Spain Amps Up Animation With ‘Mummies,’ ‘Arcane’
Spain’s animation services and VFX industry is booming as never before, positioning itself as a leading hub in the global landscape.
With tax rebates firing up Spain’s audiovisual industry, the animation sector has produced 16 feature films, 72 seasons of TV series and 156 short films from 2020-2022, according to toon and VFX federation Diboos.
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The 2019 Sergio Pablos-directed Netflix feature “Klaus” snagged seven Annie awards, while Alberto Mielgo’s “The Windshield Wiper” won the 2022 Oscar for animated short film.
Spanish animated features have also connected with international audiences: This year, Juan Jesús García Galocha’s “Mummies,” from 4Cats and Atresmedia Cine, grossed $52 million worldwide, handled by Warner Bros.
Another strategy for international success consists in luring the interest of powerful foreign players to invest in local talent and resources.
Most prominently, Skydance Animation has landed in Madrid, while France’s Fortiche and In Efecto have launched operations in the Canary Islands. Fortiche came to Las Palmas in October 2020, with Remy Terreaux serving as animation supervisor.
“We saw the potential to offer job opportunities to other talent outside of France, while maintaining our in-house know- how,” says Hervé Dupont, general director at Fortiche Prods.
Fortiche’s team in Las Palmas is currently animating Season 2 of “Arcane,” the Netflix-distributed action-adventure series based on online game “League of Legends.”
“Spain has great potential in animation, both in terms of talent and in support of our industrial craftsmanship. It is very dynamic and is mobilizing for development of the sector,” Dupont explains.
Based in Tenerife since 2019, In Efecto is undertaking the production of Disney’s TV series “Tara Duncan.” It was attracted by Spain’s tax incentives but also by the creative spark of local crews.
Meanwhile, Skydance launched SkyDance Animation Madrid in 2020 after acquiring Ilion, the studio behind 2009 toon feature “Planet 51.”
With a maximum deduction of $22 million by project, Spain’s general tax regime offers a 25%- 30% tax incentive, higher in the Canary Islands (45%-50%), Navarre (40%) and the Basque Country (30% in Guipúzcoa and Alava and up to 70% in Bizkaia).
“The incentives are contributing to the development of a solid offer of animation and VFX services,” says Darío Sánchez at Tenerife-based 3Doubles, producer of Spain-Canada adventure- comedy “SuperKlaus” (formerly known as “4 Days Before Christmas”), pre-sold nearly worldwide by Pink Parrot.
“That’s the first point through which they come into contact with us,” Sánchez says, noting the high quality of production.
“Both points are consolidating our industry and complement each other perfectly,” adds Sánchez, whose studio is working on Sydney and L.A.-based Flying Bark’s project “200% Wolf.”
Animation and VFX represent 20% of Spain’s audiovisual industry jobs, with an annual turnover of €900 million ($990 million) in 2021.
Spain has also generated a large ecosystem of companies that export technology for animation and VFX productions. They include Solid Angle, whose rendering tool Arnold was used in “Iron Man 3” and “Gravity,” and Next Limit, creator of Real- Flow software (“The Lord of the Rings.”), both sci-tech Oscar winners. Madrid-based El Ranchito, known for its visual effects work on fantasy blockbusters such as “The Mandalorian,” “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things,” was acquired last year by leading VFX house Fuse Group.
However, some challenges remain. The sector is under- capitalized. Also, there’s a lack of available workforce specialized in animation and CGI technicians. This partially finds an answer in the 3,500 newly trained professionals that Spanish schools yearly bring onto the market.
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