Brazilians ale abreu and Luiz Bolognesi, leading lights of Brazil’s vibrant animation scene, have teamed to co-produce “Voyagers of the Enchanted Forest” and “Immortals,” their respective next toon feature projects.

Move highlights the vitality and esprit de corps of a still-growing industry, thrust into the limelight by the Academy Award nomination for Abreu’s animated feature “Boy & the World,” which won Annecy’s Cristal Award. The previous year Bolognesi’s “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury” also won at Annecy.

The fruit of the alliance of Abreu’s outfit Filme de Papel with Bolognesi and Lais Bodanzky’s Buriti Filmes suggests complementary and common ambitions. “It gives us much more strength on the international market and brings continuity of employment to talented young Brazilian artists,” Bolognesi says.

There are other developments on Brazil’s toon scene. Sao Paulo’s film-TV production company Glaz and Rio-based animation facility Copa Studio merged last fall, aiming to consolidate their position as a global toon player.

Dubbed Glaz, the animation giant has unveiled early feature projects: “Haunted Tales for Wicked Kids” and “Trunk Train,” both hit toon TV series spinoff.

Brazilian production is surging. Over 1995-14, it produced 17 Brazilian toon films, two more than in all its history.
The animation industry continues to put its pedal to the metal. Gullane, producer of “Rio 2096,” and Brazilian auteur Walter Salles’ VideoFilmes teamed in 2014 to co-produce Sergio Machado’s animated project “Noah’s Ark,” based on songs and lyrics by iconic artist Vinicius de Moraes.

Rodrigo Gava and Eduardo Campo’s “As Aventuras do Pequeno Colombo,” produced by Globo Filmes, and the Polifilmes-distributed “Historia antes de uma historia,” by Wilson Antonio Lazaretti, were scheduled for an early 2016 release.
Also, Sao Paulo-based Kiko Mistrorigo and Celia Catunda, founders of TV PinGuim studio, plan to launch “Fishtronaut, the Movie,” a film adaptation of an international TV series sales hit, this year.

“Voyagers of the Enchanted Forest” will be ready by 2018; “Immortals” in 2019.

“Boy & the World” has marked an international milestone for Brazil’s animation sector, being sold to more than 90 territories worldwide, including key deals in North America (Gkids), Latin America (HBO, Turner and Fox), France (Les Films du Preau) and China (Champs Lis).

For Brazilian animation, international co-production represents the next frontier.

Producers are studying structuring “Voyagers of the Enchanted Forest” as an international co-production, and are trying to tap partners in France and the U.S.

Also, Elo Co. is scouting international partnerships on features and TV series projects, eyeing territories such as Argentina, Chile or even North America, in which Brazil could bring to the table talent, investment and a 200 million people market, says founder Sabrina Nudeliman.

The foundations of current animation boom in Brazil were established in 2011 with Law 12485 regs obliging international pay TV networks to invest in local programming.

Brazil boasts “creativity, the ability to see things from a different perspective and skills to make things out of nothing, competitive advantages which are part of our native culture and are present in anything we make, including animation,” says Marta Machado, at Brazil’s Federal U. of Santa Catarina.

Yet challenges remain. Brazilian feature films, despite international plaudits and recent sales hits, still need to conquer their own cinema audiences. “Boy & the World” sold 35,000 tickets in Brazil, 120,000 in France.

“People are not willing to pay to see a Brazilian independent production, let alone an animated one,” Machado says.
Per Elo Nudeliman, other challenges include holding on to local talent at home and generating public incentives to back film and TV contents exports.

“My only fear is that the economic crisis will affect public support policies,” Bolognesi says. “If the policies continue, Brazil will in the coming years become one of the largest film and TV producers in the world.”