Territory report: Spain

Spanish animators choose int'l prod'n and films over the small screen

MADRID — In 2000, Spanish broadcasters aired only 813 hours of local toons, comprising a mere 8% of their animation programming. Making the cartoon picture all the murkier, Spain offers no national coin to inspire local producers.

Specifically on the small-screen scene, the U.S.’ “The Simpsons,” and Japan’s “Pokemon” and “Dragon Ball Z” are the top animated programs.

“Surviving in such circumstances is a tall order,” says Sergi Reitg, managing director of top toon house Cromosoma.

Yet some companies, Cromosoma included, survive and prosper. In 2000, Spain produced more animation hours — 149 — than any other country in Europe, bar France (352).

In the ’90s, classic shingles BRB Internacional and D’Ocon Films Production have been joined by able new bodies such as Neptuno, Cromosoma and Anima2. Cribbed from local distrib outlets, toon houses have adopted two strategies: international productions and animated moviemaking.

The 3-D “The Living Forrest” grossed $1.42 million in 30 days in Spain during slow summer action. More features will follow, some probably from Screen 21, a new theatrical feature film production operation of BRB Internacional.

Tween and adult animation are also coming into their own, such as Cromosoma’s “South Park”-style “Motel Spaghetti.”

While 3-D animation is becoming increasingly common, as seen in series such as D’Ocon’s “Scruff”; Anima2’s “Defensor5”; and Disney’s first Spanish pickup, Cromosoma’s “Juanito Jones.”

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