Animator and filmmaker Jorge Gutiérrez has signed an overall deal with Netflix, building on their existing partnership over the fantasy series Maya and the Three (which will premiere in 2021). In separate news, the streamer has unveiled the first slate of series from Chris Nee, as part of its overall deal with the writer and producer.
Here are the details:
- Gutiérrez and his production company Mexopolis will produce original content for the streamer. He will write, direct, and produce new animated films, series, and interactive projects across preschool, kids & family, and adult animation.
- A Calarts graduate, Gutiérrez is best known for The Book of Life, a feature he directed and co-wrote for Fox. Co-produced by Guillermo del Toro, the film earned a Golden Globe nomination for best animated feature film. Like most of Gutiérrez’s works, it is strongly rooted in Mexican culture and society.
- With his wife Sandra Equihua, Gutiérrez created the Nickelodeon series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, which took home multiple Annies and Emmys. He also directed the vr short Son of Jaguar for Google Spotlight Stories, and later spoke candidly to Cartoon Brew about the challenges of the project.
- In a statement on his new deal with Netflix, Gutiérrez said:
Dang! I could not be more thankful to extend my creative love affair with my beloved Netflix! Melissa Cobb and the entire Netflix Animation team match my endless passion for diversity and inclusion in front and behind the camera. After all the kindness that has been shown to me, I look forward to mentoring and empowering diverse storytellers from not only North America, but also Central and South America. My mustached heart has a six pack and I can’t wait to create new stories and bold new worlds. What a time to be alive!
- Nee is best known as the creator of the Disney Junior series Doc McStuffins, which won a Peabody Award and plaudits for featuring an African American protagonist. She is also the creator of the upcoming series Ada Twist, Scientist, which is produced for Netflix by the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground. She won an Emmy as part of the team on Nick Jr.’s Little Bill.
- The first three animated series resulting from Nee’s deal with Netflix have been unveiled. The first, Ridley Jones, is an action-adventure series created by Nee herself, about a six-year-old girl who guards a museum full of exhibits that come to life at night. Said Nee: “I really wanted to do a series where a girl was the action-adventure star I always wanted to see (or be) when I was growing up.”
- The second series, Spirit Rangers, is created by Chumash tribal member Karissa Valencia. The fantasy-adventure show follows three Native American siblings who are able to transform into their own animal spirit to help protect their National Park. “Spirit Rangers is native led with a team of native writers, native artists, native actors, and native composers,” commented Valencia. “As a Native Storyteller, I’ve rarely come across the opportunity to tell my own story.”
- The third series, Dino Daycare, is created by Jeff King. It’s set in a world where dinosaurs still live, and a young human boy is charged with looking after baby dinos at a daycare. “We want to show that boys can be vulnerable,” said King, “and show feelings, and that strength isn’t just a physical marker.”
- Unveiling her new shows, Nee said:
I am so excited to finally get to talk about the work I’m doing at Netflix. As a writer and creator, I have so many stories I want to tell. I could easily fill my slate with my own voice. But one of the reasons I chose Netflix is that they afford me the opportunity to not only tell my stories but shine a spotlight on other talented creators and help them tell theirs.
I know what it’s like to grow up not seeing myself represented in the shows I loved. I know that it matters not only who is on screen, but who is behind it. The mix of shows announced today perfectly represents what matters to me. I want to reach the next generation of kids, yes, but I also want to embolden and teach the next generation of diverse and underrepresented creators. At [Nee’s production company] Laughing Wild I’m able to build a company that reflects my values, and work at every turn to change the “who and how” of making content for kids.