National talent was present at the 2020 edition of Comic-Con. Along with the talk of genre filmmakers, as well as Guillermo del Toro talking about his next project as a producer, the epicenter of pop culture dedicated a space to the most prominent stop motion artists in Mexico in recent years.

The multi-rewarded Karla Castañeda, Luis Téllez, Rita Basulto, Juan José Medina, Sofía Carrillo, León Fernández and René Castillo They shared their experiences in a talk titled « The Magnificent 7 of Stop-Motion in Mexico ». In it, the members of the Guillermo del Toro’s Pooch Workshop and the FICG discussed their approach to the world of animation, their outstanding filmographies and the projects they have been developing in recent years.

Rita Basulto shared the success of Hatching, his most recent production, which was part of the 2020 edition of the Annecy festival – the most famous animated film in the world. Said work received an Ariel 2020 nomination for Best Animated Short Film, shortlist where Rita has triumphed four times.

Hatching, by Rita Basulto.

René CastilloFor his part, he shared details of his next project; a 3D animated feature film, co-produced with a Chinese company. Although he is internationally recognized for his work in stop-motion – for the award-winning short films. Without bra (1999) and To the bone (2002) -, the Mexican filmmaker chose the 3D technique due to the complexity of the story in which he works. «They are many characters; there are various scenes at sea. Water is super complex to manage in 3D. So it’s a very ambitious feature film. We will see how it goes in the end, but I am very happy with the experience, « he said of his project, still without a title.

Until the bones, by René Castillo. Photo: Courtesy of IMCINE

The winner of the Ariel Luis Tellez He talked about a project he has worked on for several years: Inzomnia, which could become the first stop-motion feature film in our country. « It is a fantasy film for all audiences and everything revolves around the question of ‘what would happen if we all stopped sleeping and dreaming?’. It is a dystopia, located in an imaginary future where everything goes wrong ». The film is made with the support of her colleagues from Taller del Chucho –Karla Castañeda serves as production designer–, as well as a large group of animators from around the world, such as Francesca Berlingieri, art director of The Fantastic Mr. Zorro (Dir. Wes Anderson, 2009) and the Momakim study from Poland.

Inzomnia, by Luis Téllez

After three years of work, Juan José Medina finished his new animated short film called Uncle. “This short film has helped us implement some different processes that we are not used to. Yes there is a stop-motion base, of course. But there is still experimentation with other techniques – a bit of 3D and Cut Out – with the sole purpose of better understanding how to tell [una historia] more optimally. With Tío we are implementing [nuevas técnicas de animación] Let’s see if we can take it to the feature film ».

Cages, by Juan José Medina

Who also has almost finished a new short film is Karla Castañeda. In the same way as in Jacinta (2009) and La noria (2013), Night song It will be a new exploration of the absence and pain caused by the loss of a loved one. Along with this next production –which will be released in 2021–, Karla works on one of the most important projects of her filmography: producing an animated feature film with Guillermo del Toro.

From the construction of the script for this story, the filmmaker mentioned that «it has been a good father because we started to download a lot of ideas. We have a lot of things in common. Although he did not reveal more details, he shared that this film – still untitled – will deal with absence and loss – like the rest of his filmography – in a period feature film in stop-motion.

Jacinta, by Karla Castañeda

From Manchester, England, Leon Fernandez He shared that this year it will start with the production of a new short film called Las twisted branches. « It is a story set in the 1930s, in a Mexican town in extreme poverty, [donde jugaremos] with some fantastic elements ». The person in charge of The Aeronauts or Hearts Workshop – both from 2017 – is in the United Kingdom taking an internship at the Mackinnon & Saunders animation studio, one of the most prestigious in the world. « It has been a more than enriching experience, » he said. In the seven months that he has been there, the filmmaker and sculptor has enriched himself with the way of working of participating artists in films such as The Corpse of the Bride (Dir. Tim Burton, 2005) and The Fantastic Mr. Zorro. The scholarship to study there arose as part of the aforementioned Taller del Chucho and at the initiative of Guillermo del Toro.

The aeronauts, by León Fernández.

Who is also working on the script for his first stop-motion feature film is Sofia Carrillo. The winner of two awards Ariel –Prita Noire (2012); Cerulia (2018) – revealed that she has already been working on this story for about four years. « Four years in which I have asked and found and lost again, » he said. « It is a very nice process that has to be enjoyed but it is also painful. » Today, Sofia received a new Ariel nomination; this time for a live-action production titled The Witch of the Walking Match. «With this great hunger to tell stories, it did not come in stop-motion but in fiction with real actors. He was one of my pininos; Incredibly enjoyable, with a great team. A wonderful experience.

Cerulia, by Sofía Carrillo.

Learn more about the work of these stop motion artists in Mexico in our special Animation film.

Comic-Con Mexican Cinema

Arturo Magaña Arce Passionate about seeing, writing, reading, researching and talking about cinema in all its forms. I am a Star Wars fan, I know all the chapters of Friends by heart and if you ask me about Mexican cinema, there is no one to shut me up. Editor at Cine PREMIERE.