Weird Market, formerly 3D Wire, is Spain’s leading animation pitching and networking event and celebrated its fifteenth anniversary over the past weekend in Valencia.
We were there and caught all five of this year’s pitching sessions. Below, we’ve spotlighted 12 that stood out from this year’s crop.
Director: Alberto Vázquez
Producers: Uniko, Abano Producións, The Glow Animation Studio, Sardinha em Lata
Leading Spanish filmmaker Alberto Vázquez wrote and directed the films Birdboy: The Forgotten Children and Unicorn Wars, as well as the short films Birdboy, Unicorn Blood, Homeless Home, and Decorado. Both of his previous features were based on shorts, which were based on comics, and Vázquez is replicating that cycle with his latest project, Decorado, a 2d-animated comedy about a mouse experiencing dueling existential and relationship crises.
El Cuerpo de Cristo (The Body of Christ)
Director: Bea Lema
Producers: Uniko, Abano Producións
Adapted from a comic of the same name, this 2d short tells the story of Adela, who suffers from a psychiatric crisis stemming from historical abuse that she doesn’t recognize as such. Instead, she believes demons are the root cause of her problems and looks to religion to remedy them. The filmmakers cited the SXSW audience award-winning Colombian short Virus Tropical as a key influence on her film.
Director: Daniela Cuenca
One of the few documentary projects at this year’s Weird, Cuidadoras tells the stories of Latin American immigrants who move to Spain and work as caregivers to older adults. Thousands of these workers exist in Spain, and they’ve created an intricate network that allows them to help others in similar situations. Cuidadoras features 2d animation often superimposed over real photos of the homes and neighborhoods where the caregivers work. The creators said that shorts such as Love, Dad and Carne significantly influenced their film.
Directors: Adrián Andújar, José Antonio Vaca
Producer: José Antonio Vaca
The word dibus is a playful way to refer to drawings, often applied to children’s artwork. It’s an appropriate title for this series, which is produced half in cg and half in 2d crayon drawings and is aimed at a preschool audience. In the show, the real world of its protagonist, Niko, is featured in crisp cg animation, but when the boy begins to draw, he crosses over into a 2d, hand-drawn world where anything is possible. The show is being produced out of the emerging Spanish animation hub of the Canary Islands.
Director: Valle Comba
Producer: Zampanò Producciones
Aimed at a teenage audience, Anaglifo is a thoughtful rumination on mental health and depression. The short’s protagonist, Violeta, often struggles to make it through some days, while others are a breeze. The film is illustrated in blue and red, like a pair of old-fashioned 3d glasses, to demonstrate how Violeta sees the world in extremes.
La Verdad te Rechaza, Cornelius (Cornelius)
Director: Marc Torices, Khris Cembe
Producer: Hampa Studio
Cornelius presenters wisely used their time on stage to pitch two projects from the same IP, a new comic and an animated short. Mixing 2d and stop-motion animation, the short film is an often-absurd story about Cornelius the dog, who struggles to tell his psychologist the truth about his relationship with the frog Avalutsa.
La Abuela Pirata (The Granny Pirate)
Director: Alex Cervantes, Anthony Christov
Producer: Hampa Studio
One of the more commercially viable-looking pitches at Weird this year was Hampa Studio’s The Granny Pirate, a family-friendly adventure featuring fun, cartoony characters and lush fantasy backgrounds. In the film, a brother and sister discover their grandmother is a legendary pirate, kicking off an epic G-rated adventure. Bright and colorful, the pitch gave off the impression that if The Granny Pirate is successful, it could launch a franchise similar to Spain’s Tadeo Jones, which has grossed well over $100 million from three features.
Director: José Garnelo
Producer: José Garnelo
A years-long passion project of Garnelo, this 2d fantasy series is aimed at YA audiences but won’t shy away from touching on adult themes and situations. It turns on a group of three friends living in a small town who visit the nearby Sky Plaza, a colossal building in which each floor is its own world. Storytelling possibilities are nearly limitless, given the nature of the series’ setting.
Sábado Sabadete (Saturday Sabadete)
Director: Alex Rey
Producer: Mirachechu Productions
Saturday Sabadete was probably the most Spanish project pitched at the Spanish event. Borrowing heavily from Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, the modern-day series turns on an anthropomorphic animal leading character from a 1980s family sitcom looking to recapture stardom. That is, more or less, where the similarities end, though, as Saturday Sabadete is loaded with Spanish pop culture references and co-stars a brain in a jar that is definitely not – wink, wink – former dictator Francisco Franco. Creator, writer, director, and animator Alex Rey has already produced a complete 25-minute pilot and is looking for partners to finish a 10-episode season.
Chuminadas Animadas: “Con rieles y a lo loco” (Funnie Fantasies: “Some Like it Choo-Choo”)
Director: Pablo Río
Producer: Pablo Río
Weird Market’s final pitch this year was unquestionably its most energetic. Dressed to the nines, the film’s creative team took the stage with an unmatched volume and enthusiasm over the weekend to extol the virtues of their throwback animated short Funnie Fantasies: “Some Like it Choo-Choo. Featuring plenty of rubber hose animation, zany action sequences, and archetypical cartoon characters, the all-ages short features a group of animal musicians who get a gig on a train that turns out to be far more treacherous than they had any reason to suspect. A brief animatic was shared during the pitch that had the audience in stitches.
Hay Algún Muerto en la Sala (Is There a Corpse in the House)
Director: Miguel Medrano Malo, Lucía Sampedro
Producer: Miguel Medrano Malo
A bored priest in a tiny Spanish village wants to host a funeral. Unfortunately for him, nobody has died in the pueblo for 100 years. Is There a Corpse in the House features 2d painterly characters whose facial features are sketched on with thick black lines, superimposed over photographs of real Spanish villages. Pitched as a transmedia project, it’s being developed for distribution on social media platforms.
Director: Luis Usón Pérez
Producer: Luis Usón Pérez
Set in a family theme park called Pinkooland – think of it as a colossal Disneyland dropped in the middle of a dystopian wasteland – this adults-only feature is a violent horror story about two kids from the slums who get trapped in what should be the happiest place on the planet. Instead, the iconic animatronic pink bears that roam the park turn evil and begin slaughtering anything that moves. Usón shared an in-progress clip of the dark comedy thriller that had everyone in the room holding their breath and laughing out loud in equal parts.