Argentina studio pacts with Mexico's Televisa
Consolidating its position as Latin America’s most prominent toon house, Argentina’s Illusion Studios has closed multi-faceted production deals with Mexico’s Televisa.Also a producer of live-action film, TV and legit, Illusion has struck further production pacts with Anima (Mexico), Toonz Ent. (India) and, on the TV front, Cookie Jar (Canada), Optix (Germany), Disney Latin America and Nickelodeon Latin America. Videocine, Televisa’s film production and distribution arm, is teaming with Illusion on “The Real Me,” a live-action-CGI feature about a lovelorn 20-year-old girl at a design company who creates a virtual world avatar. Pic is in pre-production, said Gaston Cami, Illusion VP international sales and co-productions. The “Me” deal has been supplemented by a three-year pact for Illusion and Televisa to co-produce each year at least one 52-seg, live-action kids’ series boasting f/x, Cami added. Deal was sealed with Fernando Perez Gavilan, VP of Televisa’s Intl. Area, who was unavailable for comment. Televisa, Disney Latin America and Illusion are also developing scripts for live-action TV series “Peter Punk,” about a boy from a dysfunctional family who desperately wants to grow up. Anima, one of Mexico’s top animation studios, has signed to co-produce three CGI animation movies with Illusion. Meanwhile, Toonz has taken co-production equity in Illusion’s already-in-production CGI feature “Gaturro,” about a cat TV star, which bows theatrically in Argentina and India in 2010. Illusion will join Canada’s Cookie Jar and Germany’s Optix to produce a 2-D toon series version of “Doodlebops Rocking Road Show.” And Nick and Illusion are partnering on “Suena conmigo.” Illusion is 80% owned by Argentina-based Exxel equity fund, which bought the company in 2006 and has spent millions of dollars updating facilities, increasing staff and providing cash flow. For Televisa, the Illusion deals add to co-production alliances with France’s JLA, Argentina’s Cris Morena Group and Spain’s Imagina as the Mexican TV giant seeks to cherry pick production talent, increase presence in local markets and bulk up its already muscular international distribution arm.