Studio aims to turn tiny Andorra into film hub

Spanish animator Jose Pozo (“El Cid: The Legend,” “Donkey Xote”) is attached to exec produce 3D toon pic “No Pets Allowed,” set up at Andorra’s Ordino Studios Media Group.

“Pets” is part of an ambitious plan by Ordino, Andorra’s flagship film-TV group, to turn the principality, nestling between France and Spain in the high Pyrenees, into a new Southern Europe talent hub offering film and TV product, services and finance.

Andorra’s low taxes and intellectual property stance makes the location attractive.

“Pets,” which will go into production next year, turns on a boy who must fend off wacky monsters in the London apartment building where his father is the janitor. “We want something that looks international with lots of humor,” said OSMG managing director Jordi Alba.

Adrian Garcia, Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres, who head animation company Headless, will direct “Pets.” They have completed a first-draft screenplay. Garcia and Maldonado directed the delicately drawn 2007 animated feature “Nocturna,” a Filmax production.

“Cid” and “Donkey,” both also produced by Filmax, were two of Spain’s highest-profile toon pics of the last decade. Pozo is Ordino’s creative director, Alba said.

This spring, Ordino also acquired Studio Nest, a 3D animation, character design and vfx company.

Studio Nest CG artists have worked on many recent high-profile animation and vfx-heavy films out of Barcelona, including Filmax’s “El Cid” and “Fragile” and Rodar y Rodar’s upcoming “XP 3D.”

Alba and Ordino Studios marketing head Laurie Severn are at AFM with “Pets,” for which Ordino will tap 25% of the budget out of Andorra. It is looking for completion finance through a mix of equity — from Europe or the U.S. — and gap financing.

The studio’s push into animation comes as Andorra diversifies from tourism by developing advanced service industries. Low social security payments keep labor costs competitive, key as Ordino sets out to provide services on third-party productions, Alba argued.

Closer to the U.S. or U.K. model, Andorra’s intellectual property laws also make it easier to acquire rights to properties, Severn said. Alba said Ordino aims to become “a kind of creative high-performance center.”

OSMG’s other companies include live-action producer Smoke Sellers, Ordino Music, Ordino Studios Services and AV Experience, whch organizes events, museums and interactive exhibit expos. Ordino will also manage a fund to invest in local pics.

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