Consolidation is the name of the game for the animation and vfx industries in Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. Local studios are increasingly betting on bigger projects, luring international investors, and spreading the island’s influence across the global animation scene.
Several standout players have set up shop in Tenerife over the last seven years, attracted by the Canary Islands’ record tax advantages. Included among them are companies such as Atlantis Animation, Mondo TV Studios, 3Doubles Producciones, B Water Studios, and Tomavision. The region boasts successful initiatives committed to the development of a progressively solid animation hub, whose international impact is greater than ever.
Like the rest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife offers an extraordinary 45-50% tax incentive, one of Europe’s lowest corporate income tax rates of 4%, and no VAT.
In 2015, Tenerife was home to only two animation/vfx studios. Today, the sector has expanded significantly, boasting double-digit studios with more than 700 professionals at the heart of a flourishing talent ecosystem.
Consolidation coincides with the arrival of powerful investors from abroad. In recent months, Los Angeles-based Viva Kids and Germany’s Studio 100 Media have taken minority stakes in 3Doubles in a three-way production and distribution alliance.
The move represents a significant boost for the local animation industry. “It will allow us to continue growing and carrying out projects of greater quality and international projection,” says 3Doubles CEO Darío Sánchez.
Feature film projects, such as Gonzalo Gutiérrez’s The Giants of La Mancha, underline 3Doubles’ increasingly ambitious outlook. It is co-produced by Argentina’s GG Films with Studio 100 Media, SIA, and Mark13 in Germany, with 3Doubles providing rigging, layout, and animation.
In Tenerife, animation companies have traditionally been service studios. With their growing consolidation, “The pending issue for the sector is IP ownership, which can make it grow exponentially,” says Sánchez.
3Doubles aims to co-produce one animated feature film per year. On the horizon is Rodrigo Carvalho’s Viana the Legend of the Golden Hearts, a co-production project with Portugal’s Watermelon.
Another driving force behind the Tenerife toon scene development is Atlantis Animation, the studio behind Disney’s series Tara Duncan.
Representing a new leap in the Islands’ reach into the international sphere, Atlantis has been selected as the lead creative studio driving graphic development and art treatment on the series project Messi and the Giants, inspired by the Argentinian soccer superstar. The studio is joining forces with Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Pictures TV Kids, and Leo Messi Management.
“Messi is a big reference, a world brand, which means that it will give a lot of visibility to the animation of the island,” says Atlantis Animation co-founder Raúl Carbó.
“We define ourselves as an animation boutique. Messi and the Giants is a step forward in terms of quality, project importance, and also creativity,” Carbó explains.
Another studio that’s all in on Tenerife’s animation sector is Mondo TV Studios, which has been integrated into the structure of Squirrel Media, a top Spanish media-tech group, after inking a deal with Italian TV giant Mondo TV.
Under seasoned CEO Maria Bonaria Fois, Mondo TV Studios, also a content producer and distributor, operates in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Latin America, and the U.S., serving the Hispanic market.
“Over the last seven years, we have lived and witnessed enormous growth in terms of production capacities. Of course, our operations center is Tenerife, but our outlook is international,” Bonaira says.
Mondo TV Studios handled storyboard designs for the cg series Agent 203, and is currently in charge of the show’s distribution in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and U.S. Hispanic. Agent 203, commissioned by Super RTL in Germany, where it premiered this fall, is coproduced by Toon2Tango, Mondo TV and Cosmos Maya Animation. It has been acquired by RAI Kids in Italy, Minimax in Central and East Europe, and ITVX Kids in the U.K., among others.
Further animation services by Mondo include Letrabots, a 2d action series, and cg series Lola on Board, currently in production.
Mondo TV Studios’ also distributes the comedy series Monster Loving Maniacs, coproduced by Ja Film, Mondo TV, Belvision and Ginger Pictures, which was commissioned by SUPER RTL and DR. Global distribution is managed by Toon2Tango and Mondo TV. Aimed at 6-10-year-olds, the program world premiered in October 2022 on the U.K.’s CBBC.
Mondo TV Studios has also agreed with Spanish-language streaming service Canela Media to launch Agent 203 and Monster Loving Maniacs in the U.S. and Latin America.
Animation produced on the island is earning international market recognition. Further proof of this can be seen with the cg family adventure film SuperKlaus, a 3Doubles co-production with Spain’s Capitán Araña and Canada’s PVP Media, which has already been pre-sold to more than 40 countries by Pink Parrot.
“Tax incentives attracted the establishment of companies and promoted both job creation and talent importation,” says Mercedes Marro, founder of Tomavision. The Tenerife and Barcelona-based studio is involved in international productions such as Warner Bros. Animation’s Christmas special Merry Little Batman, released by Amazon Prime Video in December; season two of Alma’s Way, broadcast by U.S. public TV channel PBS Kids; and the Furrytales saga, produced by Norway’s Storm Films.
Battle Island and Gala Film are working with B Water Studios on the young adults series Ghosts of Ruin, giving the companies access to the region’s impressive tax rebates. So too is Peru’s Tunche Films, producers of the upcoming animated feature Kayara.
“Both projects demonstrate the high quality achieved by the animation industry in Tenerife,” explains Dirk Hampel, B Water CEO. “Demanding international clients chose to work in Tenerife over North America, Europe, and Asia.”
In keeping with its profile for the natural development of animation and the vfx landscape, Tenerife is also home to players such as advertising and tv branding company La Crème Films, whose clients include Germany’s ZDFNeo and Discovery’s Dmax; Glaboo Studios, a marketing agency that recently launched a studios division to create audiovisual content with an impactful intent; plus consulting companies such as Atlantic Zone and Pipelinepro.
Tenerife is also home to the Iberoamerican animation Quirino Awards, the 7th edition of which will take place in May in San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
“International producers must know that there is talent in Tenerife along with the financial incentives. In the mid-term, it has to become a quality hub that works as the engine room of European animation,” Carbó concludes.
Pictured at top: Messi and the Giants