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Argentine helmer toons up feature

'Secret in Their Eyes' director kicks off animated soccer pic

Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella, whose “The Secret in Their Eyes” won the 2009 foreign-language Oscar, is now betting on Argentine and Spanish talent to help his first animated film stand out from Hollywood.

“Metegol” (Foosball) follows an underdog who, with the help of foosball figures that come to life, must take on a star soccer pro to save their village.

Campanella is producing under his 100 Bares banner with Catmandu, also of Buenos Aires, and Spain’s Plural-Jempsa, targeting a 2012 release.

Despite the low budget — $9.75 million, a fraction of what is normally spent on animated features — Campanella hopes the artists’ talent and a story based on the hugely popular sport of soccer will give the film an edge.

“We are finding a visual style that we haven’t seen before in an animated movie. We are putting a lot of effort in that,” Campanella says.

“We are used to traveling without highways, of creating our own paths as we drive forward,” says Gaston Gorali, creative director general of Catmandu, which made the popular animated TV series “City Hunters” for Fox Latin American Channels. “In work this translates into finding creative solutions with every challenge.”

Campanella brought in top local talent for voiceovers, including Pablo Rago (“Secret”), Fabian Gianola (“The Super Agents: New Generation”), Miguel Angel Rodriguez (“Dad for a Day”), Horacio Fontova (“Goodbye, Dear Moon”) and David Masajnik (“Son of the Bride”).

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