Birds of a feather flock together. For Hype Animation, Red Animation Studios, and Punkrobot, three like-minded animation studios from Latin America, the benefits of collaboration have been apparent for some years. But the production of Angry Birds Bubble Trouble, a new series based on the infinitely malleable video game IP, enabled them to formalize their ties in an unusual way.
Los Amigos is a new joint venture which sees the three studios integrate their production pipelines and work as one entity, albeit with staff remaining distributed across their respective countries. It bills itself as “the largest collective animation studio in Latin America.”
Each studio has individually produced distinguished work. Brazil’s Hype worked on Disney Channel’s Dino Adventures and recently won a Quirino Award for its series Tainá and the Amazon’s Guardians. Red, which is based in Peru and Brazil, co-produced the globally distributed A Mouse Tale and Emmy-nominated series Siesta 7. Chile’s Punkrobot focuses on kids’ series, but won an Oscar with its 2014 short Bear Story; it is a co-producer on the forthcoming feature Nahuel and the Magic Book.
As Los Amigos, the studios boost their capacity and complement each other’s skillsets, and this enables them to work on a wider range of projects. They trialed this arrangement on the preschool show Guitar & Drum before officially setting up Los Amigos ahead of Angry Birds Bubble Trouble, which they produced for Rovio Entertainment. The cg series, on which they were responsible for all creative elements, can be watched on the official Angry Birds Youtube channel.
To better understand why the partnership was formed and how it works in practice, we put a few questions to Gabriel García (Hype), Milton Guerrero (Red), and Pato Escala (Punkrobot), executive producers of Angry Birds Bubble Trouble and representatives of Los Amigos. Here’s what they told us…
Cartoon Brew: When did the Los Amigos partnership begin? What sparked the idea?
Los Amigos: We’ve been friends for a very long time and even collaborated in the past, but in 2018 the three studios worked together on the production of the preschool show Guitar & Drum and realized the great synergy we have. This first experience helped us to align our pipelines and create a communication channel between the teams.
At the end of the project, the results were so satisfactory that it was a natural step to formalize this alliance. We decided that what represents us best, besides our love for animation, is our friendship. That’s how Los Amigos was born. Angry Birds was our first official production under the brand.
Why do your three studios in particular make for a good partnership — what does each bring that the others don’t have?
We’re very proud of our Latin American roots. The three studios have more than ten years’ experience not only in creating animated content and providing services, but also in helping to build an industry in our countries. When you share a vision, it’s easy to build a good partnership.
Each studio brought its unique spice to this alliance: experience on animation services, or focus on the production of series or feature films filled with different perspectives. But we feel that what we really bring, when together, is a new flavor to animation.
The great advantage of the Los Amigos group is that we were very transparent with each other. We shared information and processes between the three studios, and made an analysis of how each one worked, thus adopting the best practices in each sector. In this way, we managed to evolve a lot in terms of processes and practices in these two years.
We also realized that, as a group, we can produce a higher volume of animation, allowing us to look for larger projects with large studios (as was the case with Rovio).
Even when offering animation production services, we believe that creativity is a differential that can increase a project in several ways. And although our three studios are all in Latin America, each country brings its own culture and vision of the world, and this diversity of thoughts makes the group more creative than the separate studios.
How was the production of Angry Birds Bubble Trouble divided?
First, we thought it would be more efficient to divide the episodes between the studios, but that would not generate a connection between the teams — it would only be three studios working in their own ways. With that in mind, we mapped out which sectors were strongest in each studio, and decided that all the studios would be part of all the episodes (each one doing only a part of the pipeline). Just like a big animation studio with three headquarters in different locations.
This experience made the three teams exchange a lot of information on a daily basis, connecting the group even more. It meant we were more creative in solving problems. The work was divided among the studios as shown in the image below:
What are Los Amigos’ ambitions for the future?
We’re very focused on the present: we’re providing quality animation services and contributing to the development of new projects without losing our goal to generate as much original content as we can. Our biggest ambition is to have the chance to keep telling stories, our stories, from Latin America to the world.