Girl Power: Pitch Me the Future is the latest pitching event organized by Pixelatl and Cartoon Network Latin America, following 2016’s Pitch Me Anything and and 2017’s Pitch Me Evolution.
Of 289 original series submissions from women creators all over Latin America, 10 finalists were selected to present their pitches this week to a jury of Cartoon Network executives in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
One of the finalists is Florencia “Ootoro” Torres, whose submission is Garrido Legacy, a series for 7-to-11-year-olds. The show follows protagonist Andy, an 11-year-old girl who lives with her abuelita in Los Angelitos, a small fictional town whose population reflects the diversity of the real Los Angeles. When shadowy interdimensional creatures start to plague her friends and neighbors, Andy discovers she has the ability to see them and help them return home.
Torres is an animation supervisor at Guadalajara studio Mighty Animation and has worked on Viking Tales, Ivanobich Verduzco’s 2016 Ideatoon winner. She says she had initially planned to submit a project to Ideatoon, but opted for the Girl Power contest instead.
“The Girl Power thing called me more [than Ideatoon] because I really want to be around women creators,” she explains to Cartoon Brew. “I know girls in Mexico who draw and make comics, but in the animation industry, I don’t remember a big name. I [would] like to hear about a girl making a big series, a big show on Disney or on Cartoon Network. I want to feel like it’s awesome to be a girl and be a girl creator.”
The grand prize for winning the contest is up to $10,000 USD toward producing a pilot, but it seems that Torres is just as invested in the success of the competition altogether as the success of her own series. She sees the pitching process as an opportunity to network with other women creators and connect with potential collaborators.
“Even if I don’t win, I would like to help the winner make their pitch come true,” she says. “Even if she can’t pay me that much to work on animating her show, I really want that pilot to develop to the end, and turn out great, so we can have more contests like this one. We need to help each other, because some girls are more shy than boys. And sometimes they don’t [use] a loud voice to make [their] stories heard.”
Among the other pitches, Torres says she particularly admired Lisa Estufas, a series being pitched by sister duo Daniela and Mariana Delgado from Mexico City. Torres was amused and excited to see a finalist that differs so greatly in style from the other projects, at least eight of which feature primarily 2d animation. Lisa Estufas is a mixed-media concept that follows the adventures of Lisa Estufas, a banana living in Mexico City. Only Lisa’s mouth will be animated, while everything else will be live action and puppetry.
Like Torres, Daniela was excited to learn of a contest specifically for women, and knew Girl Power and Cartoon Network would be a perfect fit for her and her sister’s idea, which was originally conceived in 2016 as a homework assignment while Daniela was a student at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. One of the Delgados’ goals is to reverse perceptions of Mexico as being a dangerous and scary place, but another is to use Lisa the banana as a humorous and accessible metaphor for the treatment of women in society.
“Lisa is always at risk for the simple fact of being a banana, but she still wants to go out,” Daniela says. “It’s showing how a woman feels super vulnerable all the time and is afraid of everyone trying to eat her, how everyone thinks they have the right to take her, just because in fact she is a banana, or because you are a woman. Don’t hurt the banana, because it will turn black and that won’t heal.”
The winner of Girl Power: Pitch Me the Future was announced on Saturday evening at Pixelatl’s closing ceremony. It is El Bosque Olvidado (The Forgotten Forest) by Madelein Treviño from the Mexican state of Nuevo León.