Toon pic set up at Colombia's Zio and Tuerto

SEVILLE, Spain — In a sign of Latin America’s building toon pic heft, Mexico’s Gyroscopik Studio has boarded “Ararauna,” a pioneering Colombian 3D animated feature.

Set up at Colombia’s Zio Studios and El Tuerto Prods., and co-produced by Gyroscopik, family-targeted “Ararauna” is written by Tuerto’s Vlamyr Vizcaya.

Vizcaya and Jairo Carrillo, whose “Pequenas voces” world preemed in Venice Days, are attached to direct.

The adventure movie turns on Mujuy, an Amazon rainforest native given three days to rescue his girlfriend. The victim of a shamanic ceremony, she has been transformed into Ararauna, a sacred blue macaw.

Colombian-Canadian actress Flora Martinez (“Rosario Tijeras”) will voice Ararauna, Mexico’s Alejandra Ambrosi (“Cefalopodo”) Boa and Peru’s Tatiana Astengo (“Undertow”) Harpy Eagle. Colombian actor-director Pepe Sanchez will voice the Shaman.

The animated pic is skedded to go into pre-production first half 2011. Budget is $5 million, Vizcaya said.

“‘Ararauna’ is high-concept drama, with Amazon species in danger of extinction aiding Mujuy to save the forest,” Vizcaya said at the Seville European Film Festival, where he presented “Ararauna.”

Also, “Ararauna” is a coming-of-age story, Vizcaya said: “Through Mujuy’s quest and the obstacles he confronts, young audiences learn how to overcome challenges.”

The Amazon’s beauty lends itself to vibrant 3D animation, Vizcaya added.

Formerly part of Zerofractal Studio, a Bogota-Miami-Toronto toon/VFX outfit, Zio is now established as an independent studio. “Ararauna” is one of its first productions.

Guadalajara-based, Gyroscopik can tap Mexican state Article 226 tax coin and backing from Jalisco regional authorities, which are attempting to convert the region into a high-tech center.

From Colombia, “Ararauna” is looking to funding from Colciencias, the country’s new-tech science institute, given the pic’s role in establishing work methods for stereoscopic 3D filmmaking in Colombia, Vizcaya said.

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