The bleak reality of an old folk’s home meets magical surrealism in “Arrugas” (Wrinkles), the hand-drawn animated feature from director Ignacio Ferreras, based on the 2008 comic book by Spain’s National Comic Prize winner Paco Roca.

“Our big challenge was doing a whole feature for just €2 million ($2.7 million),” says producer Manuel Cristobal. “That’s a very tight budget for animation, but it helped so much that Ignacio is not only a very experienced animator and storyboarder but knew how to tell a story without using too much animation and still make it work. He was able to give it a high style in look and feel, and we also worked with experienced studios like Cromasoma, which co-produced it.”

According to Cristobal, most of the animation was done in Spain, with roughly 25% outsourced to the Philippines. In pulling together the creative team and funding for the project, it helped to consider such precedents among adult-oriented animated features as “Persepolis,” another stylized toon adapted from a graphic novel.

“?’Arrugas’ has sold very well in Spain, Japan and all over Europe, and we knew we had a very powerful story to tell,” Cristobal says. “So we decided to follow the comicbook very closely from both the story and artistic point of view. Our film is exactly the same, so that was an advantage, and we knew we could achieve the 2D style and look even though we had so little money. Because animation frontiers have expanded so much, I knew we could try a drama like this.”

Animated pics boost property values
Whether working on a shoestring hand-drawn project or pushing the limits of computer-generated technology, this year’s offerings overcame major challenges in bringing their animated visions to screen. Here’s how:
‘Arthur Christmas’ | ‘Chico and Rita’ | ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ | ‘Rango’ | ‘Wrinkles’ | ‘Rio’