Lucy Animation Studio’s Colombian cartoon “Halloween” was one of two feature films, alongside Star Toons Animation’s “Chaskis – Mensajeros del sol,” honored with the MIFA/Annecy Award from this year’s Ventana Sur Animation! sidebar. Teams representing the two films will receive full accreditation to Annecy 2022 and its MIFA marketplace, where they will pitch as part of the event’s Animation! Focus.
Organized with the Annecy Festival’s MIFA market, Animation! took on a hybrid format this year, with some delegates traveling to Buenos Aires and others accessing full project details online for all Ventana Sur accredited participants.
“Halloween” was created by Silvia Prietov, a Vancouver Film School alumnus, Cartoon Network Girl Power 2020 best pitch winner and talent to track. A fantasy 2D title, it features a darkened pop aesthetic, lots of purple and orange, and posits that the clock which controls the universe’s time has been tinkered with, condemning Bogotá to relive Halloween day over and over again. Ventana Sur Encuentros winner Karina Forero (“Mitomorfosis”) is producing. The film’s current team in Colombia is rounded out by co-director and screenwriter Daniel Mejia and graphic designer Sebastian García.
Prietov and Forero spoke with Variety about their project, its inspirations and Halloween’s increasing popularity in the Colombian capital.
How did the visual style of Halloween develop? Were there any influences you used as a reference?
“Halloween” uses “Over the Garden Wall” as its main reference, the animated miniseries from Cartoon Network. However, the scenarios and landscapes are built based on Bogotá, and we want viewers to see and recognize its mountain peaks, like the famous Monserrate, the style of houses and buildings, as well as the palette that is inspired by how colorful and dark Halloween can be in this city.
Why Halloween? Is the holiday popular in Colombia?
It is not a popular holiday as such, but there is a great deal of festivity in which children and adults celebrate in costume, and it’s more popular than ever in the city. Only on Halloween can you feel the madness and excitement of people hoping to discover what will happen each year.
What stage is production in now and what are your goals for Ventana Sur?
“Halloween” is in the development stage, and our goal at Ventana Sur is to generate ties that allow us to continue maturing the project so that it is increasingly interesting visually and that it manages to transmit the magic of a city as chaotic as Bogotá. To that end, we would like to co-produce with the countries to which we pay tribute in the film to better utilize equipment and technicians who understand those cultures and the cinema of their respective countries.
Feature animation is an art form that is growing a lot in Latin America, what do you think is driving that growth?
It is born from the need to show our culture to the world and coming from such a surreal culture animation is a perfect medium to express that. On the other hand, there is a generation that grew up watching Cartoon Network, “The Simpsons,” “Futurama” and “South Park,” and they’re now adults looking to fulfill their dream of being able to create those programs with which they identified.
Could you talk about what each of the four of you contribute to the production?
Silvia is the creator of our stories, giving us her ideas and directing them so that the rest of the team can give them life. Sebastián understands Silvia very well and translates what she imagines into an image with unique characters and very representative scenarios. Daniel is a poet in the way in which he writes the story and Karina is responsible for executing each process of the project, understanding the needs and difficulties. However, for us the whole team plays a very important role because the project is formed thanks to each of those who fall in love with what Silvia does. The team includes artists like Jorge Pico, Laura Pineda, Mauricio bueno, Mario Carrascal, Esteban Jaime, Camo Art who are great animators and cleaners that give life to each scene they touch. The same is true of Jorge Moyano and Jefersson Vargas, who help us to give final touches in composition, as well as the rest of the team which trusts in Silvia’s vision.