Animation helmer lines up first TV series

ANNECY — Argentina’s Juan Pablo Zaramella (“Viaje a marte), one of the leading lights of Latin American animation, is directing his first TV series, “El hombre mas chiquito del mundo” (The Tiniest Man in the World).

The toon skein, made with Zaramella’s hallmark claymation and stop-motion technique, is produced by London’s Pinball, Buenos Aires’ Can Can Club and JPZtudio, Zaramella’s label.

Pinball’s Paola Vaccaro produces; Can Can’s Anuk Torre Obeid exec produces. The partners are in talks with further international co-producers, Obeid said.

Written by Zaramella, and laced with his signature naif humor, the big city-set “Tiniest Man” turns on a bow-tied, bowler-hatted man who’s the height of a shoe but tries to get by as if he were normal height.

That ambition lays him open to daily humiliation, as he attempts to do everyday things like have a coffee, use a cellphone and go courting.

Dialogue-less series is shot in incongruously real settings. Incorporating live action, extras are human beings, although only parts of their bodies — hands, feet — appear.

Can Can Club, a longtime Zaramella associate, will provide the animation. Series runs to 26 one-minute episodes, Torre Obeid said at the Annecy Festival, where she forms part of a strong, multi-company delegation organized by Buenos Aires Town Hall Opcion Audiovisual.

Despite his youth — he’s just turned 40 — Zaramella was the subject of an Annecy 2010 tribute. In 2011, his short “Luminaris” won Annecy’s Audience Award and Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics prize.

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