Tribute to Latin-America

Los Campeones de Latinoamerica

(by Giulietta Fara)

We have chosen to focus on some specific countries in our tribute to Latin-American animation, in particular Mexico, Cuba,
Brazil and Argentina. The creative renaissance of countries such as Argentina and Brazil goes hand in hand with the rich tradition of Cuba, where animation has been able to tell the epic stories of national heroes, as well as describing everyday life and stereotypes with irony and sarcasm. Mexican productions, including those by younger artists, bear witness to a rich stop-motion animation tradition.


The brief homage to the animation of this country begins with a film made in 1979, Elpidio Valdez by Juan Padrón, which is an excellent example of the transformation of a classic Cuban comic strip (by the same Padrón) into an animated film. This is the first Cuban feature-length animated film. The ’80s were a true golden era for Cuban animation, with over fifteen animated films, both shorts and feature films being produced every year. Filminuto I (1980), directed by Padrón, is the first in a series of extremely successful gag animations still being produced today. The Filminutos are short and nearly always without dialogue, with a duration between 30 seconds and 1 minute. From the golden age of Cuban animation the film Vampiros en la Habana (1985), again by Padrón, is particularly noteworthy as an amusing parody of movie gangsters as vampires of all types.


As for Argentina, very interesting is the production of graphic artists turned animators, or rather artists who use their creativity as a multi-dimensional universe. Some of the works of the “Pepper Melon” group, made up of several creative directors, will be present; “Punga Visual Consorcio”, a group started up in 2001 and directed by Tomàs Dieguez, which is made up of Argentinean artists who create motion graphics, videoclips, character animation, illustration and much more; “Boogiemanmedia” who realized the project “No molestar”among others; in addition, “Superestudio”, Mariano Mola, “Resses Motion Graphic Design”, “Bitt Animation”. Finally, the works of Juan Antín, famous for his feature film Mercano, el marciano and the new project Los dioses de lata will be present.


To witness the production of this country, a collection of shorts will be presented to the festival, from Pax, totally made in plasticine stop-motion to O poeta, which uses rotoscoping as in traditional animation. Moreover, the recent feature Wood&Stock: sexo, orègano & rock’n’roll by Otto Guerra will be premiered , together with shorts from the portal Mundocanibal that collects a series of shorts by young writers who present rather nasty and very funny stories. Irony is definitely one of the main characteristics in Brazilian animation production, from the shorts on the web to student productions and to film productions.

Mexico, geographically bordering with the USA, has a very characteristic animation production, and recent independent works show a great desire on the part of the writers to create their own style. We have preferred to present recent work from this country, too. From the wonderful 4 maneras de
tapar un hoyo
to Sin Sostèn from Salamancha Producciones, the technique prefered by Mexican authors remains stop-motion, as demonstrated in the short Hasta Los Huesos by Renè Castillo, similar in style to The Corpse Bride by Tim Burton. Another interesting film is the award-winning El Octavo dìa de la creaciòn by Rita Basulto and Juan José Medina, animated in stop-motion, which was made with the collaboration of Guillermo del Toro. The short is an example of fantasy-horror, a genre loved by Mexican writers. Very recent is the science fiction short Berlitad by Pablo Angeles created with an extremely clear and refined 3D animation
technique. Animex Productions has recently produced the film La Leyenda de la Nahuala by Ricardo Arnaiz (2007). The drawing style is traditional, but the bright colours and the character design give an innovative touch to the whole film. The gloomy dark environment pays tribute to traditional Mexican animation, even though the film has been created for a younger audience.

Four special guest will attend the Future Film Festival to tell their own experiences: Juan Antin (ARGENTINA), Otto Guerra (BRASIL), Juan Padron (CUBA), Pablo Angeles – Hombrezoo (MEXICO).