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Latin American helmers explore toon world

Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival 2012

Among the films being presented as works in progress at Annecy is one by an unlikely director.

Juan Jose Campanella, who helmed Argentina’s Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes,” makes his toon debut with the 3D digital animated feature “Foosball.”

“In the time it’s taken me to make it, I could have made three, maybe even four live-action films,” says Campanella, whose directing credits include faster-paced U.S. TV shows such as “Law & Order” and “House.”

Inspired by Roberto Fontanarrossa’s soccer tale “Memories of a Right Winger,” the Argentine-Spanish co-production has been two years in the making and will take roughly another year to complete.

The production process in feature animation is the reverse of a live-action film, he says. “You start with the editing, based on a storyboard, and calculate the timing, camera angles and editing pattern. Then you record the voices and much, much later, animate the faces,” he says. “I’ve felt like Beethoven, who although deaf, composed by using his memory and intuition.”

Campanella used just two people for artwork: Mariano Epelbaum, who created all the characters, including minor ones, and Nelson Luty, who designed all the sets, props and backgrounds.

“This would normally involve dozens of people in a Hollywood feature, but not in our case,” he says of the production, 90% of which is being done in Argentina, while Spain-based Spa Studios works on some scenes. Color correction and sound mixing will be handled in Spain.

Campanella’s “Foosball” follows another toon by a Latino helmer, “Chico & Rita” by Spain’s Fernando Trueba. That film may have grossed just $1.2 million at the Spanish box office, but it earned the director an Oscar nom. Trueba is working on his second toon, provisionally titled “Tenorio.”

Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival 2012
Crossing over into toon town | Del Toro bullish on several projects
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