The Rise of Chilean Animation

Over the past few years, the animation industry in Chile has flourished. The Chilean Association of Animation, Animachi, has grown substantially. In 2016, the Association was composed of 17 studios and 10 freelance animators; today, it counts with 25 studios and 11 freelance animators. Studying animation has also become more accessible and popular in Chile. Additionally, Chilean animation has gained unprecedented recognition and praise on an international scale.

In 2016, Historia de un Oso (Bear Story, screened at SLAFF’s Being Chilean Festival in 2016), an animated short film created by Chilean animation studio Punkrobot, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The win was historic: Historia de un Oso was the first Chilean film to win an Oscar and the first Latin American film to win the Animated Short Film category. Following the award, Erwin Gómez, the director of Chilemonos, an international animation festival held in Chile annually, declared: “for us [the Chilean animation industry] the future has finally begun. For so many years Chilean animation has struggled to grow and transform into an industry and today, thanks to this magical film, which defeated the giants, we are one step closer to our dreams”.

Cantar con Sentido (Sing with Meaning), a stop motion short film about the life of iconic Chilean musician Violeta Parra, was released in 2016, and will play as part of SLAFF’s 2018 event Cine Lounge Fundraiser: Tribute to Violeta Parra. The film was commissioned by the Museo Casa Natal de Violeta Parra and created by two Chilean animators, Cecilia Toro and Leo Beltrán. In April 2018, the film won the Quirino Award for the Best Ibero-American Animated Commissioned Film.

In 2017, Chilean freelance animator Fernanda Frick released Here’s the Plan, a short film about a cat and dog couple who dream of opening a bakery together. The film was screened at several international film festivals and recently won the Quirino Award for the Best Visual Development of Ibero-American Animation Work.

Last month, Chilean animation studio Zumbastico Studios announced that it has started production on a feature film based on its animated series Puerto Papel (Paper Port). Puerto Papel uses innovative mixed-media animation techniques: the figures are crafted using paper, filmed using stop motion animation, then the details of the figures (such as their facial expressions) are enhanced using traditional 2D animation techniques. The series has been successful on an international level. It has been translated into Portuguese and English and is broadcast on television channels in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and China.

Interested in seeing one of the products of the blossoming Chilean animation industry? SLAFF will screen the short film Cantar con Sentido, discussed above, at its 2018 Cine Lounge Fundraiser on Friday 17 August 2018. Get your tickets here!