Huevocartoon Producciones, the Mexican studio behind Mexican and U.S. “Huevos” hit toon film saga, has teamed with storyboard artist Sant Arellano to bring to the market CGI animated feature project “Grimalkin.”
After winning an Ideatoon Award for best feature project at September’s Pixelatl Animation Festival in Mexico, “Grimalkin” has been invited to form part of Ventana Sur‘s Animation! Pitching Sessions.
With an estimated $6 million budget, “Grimalkin” has been developed at Huevocartoon Studios as an independent production which is, however, backed by the studio’s technical resources, according to Arellano, who is developing the project.
Targeting 8-12 years old children and family audiences, the horror comedy narrates how a domestic cat’s love for his family is tested when mischievous creatures invade the house, a foster home run by a loving young couple.
Being the only one with the ability to see them, the cat must confront the creatures before they take over the house and its inhabitants.
“In archaic English-language, ‘Grimalkin’ means cat. Also, the term ‘grim’ fits with the horror elements the film contains,” Arellano said.
He added: “The story was inspired by a question I asked myself when I returned from vacation: If I brought with me a ghost or an evil spirit and the only one who could see it is my cat, what would have to happen for the cat do something about it?”
References include classic movies such as Joe Dante’s “Gremlins,” Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth,” Henry Selick’s “Coraline” and Víctor Erice’s “The Spirit of the Beehive,” plus Michael Ende’s books, he said.
One of Latin America’s most successful toon studios, Huevocartoon was founded in 2001 by the Riva Palacio family and Carlos Zepeda as an animation website where the main characters were eggs that performed irreverent satires on various cultural and social aspects, rapidly becoming an spectacular Internet phenomenon.
Huevocartoon debuted in animated feature film production in 2006 with “Una película de Huevos,” who sold one million tickets in its first weekend in Mexican theaters.
The sequel, “Otra película de huevos y un pollo,” scored in 2009 a record $2.4 million first-three-day box office in Mexico. The first fully Mexican 3D animated movie, “Un gallo con muchos huevos” launched in 2015, becoming Mexico’s most successful toon film in the world, opening theatrically in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., where its gross of $9.1 million puts it in the top 6 foreign language releases in the last four years.
In March, Videocine Distribución will launch “Marcianos vs. Mexicanos,” suggesting Huevocartoon’s interest in diversification, developing new IPs.
In this sense, “’Grimalkin’ is an IP that fits very well in the new route Huevocartoon is taking,” Arellano said.
A former story artist and animatic supervisor at Mexico’s Anima Estudios, Arellano is pitching “Grimalkin” at industry events such as Ventana Sur, with Huevocartoon producer Ignacio Casares as a consultant.
At Ventana, Arellano aims “to find production and distribution partners to fund the film’s development and production.”
Ventana Sur’s Animation! Pitching Sessions for feature films take place Thursday Nov. 30. A jury of experts will choose two winning projects, which will attend to Annecy’s Mifa market in 2018.