Latin America’s best-known animation house, Anima Estudios, based in Mexico City, has teamed with five former execs of Spanish toon house Vodka Capital, to create the Madrid-based Anima Kitchent.
A production/services company, Anima Kitchent aims to create, produce and sell entertainment brands focusing on children/youth markets. It also offers branding, consultancy, multi-platform and 2D/3D development services to third-party companies. It has begun to work with Famosa, fellow animation house BRB, and Europe’s biggest telco, Telefonica.
One early project turns on the Telerin Family, above, featured in a cartoon and jingle broadcast every evening in Mexico and Spain and telling children it is time to go to bed.
The new entity is staffed by former Vodka execs Angel Molinero, who served as Vodka Capital managing director; Miguel Aldasoro, who handled international sales; Carolina Matas, who line-produced the shingle’s big hit series “Jelly Jamm”; Luis Armengol, who oversaw technical issues, such as rendering; and Ruben Zarauza, who exec produced “Jamm.”
As local broadcasters in Spain commission less animation at ever-lower profit margins, Anima Kitchent offers what could be a good fit.
Led by prexy Fernando de la Fuentes, Anima produced Warner Bros. property “Top Cat,” which in 2011 grossed $8.2 million in Mexico on its way to a $14.7 million global haul. At November’s American Film Market, with sales agent FilmSharks, Anima introduced its flagship production, “Save Oz!,” Anima’s first CGI movie as a lead-producer and Mexico’s biggest animated feature.
“Anima has larger experience in feature films, we do on TV series,” said Zarauza.
There’s also a bigger financial picture. Starting in the 1980s in Spain as regional channels, led by Catalonia’s TV3, launched, they were avid for local animated fare — toon series has always repped Spain’s most international production sector.
Since 2008, Spanish broadcasters, national and regional, simply do not have the budget to continue providing minority financing on multiple series.
On “Jelly Jamm’s” second season, for lack of budget, pubcaster RTVE was forced to pull out of co-financing, obliging Vodka Capital to refinance the now-completed season with a pool of Spanish banks, and its executives to look for an alternative business model.
Enter Anima. It is backed by producer-financier Alex Garcia and, from 2013, Latin Idea Ventures, a Mexico-based equity fund manager. It plans international growth. Anima Kitchent is a “highly important step” to attain this, said de la Fuentes.
Partnering with Televisa Home Entertainment, Anima has already teamed with Vodka Capital to co-produce multi-platform brand “Bugsted,” a Vodka Capital creation, which comprises a toon TV series, a game app for Apple and Android devices and collectible action figures.
In contrast to cash-strapped Spain, Mexico will have two more free-to-air broadcasters from 2015; Latin American pay TV households will more than triple in a decade to 51.3 million in 2015, per IHS Screen Digest. The U.S. Hispanic market is growing.
That reps a far healthier home base to make series, which, as Anima Kitchent Spanish execs have already achieved, sell the world over.