Guillermo del Toro has always been a fan-favorite at Annecy and based on his Tuesday night standing-room-only masterclass, it’s easy to see why.
Del Toro hit all the right notes in front of an eager crowd. He repeated a few popular sentiments that came up time and again during the press and awards campaigns for his Oscar-winning animated feature Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, but there were some new additions to his set list too.
The big highlight of the talk was his admission that, apart from “a couple more live-action movies,” he only wants to do animation. “That’s the plan,” he explained.
Del Toro is currently working on a live-action Frankenstein film for Netflix but is also developing a stop-motion adaptation of the Nobel Prize-winning novel The Buried Giant.
Stop-motion animation was del Toro’s first love as a filmmaker. He recalled making films with his father’s Super 8 camera when he was just 8 years old. Addressing the stop-motion filmmakers in the room specifically, he proudly exclaimed, “We are the weird motherfuckers in this room. Your family thinks you’re useless and that’s good.”
“Stop-motion in my opinion is the most beautiful form of animation because it’s the most intimate. There is always a strong connection between the animator and the physical model,” he went on. “It’s the closest thing to playing with your toys.”
About the future of animation filmmaking, del Toro said that the recent string of box office hits such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and The Super Mario Bros. Movie and the upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem might motivate studio executives to dedicate more resources to animated projects and to take a more hands-off approach with filmmakers.
“The three hits of Spider-Verse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mario are moving things, allowing a little more latitude, but there are still big fights to be had,” he said, before claiming that the art form has been kidnapped by “a bunch of hoodlums” and needs to be rescued.
“I think that we can Trojan-horse a lot of good shit into the animation world,” he went on, decrying the obvious and emoji-style behavior of many characters in modern studio animated films.
“My dad was boring. I was boring. Everybody in my family was boring. We had no one-liners. We’re all fucked up. That’s what I want to see animated,” he said. “I would love to see real life in animation. I actually think it’s urgent to see real life in animation.”
Pictured at top: Masterclass “Guillermo del Toro: On Animation” – Credit: Annecy Festival