×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jalisco Up Next! – Animation Director Leon Fernandez

Fernández delivers a black comedy with ‘Aeronauts’

León Fernández’s stop-motion short “The Aeronauts” bowed at Pearls of Guadalajara, the 31st Guadalajara Fest showcase devoted to local talent.

A fable about domination, “Aeronauts” follows a tribe of skillfully designed critters who pay a regular tribute to their gods, shadowy flying creatures. One of the young tribute payers isn’t very happy with this tradition.

Supported by Mexico’s Imcine Film Institute and produced at Guadalajara Humanimalia Studio, parable “Aeronauts” tells a story not linked to local culture or iconography, but “it’s a story that happened in the past, happens now and will take place worldwide,” Fernández told Variety.

“We mixed stop-motion digital effects trying to achieve a work between reality and fantasy. In fact, characters, scenes, situations have a surrealist touch. Although the film channels diverse artists, directly and indirectly, we think we achieved a personal result,” Fernández added.

Guadalajara animator Fernandez is a sculptor, which feeds into his passion for animation. He took a degree in Fine Arts at the Academy of Art in Florence and studied animation with well-known Mexican tooners Juan José Medina, who won a 2010 best animated short Mexican Academy Ariel Awards for “Jaulas,” and Rita Basulto, a 2014 best animated short winner for “Lluvia en los ojos.” Medina worked as a producer on “Aeronauts” and Basulto oversaw cinematography.

Fernández has in post a new short –“Taller de corazones,”—co-produced by Guadalajara-based Outik Animation, founded by Medina and Galician publishing company OQO.

“It’s not easy to make a living from animation. However, animation in Mexico is getting more and more popular. The number of productions and features are increasing, as well as the number of people who want to study animation. (…) In Guadalajara, there’s an important number of nationally and internationally known animators who show promise,” Fernández underlined.

Mexico City, Jalisco and Michoacán are the three states topping the list of shorts produced in 2014. In addition to that, in the same year new states made their first animation productions: Chihuahua, Veracruz, Yucatán, Puebla and Sonora.

According to Imcine sources, 535 shorts were produced in Mexico in 2014. Out of them, 10% were toons. Gabriel and Rodolfo Riva Palacio Alatriste hit “Un gallo con muchos huevos,” distributed in the U.S. by Pantelion Films, grossed $9.1 million Stateside –becoming the highest-grossing Mexican pic out of a total of six Mexican features released in U.S. in 2015. It also ran up a $9.4 million box office gross in Mexico.

As near every toner, Fernandez dreams about his first feature, “a stop-motion comedy with tons of black humor.” He has a first version of a screenplay.

“I am in love with this technique which mixes sculpture and motion. You can ‘touch’ the main characters. But I am also open to other techniques. In fact, ‘Aeronauts’ has some elements in 3D, created at Polar Studio. For now, I still want to make shorts, where you can tell stories with all kind of freedoms,” he concluded.

More Film

  • Penny Marshall Dead

    Penny Marshall, 'Laverne & Shirley' Star, Director, Dies at 75

    Penny Marshall, who starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley” and then became a successful director, died on Monday night at her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Variety has confirmed. She was 75. Marshall was the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 [...]

  • 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Box

    Peter Jackson's 'They Shall Not Grow Old' Collects $2.3 Million on Monday

    Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” earned $2.3 million at 1,122 theaters in North America on Monday. Warner Bros. released the movie five weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. The studio partnered with Fathom Events in the U.S. for a one-day event, marking the largest single [...]

  • Dua LipaVariety Hitmakers Brunch, Portraits, Los

    'Alita: Battle Angel' to Feature New Song by Dua Lipa

    Robert Rodriguez’s “Alita: Battle Angel” will feature a new song by Dua Lipa. “Swan Song,” co-written by Justin Tranter, Kennedi Lykken, Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson and Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), in addition to Dua Lipa, will drop ahead of the film’s U.S. opening on Feb. 14. The Twentieth Century Fox action-adventure movie was produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau [...]

  • Les Arcs Festival Unveil Prizes For

    'System Crasher,' 'White on White' Win Work-in-Progress Awards at Les Arcs

    Nora Fingscheidt’s “System Crasher” and Theo Court’s “White on White” won the top prizes at Les Arcs Film Festival’s Work-in-Progress session. Both titles were among the 18 films in post-production pitched during the 10th edition of the Work-in-Progress showcase which is spearheaded by Frederic Boyer, the artistic director of Les Arcs and Tribeca festivals. “System [...]

  • Actress Shirley MacLaine poses at the

    Shirley MacLaine Selected for AARP Career Achievement Award

    Shirley MacLaine has been selected as the recipient of the AARP’s 2018 Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award. MacLaine will be honored at the 18th annual Movies for Grownups Awards ceremony on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. MacLaine has credits on more than 50 feature films, won a best [...]

  • 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Trailer: Cate

    Cate Blanchett Disappears in 'Where’d You Go, Bernadette' First Trailer

    Cate Blanchett goes missing in the first trailer for Richard Linklater’s latest film, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” Based on Maria Semple’s 2012 novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” follows agoraphobic architect Bernadette Fox (Blanchett), who disappears just before a family trip to Antarctica. “Something unexpected has come up,” Blanchett’s character says on the phone. “It has much [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content