Focus on Spain showcase underscores creative energy, suggests signs of industry recovery
ANNECY–BRB ‘s “Bubble Bip,” “Animal Crackers,” “Pumpkin Reports” and “Dino Games” were some of the fourteen Spanish toon projects pitched at Focus on Spain, a standout Territory Focus at this year’s Annecy MIFA market, coinciding with Spain¡s status as the guest country at the French animation fest, the biggest dedicated event if its kind in the world. Focus on Spain showcase Eight features and seven TV skeins, one completed, Sam’s “Possessed,” an Annecy competition contender whose director Sam, who presented the project, is seeks territory or broadcaster sales, and co-production partners and investors at Annecy.
Spain’s animation spread at Focus on Spain served to underscore that, apart from the now occasional big-budget live-action co-production backed by Spanish broadcast networks Mediaset España and Atresmedia, Spain’s animated feature sector now weighs in with both the most consistently higher-budget and international of Spanish features. At least three of the movie productions at Annecy have international co-production partners.
The TV spread, also enjoyed by the Annecy industry audience, also underlined the invigorating diversity of genres, graphic styles and industry models informing Spain’s animated TV production, despite or because of a far lower local TV support than in many other countries in Europe.
Four projects are family-targeted, one is preschool-focused, another one for all audiences, yet another another for 16-and-overs. The other seven Focus on Spain titles targeted 4-10s.
Spanish pubcaster TVE, DeAPlaneta label Planeta Junior, Triacom Audiovisual, Catalan pubcaster TV3 and Indian animation group Toonz Media Group -which recently acquired Imira Entertainment- team on “Bubble Bip,” a 52-seg short-format TV skein for kids 4-7. TVE is currently negotiating the last details for a co-production investment. “Bip” turns on a weird and wild vidgame superheroe that flees from his virtual universe to the real one.
Sam’s “Possessed,” a very Spanish and sometimes hilarious riff on “The Exorcist,” seeks international sales. Guido Rud Film Sharks handles foreign rights.
Madrid-based Able & Baker Studios presented “Momochi,” a 52 x 7 min. preschool series about a lovely creature seeing the world from a new viewpoint.
Also based out of Madrid and targeting 6-to-8 girls Anima Kitchent’s “Piny, Pinypon, Institute of New York” series is set at an exclusive New York institute specialized in design, fashion and new careers.
Already in production, “Animal Crackers” targets all auds It is being produced from Spain by Valencia-based Blue Dream Studios Spain, founded by Spanish Academy Goya winner Jaime Maestro (“The Smoke Seller”). “Crackers” tells the story of a traveling circus where the main character discovers a magic cookies box.
Imira Entertainment’s “Planet Play,” a Focus on Spain highlight already described by Variety, and Motion Pictures Distribution’s “Pumpkin Reports” are two 52-seg 12 min series, “I Elvis Riboldi” an 52-episode 11-minute one. “Pumpkin” turns on the most popular kid in a quiet village facing a new situation when he discovers his newly adopted brother and sisters are aliens; “Planet Play” turns on Play, the new-kid-in-town in Orbitrom23, a planet where every kid has a Bot, a kind of robot-nanny-smarthphone device. But Play doesn’t have one; and “Rivoldi’s” main character is Elvis, an excruciatingly hyperactive and destructive boy.
Also presented, Dream Team Concept and Moonbite Games’ “Dino Games” is a feature in pre-production telling a story of two worlds: Chuby and fhis riends are magically transported to Dino Games, their favourite vidgame.
Another feature is “Alfred & Anna Save the Music,” also in preproduction, from Sevilla’s based Forma Animada: a music promotor wants to take over all talented music stars, but Alfred & Anna’s school stands in his way.
Other projects that were pitched at Focus on Spain, the subject of dedicated Variety Annecy articles, were high-tech studio Screen 21 and BRB Internacional’s “Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds,” Capitan Arana’s “Run Ozzy, Run,” The Spa Studios’ “Klaus” and “Capture the Flag,” produced by Lightbox Animation Studios, Spain’s big animation feature release of 2015 and a Paramount Pictures pick-up for worldwide distribution.