more franchises and diversify, says García de Letona.

One of the reasons Pixelatl festival founder Jose Iñesta launched the annual event is to showcase Mexico’s animation, comic and videogame industries. A number of notable projects have arisen from Pixelatol, which provides training, recruitment and a marketplace where screenings and pitches are held, Yesta said.

“That’s why HBO Max, Discovery Kids, Netflix, Cartoon Network and others come in because they know they can find valuable, internationally appealing content for their audience,” he says.

The Ambridge brothers’ Cinema Fantasma has sold the stop-motion musical series “Frankelda’s Book of Spooks” to Pixelatle HBO Max Latin America and is now working on its first stop-motion animated feature, “Ballad of the Phoenix” directed by Gale Garcia Bernal. With his voice in both Spanish and English. Co-director Roy Ambridge and producer Marta Harnize were at the Annecy Animation Festival last year to present the project to find more partners. This year, Mexico will be the guest country in Annecy where about 50 Mexican animation professionals will participate,
Iñesta said.

While in Annecy, Ambridge del Toro had inspirational support and he mentored and co-financed their first medium-length stop-motion film, “Revoltoso” (Rebel).

“Animation is a very collaborative medium and it’s the community spirit that has driven its growth in Mexico,” Iniesta said.

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