The eyes of the animation world shifted to Colombia this week, but not for a reason that local artists will be bragging about. That’s a shame because Colombia’s animation scene has been experiencing an incredible artistic and commercial boom over the last few years and deserves to be lauded.
With that in mind, we’ve spotlighted some of our favorite recent studios, artwork, and artists from the past few years, and highlighted a few projects we’re keeping an eye on.
Santiago Caicedo’s black-and-white 2017 feature Virus Tropical had an incredible festival run, which included competition screenings at Annecy, Berlin, Cartagena, and SXSW. Based on the graphic novel of the same name and produced by Timbo Estudio, the feature also received an incredible six Colombian Academy Macondo nominations and two wins. The touching film turns on Paola, a young Latin American woman born into a traditional family who fights for her independence in a difficult situation.
Diego Felipe Guzman’s dialogue-free futuristic feature The Other Shape had an impressive festival run of its own in 2022, including a screening in Annecy’s Contrechamp competition and a best animated feature award win at Sitges. The sci-fi feature unspools in an artificially-manufactured paradise on the moon’s surface, where only those who conform are allowed access. The film’s animation was produced by Hierro Animación and Dinamita Animación in Bogota.
Last year, we interviewed directors directors Angélica Restrepo and Carlos Velandia about their Oscar-shortlisted animated short All My Scars Vanish in the Wind. The film takes viewers on a journey through the imperfect world of memory as its protagonist revisits painful moments from her childhood in rural Colombia. The short screened in competition at numerous international festivals, including Annecy, Fantoche, and Encounters, winning best animated short at the latter.
Mexico’s Pixelatl is one of Latin America’s premier animation get-togethers, and each year, the festival commissions a trailer from a local studio. Last year, however, Silvia Prietov’s Bogota-based Lucy Animation Studio became the first non-Mexican company honored with that commission. The standout studio has done work for Marvel, Cartoon Network, Fox’s Bento Box, Sony, and other global companies. Lucy is currently working on a trippy animated short titled Mitomorfosis.
Juan M. Urbina’s Venturia Animation Studios, has been doing incredible work for several years. We were blown away by the studio’s contribution to the Disney-spoofing short Waldo’s Dream in 2018. A couple of years later, Venturia animated a music video for the Goo Goo Dolls holiday song “You Ain’t Getting Nothing,” and last year, the studio produced a Hanna-Barbera-inspired animated music video for Bebe Rexha and Snoop Dogg’s pot-themed single “Satellite.”
Bogota-based Caballo Loco Studios is an up-and-coming studio that has recently caught the eye of global players. In 2020, the studio won Cartoon Network and Pixelatl’s pitching program with the animated pilot Astropackers, which led to a full pilot being produced. The pilot was a hit at Spain’s Weird Market, where it won a pitching prize, which included participation at last November’s Animation! sidebar at Ventana Sur.
Another standout at the most recent edition of Ventana Sur was the short film project Entreverao (The Uncle’s Song) from Colombian Miguel Otálora, who has worked on Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites. The project, produced by Colombia’s Dinamita Animación, won the Weird Animation Award at Ventana Sur. Animated in 2d, the short is currently in development and unspools in an illegal mine where, after an explosion, a demon protects the underground workers. As is typically the case with fiends from hell, the protection doesn’t come without a cost.
Pictured at top: The Other Shape, Astropackers, Mitomorfosis, Virus Tropical