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Brazilian Animation Turned 100 Years Old Today

The first-ever Brazilian animated film, O Kaiser, was exhibited in a Rio de Janeiro theater on this day, January 22, in 1917.

O Kaiser was made by Brazilian cartoonist Álvaro Marins, who used the pen name Seth. His film, a political satire, highlighted the empire building-ambitions of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. The film is lost today; just one image from the film, printed in a newspaper, exists:

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A couple years ago, a group of contemporary Brazilian animators made a film in tribute to Marin’s accomplishment:

If you speak Portuguese, you can read a short overview of Brazilian animation here, posted by the organizers of Brazil’s Anima Mundi festival.

A hundred years later, Brazilian animation artists have a bigger presence in the animation world than at any time in the past. At last year’s Academy Awards, a Brazilian film was nominated in the feature animation category for the first time: Alê Abreu’s Boy and the World. Other Brazilian filmmakers, such as Luiz Bolognesi and Rosana Urbes, have also made a significant impact on the festival circuit, while the country’s commercial animation scene is robust and growing.

Here in the United States too, Brazilian artists play important roles throughout the industry. To name just a few examples, Carlos Saldanha directed Blue Sky’s Rio series and multiple films in the Ice Age franchise; Renato dos Anjos was the animation supervisor of Zootopia; Leo Matsuda directed Disney’s Oscar-contending short Inner Workings; and Ennio Torresan is head of story on Dreamworks’ next film The Boss Baby.