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Anima Puts ‘Momias’ into Pre-prod (EXCLUSIVE)

De Fuentes looks to English-language production

ANNECY — Mexico City’s Anima Estudios, producer of Warner Bros. property “Top Cat,” the highest-grossing Mexican animated movie in recent years, is in pre-production on “La Leyenda de las momias.”

The third movie installment in a franchise whose second part, “La Leyenda de la Llorona,” proved a breakout hit, grossing $3.9 million at local hardtops in 2011, “Momias” renders homage to Mexico’s death cults, weighing in as a flash-animation horror-comedy for kids.

“Llorona’s” helmer Alberto “Chino” Rodriguez, who has also made episodes of Anima’s hugely popular Televisa TV series “El Chavo animado,” will direct “Momias.”

Like “Llorona,” about a specter that kidnapped children, “Momias” is inspired by a Mexican legend, this time round the so-called Mommies of Guanajato — the mummified bodies of victims of a cholera outbreak in 1861 that were disinterred and collected in a local pantheon, if nobody paid for their continued burial. The mommies have been a tourist attraction in Mexico from the 1900s.

Set in Guanajato, “Momias” is a fiction take on the origin of the mummies, said Anima prexy Fernando de Fuentes. It again features Leo San Juan, the hero of the saga, who hurries to Guanajato after he hears that the mummies are kidnapping children.

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Skedded for delivery in 2014, “Momias” is just one of a multi-pronged production strategy at Anima Estudios.

Helmed by Andres Lozano and Andres Couturier, “El Santos vs. la Tetona Mendoza” plays out of competition at this week’s France’s Annecy festival.
With a voice cast that includes not only top Mexican thesps Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Damian Bichir, but even Guillermo del Toro, the raunchy comic-book-based zombie action-comedy is the first film from Atomo Films, an Anima label specializing in animation for adults.

Anima’s production priority is, however, international film and TV animation production, Fuentes said.

Helmed by “Top Cat” director Alberto Mar, co-produced by India’s Discreet Arts, which is handling rendering, and lip-synched in English, “This Land of Oz” (a.k.a. “Champions of Oz”) is Anima’s next big international movie bet.

Anima’s first CGI movie, “Oz” has now completed 15% to 20% of animation, De Fuentes said. “Oz” will be completed by January or February 2014, he added.

Anima is also working on a “Top Cat” sequel that will be “slightly more edgy and contemporary” than the first film, De Fuentes added.

“If we want to continue growing, we have to make films for the international market,” he insisted.

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