Theyll make you see animation and Latin America in a different light.
The Academy-Award winning animated film Coco (2017) was a complete success. Kids and people of all ages loved this tale, which takes place in a town in Mexico during Day of the Dead. The fact that the film was animated makes it even better because it was able to capture the essence of a whole culture: the music, traditions, beliefs, values, and magic of Mexico. The movie follows the adventure of Miguel, an aspiring young musician, and the disapproval of his family about his career choices. His quest to become a musician takes him deep into another world – the world of the dead, where he’ll find a deeper connection to his roots. Both critics and viewers loved this film that has been played in theaters worldwide. If you are one of these fans, you’ll probably be happy to know that Coco is not the only great animated film with Latin American roots out there; the following movies are great too and will become your new favorite animated films.
Underdogs (2013) Dir. Juan Campanella
This Argentinian animated film was inspired by Roberto Fontanarrosa’s story called "Memorias de un Wing Derecho." It follows two young rivals in a small town with a very strong passion for soccer. First, the two boys compete against each other in a foosball match, where Jake, a weak and shy boy, defeats the town's bully, Ace. Seven years later, Ace has become the world’s greatest soccer player and has come back to his hometown to get revenge on Jake: he has bought the entire town. Jake is then forced to challenge him to another match, but this time, Ace chooses a real soccer competition for the ownership of the village. Without the skills or physical abilities to compete against Ace, Jake’s frustration magically brings to life his favorite miniature foosball players to help him defeat Ace once again.
Ana & Bruno (2017) Dir. Carlos Carrera
This film, which took about 12 years to be completed, is based on the novel Ana, by Daniel Emil. It follows the life of Ana, who is able to see imaginary creatures only those interned at the asylum where she is living seem able to notice. She escapes the mental facility in order to find her father and rescue her mom. Along with her, these imaginary creatures take on the quest of helping her find her dad. There is laughter, mixed emotions, and a very interesting development in the characters' personalities and designs.
Nahuel and the Magic Book (2018) Dir. German Acuña
Acuña takes us along on a journey full of mystery, magic, and adventure. The story takes place in the archipelago of Chile, where Nahuel comes across a mystical book of dark magic that unleashes a chain of events that lead him to many obstacles, confrontations with magical creatures, and to face his deepest fear: water. This Chilean 2D animated film offers an entertaining story about friendship, obstacles, and our worst weaknesses.
Lila’s Book (2017) Dir. Marcela Rincón
This is the very first animated film directed by a woman in Colombia, and it combines 2D and 3D techniques. It follows the story of a young Colombian girl called Lila, who is taken by evil creatures to “Forgetfulness,” a magical world. Her two friends then travel to this place in order to rescue her. The story is meant mainly for a young audience, but it is also an entertaining film for the whole family.
Inzomnia (2017) Dir. Luis Téllez
This is the very first stop-motion animated feature produced in Mexico. It tells the story of Camila, a 10-year-old girl living in a dystopian reality where the people are unable to fall asleep. Camila is immune to the "inzomnia" pill produced by an evil businessman who wants the entire city working day and night. Camila then sets out on a quest to rescue her parents by confronting this man. The film is not yet completed (they hope to release it in 2020), but its filming and creation process is open to the public in a museum in Guadalajara.
Virus Tropical (2017) Dir. Santiago Caicedo
This animated film is not meant for children. It’s a Colombian production that narrates the life of Paola, a Colombian teen who grew up as the youngest member of a middle-class family composed of three girls. As a teen, Paola wants to have new adventures and engages in rebellious behavior. She wants to find her own identity and independence from a conservative society that keeps judging her. The film, unlike many others, is a 2D creation, and it’s a black-and-white adaptation of Virus Tropical, a Colombian-Ecuadorian comic.
Animated film production is just starting to become popular in Latin America. Animated films must be well thought out and written. They send a message through their character’s journeys. Although they are preferred by children, as it is shown in this list, some of the films are meant for adults only. We are hopefully going to see more examples of these animated productions on the big screen soon. Meanwhile, we can support their efforts by watching and sharing their stories.
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