When you think of countries that are known for their animation, Brazil is probably not among the first that comes to mind. However, the country has nearly a century-long history of producing animation, and while historically most of the animation they’ve made hasn’t been seen outside of its borders, there have been notable contributions to the art form throughout the country’s history. With the animation industry growing quickly in Brazil—they are ranked #7 for countries that visit Cartoon Brew most often—it is a great time to explore the country’s animation legacy.
A new documentary called Between Frames: The Art of Brazilian Animation (Portuguese language trailer above) is scheduled to make its North American debut at the Palm Beach International Film Festival this Sunday, April 6th. Directed by Eduardo Calvet and produced by Canal Brasil, the doc establishes the 1917 release of cartoonist Álvaro Marins’ short film The Kaiser as the birth of Brazilian animation and follows the progress of Brazilian animation in film, television, and advertising up through the modern era. The documentary has been screened in several Brazilian film festivals, under its original title Luz, Anima, Ação, and earned recognition for best picture and best director at the 7th Festival de Cinema Curta Cabo Frio.
Alongside interviews with Brazilian animation talent from across the diaspora like Blue Sky director Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age 2), Between Frames will feature the result of a special animation project honoring Marins’ pioneering short, which is now lost. Eight animators have each recreated a scene from The Kaiser using their own personal styles. The homage is showcased in the trailer below (in Portuguese) and features animation artists Fábio Yamaji, Rosana Urbes (The Little Match Girl, Lilo & Stitch, Mulan) and Marcos Magalhães, whose film Doctor, My Son is an Animator was featured on Cartoon Brew last week.