SANTIAGO DE CHILE — 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of Chile’s Zumbastico Studios and to celebrate, the animation company is announcing that Season 2 of its most recent hit, “Paper Port,” an official selection at 2016’s Annecy Festival, is well into production. The second season will follow the same 26-episode 11-minute format of Season 1, and will broadcast internationally in early 2018.
The series is produced using Zumbastico’s proprietary filming technique “Papermotion.” A mix of 3D stop motion and 2D animation, the technique was developed in-house specifically for the series. The bodies of the series’ characters are crafted and filmed in stop-motion while their faces are animated using traditional 2D techniques.
Founded in 2002 by partners Alvaro Ceppi, Gabriel Noe and Cristian Louit, Zumbastico currently focuses on the international co-production of films and series for kids and families. They have animators experienced in diverse techniques such as 2D animation, live action, stop-motion and puppets.
“Paper Port” is a comedic fantasy adventure series, aimed at 6-10s while its light-hearted delivery makes it enjoyable for parents and older siblings alike. The series features Matilda, a 12-year-old girl who, aside from confronting normal issues that face a pre-teen, has magic powers. As good as that might sound to a 12-year-old, every day her powers change, and she never knows what they will be. Often silly, useless or mysterious, each day brings new challenges to the tween and her diverse cast of friends and family.
Zumbastico has enjoyed tremendous success domestically and across Latin America with “Paper Port” which has broadened its impact across the five continents with help from French animation-production studio Millimages. The show was originally funded by the CNTV, the Chilean TV Council.
When asked about the international appeal of the show, Ceppi was quick to point out that the show may have found an international audience, but is still representative of the culture which originated it. “In ‘Paper Port,’ you see the city resembles Valparaiso, Cartagena or Lisbon. It has elements that resemble and have the aesthetic of our more Latin world.”
To supplement the series, there is a wealth of online content for “Paper Port” viewers as well. “During each episode there is a code on the screen, and you can go into the website and download templates from characters and props from that exact episode and build it at home,” Ceppi explained.
Additionally, during Season 1 in Colombia, there was a contest in which children could design and print their own “Paper Port” characters with super powers designed to help their communities. The winners earned stop-motion lessons for themselves and their classmates.
In the past, Zumbastico has produced content for Cartoon Network, (2011’s “Zumbastico Fantastico”), Disney (“Martian Soap 2111”) and Canal Paka Paka in Argentina (“Horatio and the Plasticines”), which is being distributed by the Spanish company Motion Pictures. Their series “Cagemates” won the Disney Channel Prize at Annecy’s MIFA in 2013.
Finally, the company is executive-producing, along with fellow Chilean’s Pájaro, “Petit,” the for-screen adaptation of the popular children’s books “Petit, el monstruo,” by the renowned Argentinian children’s author Isol. Season 1 is in co-production with Argentine companies Non-Stop and Paka Paka, and will bow at the end of 2017.
The Santiago de Chile-based company’s next major goal is to produce a full-length feature film. It has already secured grants towards this end, and is currently looking for international co-producers.