From princesses addicted to smart magic to wolf dogs wary of fake legends, putting a new spin on old tales was the prevailing theme at Ventana Sur’s New Spanish Animation showcase on Monday.
A collaboration between Spanish animation festival Weird Market, Ventana Sur’s Animation! and Spanish film agency ICAA, the best-of-Spain online showcase included two series, three feature projects and a work-in-progress.
Standout projects included “Masked Cinderella” a 26-part series in the mold of “Teen Titans” which reimagines the fairy tale universe for a superhero savvy, smart device-loving six to 12- year-old audience.
Former Imira Entertainment founder, Myriam Ballesteros (“Lucky Fred”, “Lola & Virginia”) is directing the 22-minute episode series, a co-production between her company, MB Productions and the animation producer/distributor Mondo TV Iberoamérica.
This well-formed universe sees Cinderella takes the guise of a masked hero who saves Prince Charming from a falling giant glitterball.
“We felt that for today’s audience it’s much more gratifying to see a girl like Cinderella become a heroine instead of marrying a prince,” Ballesteros said during her VS clip.
Teen Cinderella’s friends include the key influencer The Little Mermaid and Rebel Girl Riding Hood who are addicted to their magic devices while their adversaries have their own set issues: There’s a vegan wolf who secretly eats meat and a wicked stepmother forced into family therapy.
The series, currently in pre-production, has an estimated budget of €6.5 million ($7.8 million) and is looking for broadcast and co-production partners.
Another feature that mines old stories for new ground is the La Fiesta-produced feature film “Sierra Dragon,” which features a Wolf Dog raised by lynxes who must wrestle with sinister forces on the Iberian Peninsula that want to pollute a community with fake legends in order to start a war.
Aimed at an older teen audience, its co-creators – the seasoned animator Pepe Sánchez Alonso and “Game of Thrones” VFX artist Javier Salvador – added that the 80-minute film was “about finding your identify and controlling your impulses”.
With scripts written and finessed by Gustavo Lievano the €5 million ($6 million) series features graphic novel style anthropomorphic characters rendered with software that allows animators to combine 2D images in a 3D environment, allowing for more elaborate camera movements.
“Hanna and the Monsters” – a 75-minute film from “The Platform” producers Angeles Hernandez and David Matamoros, also transposes 2D designs into a 3D environment.
This CGI animation sees the production duo’s Mr Miyagi Films expand its diverse production slate even further with this upper pre-school offering that also borrows from the fairytale world, when a happy and lively 4-year girl inadvertently strays into the realms of Monsterville.
Director Lorena Ares added that production is scheduled for “early 2021” and partners already include Television Española, the ICAA and ICEC as well as TV3.
From “Buñuel and the Labyrinth of Tortoises” producer Sygnatia and Hampa Studio meanwhile comes the 2D feature “Girl and Wolf,” which takes the story of being raised by wolves and inverts it, as an orphaned teen raised by uncaring humans is abandoned in a forest where she starts to feel strangely at home with a pack of wolves.
Based on a best-selling graphic novel by Roc Espinet (who will also direct), the 80-minute feature project is still in its early stages but sales agency Latido Films (which also represented “Buñuel”) is already attached.
Other projects in the showcase include Victor Martin’s “Villa Fábula,” produced through Invictus Designs Production and a 20-part series that creates its own fantasy world to instill values into pre-school children and features teeth demons and forest spirits.
Buzzy adult title “Unicorn Wars” meanwhile, a French and Spanish work-in-progress from director and graphic novelist Alberto Vazquez (“Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”) was handpicked for the showcase by Annecy and is also the only European offering to feature in Ventana Sur’s Animation! work in progress sidebar.
Combining both fantasy and war genres the highly anticipated 80-minute feature pits teddy bears against unicorns. Produced through UniKo and Abano Producions in Spain with Autour de Minuit and Schmuby Productions from France, the film’s sales agent is Charades.