During a masterclass last weekend at the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG), Mexican Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro announced plans for the creation of a one-of-a-kind international animation center in Guadalajara that would focus on stop-motion.

Guadalajara is already a major production center for stop-motion animation in Mexico, and del Toro’s investment in the city will further grow its reputation for the art form. It has previously been announced that del Toro will produce a stop-motion feature in that city, to be directed by Karla Castañeda.

According to reports by a leading Mexican newspaper El Universal, the center will be known officially as Centro de Animación Industrial (Center of Industrial Animation), but will colloquially go by Taller del Chucho (The Dog’s Workshop). Del Toro’s new initiative aims to push forward the already burgeoning animation industry in his native Mexico and serve as a launching pad for young talents pursuing a career in the tactile technique of stop-motion.

Joining del Toro for the conversation at the festival was Melissa Cobb, Netflix vice president, kids & family, which doesn’t come as a surprise given that the director previously served as executive producer of the Trollhunters cg animated series for the streaming company and is now working with them on his first stop-motion animated feature, Pinocchio, which has been a passion project of his for many years.

Del Toro encouraged the mostly young attendees to “make maquettes, skeletons, help with cleaning, or whatever else needed” in order to get into the upcoming center. He noted the importance of starting from the ground up and taking advantage of every opportunity no matter how insignificant it may seem.

“There is no better road than the immediate one. Working your way up is really important. If you are going to be a filmmaker understand all the elements going into making a film. No moment of being a PA or note-taking or picking up after an animator, none of that is wasted. It’s all super-valuable growth,” he said according to Variety’s piece on the announcement.

The eclectic filmmaker also explained that the Center of Industrial Animation will also invite prominent international production houses and industry figures to share insight and provide training for emerging Mexican talents.

No details about how to apply for the center or how people will be selected have been revealed as of yet.

At FICG, del Toro made good on his promise to support Mexican filmmaking talent via the Jenkins-Del Toro Scholarship, by revealing the names of the first two young recipients of the funds that will allow them to get an education at a leading film school.

Image at top: A stop-motion parody of Guillermo del Toro created for Lexus’ L/Studio.

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