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Spanish animation demonstrates the strength of its industry in this online edition of the co-production forum, which includes ten projects involving national companies

Salvador Simó’s and Manuel Sicilia’s Projects Lead the Spanish Presence at Cartoon Movie 2021

In the past year, animation has gained in popularity after the pandemic generated a lot of difficulties when it came to producing live-action content. So, many production companies opted to make the leap into animation production.

Spanish animation, which is currently going through an especially productive period, has seen a notable increase in its development in recent years, often driven by tax incentives that have attracted new business initiatives.

Studios from communities such as Andalusia, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid, the Basque Country, and Valencia are attending this online edition of Cartoon Movie, representing a sector that has achieved a significant amount of international prestige, as evidenced by the fact that around 70% of Spanish companies’ revenue dedicated to working in animation comes from abroad.

Spain is the second European country after France (21) to contribute the most projects to the 23rd edition of the European co-production forum for animated feature films, which will be held virtually from March 9 to 11.

"Palabras de Caramelo"

At Cartoon Movie 2021, Barcelona-based Koniec Films will show "Palabras de Caramelo," a family film by Salvador Simó, director of the acclaimed production “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles," which won the Jury Award at Annecy and Best Animated Film at the European Film Awards, as well as a number of important international sales agreements through Latido Films.

One of the most respected directors in the Spanish animation industry today, Simó is also directing the feature film "Dragonkeeper," an ambitious Spanish-Chinese co-production with a budget of over 20 million euros, in which Dragonkeeper, Atresmedia Cine, and Telefónica Audiovisual Digital worked in collaboration with China Film Animation.

Manuel Sicilia will present "Moonlit Flamenco" at the European co-production forum. This film was inspired by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and produced by Francesca Nicoll for the Granada-based studio Rokyn Animation.

Sicilia, who was the producer of the 2009 Oscar-nominated animated short film "The Lady and the Reaper," has gone on to direct internationally distributed films such as "The Missing Lynx" and “Justin and the Sword of Courage."

Adrià García, who co-directed the 2007 Filmax animated film "Nocturna," will defend the idea for "The Treasure of Barracuda," a film aimed at child audiences that adapts the adventure novel of the same title by Llanos Campos. Valérie Delpierre produces for Inicia Films, the Barcelona-based company behind such outstanding live-action films as "Schoolgirls" and "Summer 1993."

Animation projects for adults

The Spanish selection for Cartoon Movie 2021 includes three animation projects aimed at adults/young adults. One of them is "Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa" by Fermín Muguruza. The sequel to "Black is Beltza," this 2018 production marked the animated feature directorial debut for the Basque musician and was acquired by Netflix. The second release is produced by Jone Unanua of Talka Records in co-production with the Valencian company Ambra Projectes Culturals.

The production company Meh Producciones is taking part in the forum with “Pepino, the Accordionist" after this project's participation in Cartoon Springboard 2020. Producer Alfonso Casado and scriptwriter Daniel Hidalgo will present this idea for young adults by illustrator Irene Trapero, co-produced by the Portuguese company Sparkle Animation.

For the historical drama "Winnipeg
, the Seed of Hope," directed by Elio Quiroga and Beñat Beitia, the prolific Guipuzcoan studio Dibulitoon Studio ("Elcano & Magellan: the First Voyage Around the World") co-produced this adaptation of the illustrated novel by Canarian screenwriter Laura Martel with the Catalan company La Ballesta, Chilean company El Otro Film, and Midralgar from France.

Barcelona's Doce Entertainment and Mr. Miyagi Films, which co-produced the Netflix live-action global hit "The Platform" by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, are developing Lorena Ares' preschool animation project “Hanna and the Monsters," a co-production with Belgium's Fabrique Fantastique.

Both "Winnipeg, the Seed of Hope" and "Hanna and the Monsters" are also on the list of the ten projects selected to vie for the Cartoon Movie Eurimages special award, consisting of 20,000 euros in development support.

In production is the preschool film shot in 2D and 3D "Valentina," the directorial debut of Galician producer Chelo Loureiro, with seven Goya Award nominations, which she is co-producing at Abano Producións together with Galician company Antaruxa (Brandán Álvarez). The project is supported by TVE, TVG, ICAA, and Agadic.

In addition, the Spain-UK co-production "The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil," a 3D project aimed at a family audience, features Madrid-based Able&Baker, with Carlos Tschuschke (ex-Vodka) as executive producer. Its British partner is Snafu Pictures.

Also in production is the feature film directed by Nuno Beato "My Grandfather's Demons," which brings together the Galician company Caretos Films, led by Xosé Zapata, with Portugal's Sardinha em Lata and France's Midralgar.

The European Association of Animation Film is an international non-profit association based in Brussels that holds Cartoon Movie, together with Cartoon Forum, the animated TV series co-production forum, and the Cartoon Masters training seminars.

In 2021, Spain will host two of these events: Cartoon Springboard (Valencia, October 26-28) and Cartoon Business (Gran Canaria, December 8-10).