“Halloween,” from rising Colombian prospect Silvia Prietov and “Mi Amigo el Sol,” the latest in a line of cause-driven movies from Mexico’s Fotosintesis Media, are among projects set to be unveiled at Ventana Sur’s 2021 Animation!
They will be joined by the the latest animation titles in development at burgeoning production houses and animation studios around Latin America such as Chile’s Lunes Creative Studio (“Rainbow Hunters,”), Mexico’s Panamericana Pictures (“Wild City”) and Argentina’s Malabar (“Sur Marina”) in an event now firmly established as one of the key showcases at Ventana Sur, the biggest film and TV market in Latin America.
Other buzz titles take in Mexico’s “Hanta,” with large fest potential and stunning visuals, and the older audience targeting “The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles,” also from Mexico, a darker fairy tale, even by fairy tale standards.
There are no strong trends at this year’s showcase, given an interesting mix in terms of topics, targets and also country-wise,” Animation! manager Silvina Cornillón told Variety.
As in past years, multiple projects encourage their child audiences to discover the magic of their roots, whether indigenous or otherwise and in a region whose high art has so often been socially conscious, two titles – “Chronicles” and “Cotton Bottom Town” – can be read as broad political allegory while “Wild City” takes an ironic look at the daily travails of living in Mexico City.
Noteworthy are four animated feature or series creation/direction debuts by young women: Alexandra Perez and Eva Ruiz de Chávez, Colombia’s Prietov and Argentina’s Lucila Iñiguez.
Organized once more with the Annecy Festival’s MIFA market, Animation!, as Ventana Sur at large, will take place as a hybrid event. Delegates traveling to Buenos Aires will be able to make a public pitch and take one-to-one meetings face-to-face. Projects details will be made available online for all VS participants.
Animation 2021 Feature Film Projects
“Chaskis – Messengers of the Sun,” (Star Toons Animation, Peru)
As a solar eclipse announces the coming of Supay, the God of the Underworld, three young chaskis – Inca message runners – take off to cross the Andes, protecting a baby whose mysterious powers can save the world. A fantasy action-adventure spoken in Spanish and Quechua from Peru’s Alex Agurto Quesada.
“Copacabana 1920,” (Apocalipso Produçoes, Brazil)
The latest from U.S.-born Ennio Torresan, co-director of DreamWorks’ “Spirit Untamed” and director of “Until Sbornia Do Us Part.” Made in 2D with superimposed 3D landscapes, a fantasy family adventure with Chico, 30, discovering in modern Rio a 100-year-old photo of himself as a young man. A candomblé priest helps him discover the photo’s secret, which changes the history of modern Copacabana.
“Halloween,” (Lucy Animation Studio, Colombia)
Created by Silvia Prietov, a Vancouver Film School alumni, Cartoon Network Girl Power 2020 best pitch winner and talent to track. A fantasy 2D title packing a darkened pop aesthetic, it posits that the clock which controls the universe’s time has been tinkered with, condemning Bogotá to relive Halloween day over and over again. Produced by Ventana Sur Encuentros winner Karina Forero (“Mitomorfosis”).
“Hanta,” (Atotonilco Estudio, Mexico; Animanostra, Canada; Ed Films, Portugal)
In 1968, suffering state censorship, a writer, Bohumil, secretly pens a novel about Hanta who prints uncensored books. Bohumil’s reality and Hanta’s fiction begin to intertwine… A young adult fantasy feature from Emilio Ramos, a veteran short filmmaker known for the Annecy selected “Niebla” (2006) and “Nos faltan” (2016).
“Mi Amigo el Sol,” (Fotosíntesis Media, Mexico)
Hailed as the first animated feature from Mexico directed by a woman, Alejandra Perez González, a former Anima Estudios character designer and storyboard artist. A smalltime criminal who’s always denied his indigenous heritage sets out to rekindle his only daughter’s trust by navigating the world of the Aztec gods. The latest in a distinguished recent lineage of “cause entertainment” animated features – think “A Costume for Nicholas” and “Beast” – produced for Fotosíntesis Media by Miguel Angel Uriegas.
