“Highlands Shadow,” “Cursed Fathers” and “Greta’s Journal” are among five animation projects selected for a new women animation directors’ training initiative launched this year at Ventana Sur’s Animation!, in alliance with France’s Annecy Festival and Argentina’s Institut Français.

A 2D eight-episode series “Highlands Shadow” weighs in as a fantasy grounded in traditional folklore mixing action, mystery and political attitude.

Targeting young adults and addressing  gender and LGBTIQ+ issues, the series turns on Juana, a girl from Humahuaca whose sister Marisol has been captured by a human trafficking cartel. To save her, she makes a deal with two haunted machetes, becoming a super heroine. Director Paula Boffo is prizewinning gender-focused graphic novelist. Argentina’s Ojo Raro produces.

Also aimed at a YA crowd, “Cursed Fathers” a 2D first feature from Bolivia’s Matisse González, whose graduation short “Gravity” was nominated for Annie and Quirino Awards, is produced by Argentina’s Celeste and Germany’s Studio Seufz.

Described by its producers as a  “narrative comedy about an exquisitely damned family,” it turns on Kiki, the youngest daughter in a large Bolivian family which thinks it is cursed. Knowing she’s next in line to suffer the consequences, she embarks on a journey to find out whether the curse is real and to put a stop to it.

Targeting pre-school audiences, Peru’s “Greta’s Journal” is produced by Wuf Studio, co-founded by the project’s director, Elva Alessandra Arrieta, who designed the characters and scenery for the country’s first stop-motion series, “Martina y Rigoberto.”

“Greta’s Journal” is another stop-motion series about the eponymous heroine and her friends growing up and discovering a whole surprising world. She records most everything in her journal, which will help her to better understand her own learning process, high points and mistakes.

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Greta’s Journal Courtesy: Animation!

The program provides a month-long introductory training. Any Latin American animated series or features project from a woman director is eligible for the program.

Two chosen projects will also be selected to participate at Annecy’s next MIFA market.

Of other projects, 2D series “Flavor Quest” is intended for kids. It’s produced by Chile’s Estudio Rayo Púrpura with Maria Coello attached to direct. The TV show follows the adventures of Vera who, guided by a magical cookbook, has a mission to set free lost flavors.

Argentina’s Tamandua Estudio and Primavera Films will produce Directed by Emilce Avalos, “Future Woman,” a feminist-laced series mixing documentary and experimental animation. Each episode uses a  different animation technique, such as cut-out, rotoscoping, and 2D.

Program tutors include MIFA head of projects & education Géraldine Baché and Rémi Guittet, the Argentine Institut Français’ audiovisual cooperation attaché.

Also on board is Eleanor Coleman, head of international development and pre-sales at France’s Blue Spirit Productions, Heath Kenny, CCO at Canada’s Mercury Filmworks and Eloa Sahiry, a pitch coach at France’s L.A. Conseils.

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Cursed Fathers Courtesy: Animation!