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Ibero-America’s toon kids content sector has launched a call at Ventana Sur for more bridge building arenas and channels aimed at boosting co-productions, especially ambitious projects that require a greater number of partners.

Ibermedia, the multi-million dollar Ibero-American audiovisual fund, is seen by representative TV networks and indie producers as an opportunity to create juts such a platform, facilitating children’s animation industry alliances.

Co-production was one of the issues on the table at Ventana Sur’s virtual panel Challenges for the Creation and Distribution of Children’s Content in Latin America (Vol. 2), promoted by Spain’s ICAA film institute, the Ibermedia Program and La Liga de la Animación Iberoamericana and moderated by José Luis Farías, director of Segovia-based Weird Market.

10 years ago, the number of TV windows for children’s programming in Latin America was limited. However, a series of channels, led by  Pakapaka in Argentina and Canal 11 in Mexico, started to expand the iramount of daily hours of children’s programming, which caused an explosion in children’s animation productrion.

In Chile, from the early 2000s, its Consejo Nacional de Televisión operated a fund that financed two-to-three childrens TV programs a year. But public TV networks didn’t broadcast them in a massive way.

“Our first need was to know if our projects were good or bad, because we didn’t know the audience’s reaction. That’s why we went out in 2010 to explore the international market with our series ‘Zumbástico Fantástico’ and we were able to sell it to Cartoon Network, which premiered it throughout Latin America,” said Álvaro Ceppi director-producer at flagship Chilean toon company Zumbástico Studios.

Venturing abroad allowed Zumbástico to meet Cielo Salviolo at Pakapaka and introduce her to its next project, hybrid puppetry-stop motion preschool series “Horacio y Los Plasticines.” Pakapaka entered as a co-producer alongside Zumbástico and CNTV.

Since its launch 11 years ago, Pakapaka has become crucial for the development of regional TV animation co-productions.

“Without co-productions we couldn’t make the animation projects we have. Currently we have a lot of co-productions – two of them with Spain – which we have managed because we know each other down the years between channels and producers,” points out Cielo Salviolo, Pakapaka director.

She added: “Ibermedia could play a stronger role of creating unions between producers and channels, it would not be bad at a time when a lot of people are searching for co-production.”

“Our co-production partners are people we’ve known for a long time, but it would be good to create a space that articulates all those interests and puts children on the agenda,” she said.

“We must let kids content cross all possible genres and encourage ourselves to think that children are part of the audience: Programming doesn’t need a specific call.”

Above all, Salviolo argued, “in Latin America and Spain there are many public channels actively producing, so there is a very interesting moment for all of us who are in children content production to build bridges that allow us to generate co-productions in a structured way.”

2013 series “Horacio y Los Plasticines,” which traveled across Latin America, paved the way for “Puerto Papel,” the most ambitious Zumbastico series to date, not only co-produced by Pakapaka but also by

Brazilian giant Globo through children’s channel Gloob.  Señal Colombia and Chile’s TVN also joined the project.

“The key was the synergy,” said Zumbástico’s Álvaro Ceppi. “The most satisfying thing was to see how the ability to join together generated projects of this size. So I think that from there one becomes aware that without links between different countries, organizations and producers, it’s very difficult to tackle these projects,” he explained.

Co-production among Ibero-American countries is today seen as “totally natural” by children animation content producers attending the meeting.

“Ibero America is competitive, we produce well, we are recognized for our creativity but the reality is that financing resources are usually scarce, so we have to come together to be able to produce,” said Guillermo Velasco at Madrid and Salamanca-based toon and video games studio Big Bang Box.

“Ibermedia should perhaps generate more spaces not only for calls but also for socialization of projects so that more alliances can be generated between producers, TV channels and orgs that allow making the type of productions that require the union of a greater number of players. Without this union it’s impossible to continue advancing,” Ceppi argued.

Further questions affecting production in Spain, Portugal and Latin America take in the need to generate enough production volume and a growing influence of a U.S./U.K. children’s animation style.

“The main challenge in Ibero-America is to achieve a certain identity in our productions, being identified across the world by what we do,” Ceppi argued.