“Sur Marina,” (Malabar Producciones, Argentina)
2D with superimposed 3D landscapes, a rare outing into feature film for Malabar, an established Buenos Aires-based animated TV series producer. This may have a winning lyricism as Marina, 5, leaves Argentina’s desert north for a southern fishing village, encountering her grandfather, an old sailor, friends, and adventures. And she discovers, the synopsis says, that the sea was waiting for her.
“Berg’s Books,” (“Livraria Berg,” Latina Estudio, Belli Studio and Ultrassom – Brazil)
Berg’s Books, the Ksiazkabergs family bookstore, struggles to get by as son Beni, 12, battles the insecurities of his age. A 2D show directed by Rubens Belli who helmed 2018’s “Boris e Rufus” for Disney XD, and produced by Cao Quintas, a production partner on Pablo Larrain’s breakthrough feature, “Tony Manero.”
“Cotton Bottom Town,” (Caballo Loco Studio, Colombia)
Produced by Luisa Fernanda Velásquez, co-creator of “Astropackers,” which took the 2020 Pitch Me the Future prize from Cartoon Network y Pixelatl. An allegorical fantasy turning on a giant pink cloud of smog which settles over Cotton Bottom town, numbing its adults into a trance of work and submission. Colombian character designer Felipe Rodríguez (Netflix’s “Xico’s Journey”) attached to direct.
“The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles,” (“Crónicas de la Bella Durmiente,” Maliarts, Mexico)
Hans Christian Andersen meets “24” and exquisite 3D animation with 2D textures and effects, as Princess Rose unleashes a curse trapping her kingdom in slumber. She’s got just 10 days to wake everybody or they all die. A mystery fantasy adventure, targeting adolescents and adults, directed and produced by Adrián Ollé-Laprune which won the Animation! prize at Pixelatl and will be presented at Spain’s Cartoon Springboard.
“Kaddy, The Fabulous Chaos Enchantress,” (“Kaddy, La Fabulosa Hechicera de Caos” Listo Calisto! Animation, Argentina)
Kaddy, a maladroit last heir to the ancient line of powerful High Lands necromancers, travels to outlandish places to prove her worth in chaos magic. A 2D comedic adventure fantasy from Argentine director Lucila Iñiguez and producer Matt Revello targeting 7-9s.
“Lizards Have No Friends,” (Costa Rica)
Living in the middle of nowhere with his reptile-studying mom, Charlie, 11, is spirited away to the Lizard Kingdom. A 2D/3D hybrid from Johel Rivera Martínez, a longtime Canada-based animator working on “Last Kids on Earth” and “Addams Family 2” and an art director on Marvel’s “What If…?”
“Rainbow Hunters,” (Lunes Creative Studio/COPA, Chile)
The latest from Chile’s Lunes Creative Studios who impressed with 2018 Annecy hit “Waldo’s Dream,” then teamed with the Larraín brothers’ Fabula to make a full feature, 2019’s “Homeless.” Here, in a post-apocalyptic world, two young hunters, Rayún and Sayén, 15, have as their mission to catch rainbows, bringing their vital energy back to their home, a refuge for the world’s last surviving tribe of women. Lunes partner Santiago O’Ryan directs.
“San Misterio,” (Mexico)
Two city girls and their dad move to San Misterio to take care of grandpa, only to discover he was a sorcerer. A comedic 2D mystery series which won the Ideatoon prize at this year’s Pixelatl fest in Mexico. Directed by Carlos Sallas, a Mexico City-based graphic artist.
“Wild City,” (“Ciudad Salvaje,” Panamericana Pictures, Mighty Animation, Mexico)
The latest from Panamericana, a pace-setting Mexican production house with projects and past pics set up with Julio Medem, Yelene Olazoila and Laura Baumeister. An ironic trans-media 2D take which is laced with fantasy on the daily vicissitudes of life in Mexico City. Panamericana founder Eva Ruiz de Chávez, who headed up the Mexican unit on “El Chapo,” showruns.