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Animation gets new focus at Ventana

Buenos Aires' Expotoons showcases growth industry

Buenos Aires’ Expotoons, Ventana Sur’s second sister event, rolls out its third edition this year, as Latin America’s animation industry grows.

“Ventana Sur has sparked enormous interest among Latin American countries, which see us as a window to the world of animation,” says Expotoons artistic director Maggie Stagnaro. The aim of the mart is to strengthen ties within the region “so we can develop and present Latin America as a block to the international market.”

The four-day event opens with adventure comedy “Planet 51.” A competition will showcase new works, and a market will provide opportunities for co-production, distribution and financing, as well as sales deals. Cartoon Connection, a European training program, will hold its first event at Expotoons.

Latin America is expanding with co-production and animation service deals. Argentina’s Illusion Studios, for example, is partnering with India’s Toonz Animation for “Gaturro,” a stereoscopic 3D animated feature about a cheeky cat. Another deal is with Canada’s Cookie Jar and Germany’s Optix for a toon-series version of “Doodlebops Rocking Road Show.”

“This will open doors to Asia,” says Gaston Cami, Illusion’s VP of international sales and co-productions. In Latin America, costs can be lower in dollar terms and many animators are skilled, such as in Argentina, where training is still old school with pencils; this provides a solid foundation that’s attractive to foreign producers, Cami says.

Latin American producers have to be aggressive. While in some developed markets animators can work on a per-project basis, in Argentina contracts are long term. “We have to find a constant flow of work” for a team of 110-115 animators, Cami says. And it is. So much that Illusion is planning night shifts to keep up with the workload.

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