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Chelo Loureiro, Emilio Aragón Team on Animated ‘Valentina’ (EXCLUSIVE)

CANNES – Spanish producer-turned director Chelo Loureiro of Galicia’s Ábano Producións has teamed with Spanish multi-hyphenate Emilio Aragón at Caribe Music to produce the upcoming animated feature “Valentina.”

Valentina turns on a girl who is tired of having Down syndrome, and believes it to be the reason she’ll never be a trapeze artist. But Valentina’s grandmother tells her that if a caterpillar can become a beautiful butterfly, nothing is impossible. As a matter of fact, Valentina’s grandma wants to become a orchestra conductor and hasn’t given up that dream.

A celebrated Spanish TV showman and director-producer, Emilio Aragón was born in Cuba and worked as a popular clown in the late ‘70s, was a co-founder of TV series production house Globomedia in the ‘90s, directed the dramedy “Pajaros de papel” (Paper Birds), wrote the musical score for the film, and recently produced Spanish hit TV drama “Pulsaciones” (Lifeline).

Aragón has also composed several songs for “Valentina.” A major producer on the Galician animation scene, Loureiro’s productions include Miguelanxo Prado’s “De Profundis” and Pedro Rivero’s “Animal Crisis,” shorts such as Juan Pablo Etcheverry’s “The Biggest Flower in the World,” Luís da Matta Almeida and Júlio Vanzeler’s “O Gigante” and Manane Rodríguez’s live action feature “Breadcrumbs.”

Although the creators’ aim was to center on a girl with Down syndrome, “we didn’t want this disability to become the plot’s leitmotiv. We all find reasons to feel different. Nobody is absolutely happy with what we have,” Loureiro told Variety.

According to Loureiro the feature’s big issue is the loss of a loved one, something difficult to explain during childhood. In the film, Valentina’s grandmother has disappeared so she embarks on an adventure with all her friends to find her.

To be made in 2D CGI, “Valentina” will be Loreiro’s directorial feature debut. The script was co-written by Loureiro and actress Lúa Testa.

Galician illustrator David Pintor (concept art pictured) will be responsible for the feature’s graphic design.

“I’ve always wanted to find a story with a main character with a disability, but all I found were tear-jerker stories. What I would like to build is a story about a character who is perfectly conscious of his/her handicap, which is completely normal for her,” Loureiro said.

The film’s target audience will be kids, although the feature will also throw the occasional knowing wink to parents.

Alongside France’s Schmuby Productions and Spain’s Uniko, Loureiro is also co-producing “Unicorn Wars” by Alberto Vázquez (“Psiconautas”) a solo follow-up to Vázquez and Pedro Rivero’s “Birdboy: the Forgotten Children,” a best animated film at the 2017 Platino Awards and a Gkids acquisition for the U.S.

“Valentina” is scheduled to be released during the third trimester of 2020.

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