International animation and VFX groups come to Spain attracted by local talent and resources

Emiliano de Pablos
20 June 2023
Tara Duncan

Tara Duncan

“We saw potential in offering opportunities to other talented individuals outside France,” Hervé Dupont, CEO of Fortiche

The Spanish animation and VFX sector is thriving. On its way to becoming a consolidated global leader, Spain is increasingly attracting top international companies that come to invest in local talent and resources.

Both animation and VFX are growing at a spectacular rate, driven by extraordinary tax incentives. Arguably no other destination in Europe is transforming as rapidly into an international hub as Spain.

Over the last six years, this animation boom has seen a number of international companies set up shop in the country. Examples include Skydance Animation, Fortiche, Mondo TV Studio, Atlantis Animation (previously In Efecto Atlantis), and B-Water Animation Studios.

More recent business developments have opened the door to the Spanish animation sector for new groups from both the international animation sphere – such as Los Angeles-based distributor Viva Kids, which has bought a stake in Tenerife-based studio 3Doubles – and the Spanish audiovisual sector – such as the media group Squirrel Media, which has acquired a 74% stake in Mondo TV Studio, also based in Tenerife.

SkyDance lands in Madrid via Ilion

SkyDance Media, one of Hollywood’s most prominent companies – founded in 2010 by David Ellison with the idea of building a diversified global media group – acquired in 2020 Ilion, the Madrid-based production company of Planet 51, with whom it had been associated in Spain since 2017.
SkyDance Animation Madrid has become the second pillar of an animation division that employs around 500 professionals between Los Angeles and Madrid. The group’s alliance with Apple TV has already led to animation projects such as Peggy Holmes’ Luck and Vicky Jenson’s Spellbound.

Quality of life and tax incentives

In October 2020, the French company Fortiche set up operations in Las Palmas to follow one of its talents, Remy Terreaux, an animation supervisor, in his personal life project.
“We saw potential in offering job opportunities to other talented individuals outside France, while maintaining our in-house know-how,” explained Hervé Dupont, CEO of Fortiche Production, which also has studios in Paris and Montpellier.  
“The appeal of the Canary Islands, its quality of life, and the economic support facilities offered by both the Society for the Economic Promotion of Gran Canaria (SPEGC) and the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC) to help develop the sector were decisive in our choice of location,” he said.
The Fortiche team in Las Palmas is working on the animation of season 2 of Arcane, the hit action-adventure series based on the online game League of Legends and distributed by Netflix.

The creative spark of Spanish talent

Based in Tenerife since 2019, Atlantis Animation is producing the Disney+ series Tara Duncan. The French company was initially attracted by the tax incentives made available to international producers, but also by the creative spark of local animation teams.
“I am Spanish and for a long time I have followed the evolution of the audiovisual industry in Spain. It seems to me that more interesting things are happening here than in the rest of Europe. Very strong companies are being launched. People have a real warrior mentality. We wanted to come because there is better chemistry now in the Spanish animation sector than in the rest of Europe,” explained Raúl Carbó, founder and CEO of Atlantis.

Mondo TV Studios joins Squirrel Media

Last April, Squirrel Media, one of the most active independent groups in the Spanish audiovisual sector, announced the merger of Mondo TV Studios into its structure, with the purchase of 74% of its shares.
Mondo TV Spain, a subsidiary of the Italian production and distribution company Mondo TV, was initially launched in 2008 in Madrid to distribute animation content from its parent company. In 2016, in line with its expansion plan, the group set up Mondo TV Studios in Tenerife, attracted by the island’s tax incentives.
“The acquisition of Mondo TV Studios, with its animation studio and catalog, is profoundly valuable to our growth strategy, as it means adding one of the largest European producers and distributors of animation content to the group,” said Pablo Pereiro Lage, president of Squirrel Media.


Viva Kids enters 3Doubles

Continuing the business frenzy around the Spanish animation and VFX industry, this June US distributor Viva Kids announced the acquisition of a stake in 2D/3D animation studio 3Doubles Producciones.
Founded by Darío Sánchez in 2017, the studio currently employs more than one hundred professionals at its offices in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. For now, Viva has acquired a minority stake in the company, but has an option to reach a majority stake after two years.
The international co-production SuperKlaus, an international presales hit through Filmax, and Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow, directed by Julio Soto Gurpide, are among its most outstanding titles.
Viva Kids thus increases its production capacity, while giving 3Doubles access to a broader customer base.
“This agreement represents an important boost for our company and will allow us to strengthen our technological capabilities and continue developing high-quality projects,” said Darío Sánchez.


Related news