Argentinean animation unit expands reach

Rolling off its purchase by the Exxel Group private equity fund, Argentinean animation house Illusion Studios — the renamed Indiecito Studios — will establish a Mexican toon house, Illusion Studios Mexico.

The expansion comes as Spain’s Perro Verde, one of the country’s hippest toonpic producers, has boarded Illusion’s hard-boiled hoodlum satire, “Boogie, the Aceitoso,” taking a minority co-production stake in the toon pic.

The Madrid-based sales consortium 6 Sales, which has Perro Verde as a partner, has also picked up international rights to another Illusion pic, “Isidoro,” about a playboy-turned-spy.

Illusion has also put two new projects into pre-production: “Gaturro,” turning on a cheeky male-kitten and the girl-puppy love themed “Valentina es como vos,” aimed at teen-to-tweens.

Exxel, a Buenos Aires-based investment fund tapping U.S. coin, took a 70% stake in Illusion in January.

Playing off its new financial muscle, Illusion has upgraded from pencil animation investing in 2-D Toon Boom and Maya 8.5 3-D software licenses and inked with Mexico’s Eunoia to jointly create an animation training center in Mexico. The center will train animators for Illusion Studios Mexico.

According to Gaston Cami, Illusion international relation manager, the Mexican office could be up-and-running in the next few months. It will employ 25 largely Mexican animation artists.

“The aim, beginning with ‘Gaturro,’ is to create animation which has a distinctive Latin touch, but will be up to U.S. market standards, and become the first Latin American company to import animation into the U.S.,” Cami said at the American Film Market.

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